Newcastle trainer Kris Lees is hoping one of his four runners will secure the stable’s first win in the Group 3 $175,000 XXXX Gold Newcastle Cup (2200m) on the Beaumont track at Newcastle on Friday.
Lees has provided a placegetter for the Newcastle Cup five times since 2003 and this year will saddle up last start Rosehill winner Sense Of Occasion, French Import Singing, Wyong Cup winner Slow Pace and Taree Cup winner Olympic Academy.
“It hasn’t been for the want of trying and, obviously, it would be great to finally win the Newcastle Cup,” Lees said.
“No matter where it is, every trainer wants to win their hometown Cup.”
“This looks to be our best chance with all of our runners going into the race in top form.”
Kerrin McEvoy will stick with Singing who has drawn nicely at barrier three in the fourteen horse plus one emergency field and the seven year old import has been installed the early favourite at $4.20 with Ladbrokes.com.au.
Singing has run second at his only two Australian starts in a 1900m BenchMark 93 Handicap at Canterbury on July 23 and in the Listed $100,000 Premier’s Cup (1900m) at Rosehill on August 27 when he was beaten in the run to the line by his stablemate Sense Of Occasion.
Tim Clark will ride Sense Of Occasion again but the Street Sense six year old won’t get much of a home turn advantage after drawing out wide at fourteen but Lees said that he would be hard to beat again after scoring a tough win over Singing last start and is on the third line of betting at $6.
“He raced wide and proved the better stayer on the day,” Lees said.
“No doubt he will be hard to beat.”
Slow Pace ($12) has drawn nicely at gate two with Robert Thompson to ride again after the pair combined to win the Listed $160,000 Carlton Mid Wyong Gold Cup (2100m) at Wyong on September 2.
“His Taree Cup run was all right, and I thought he would run well at Wyong,” Lees said.
“I probably didn’t expect him to win, but he dropped a lot in weight and the heavy ground suited him.”
Olympic Academy, barrier twelve with Tommy Berry to ride, is the outsider of the Lees four runners at $20 and is coming off a last start tenth in the Wyong Cup but was in the winner’s stall at his previous run when he took out the $80,000 Taree Cup ( 2000m) on August 21.
As usual the Chris Waller stable will provide the main opposition with top weight Junoob ($12) and Wyong Cup runner up and $5.50 second favourite Sacred Master.
Nine year old Junoob has been burdened with 59kg but is used to carrying big weights and he was lumped with 62kg when third two starts back in the Listed $100,000 Rowley Mile (1600m) at Hawkesbury on August 18 and then he carried 59kg last Saturday when fifth in the Group 3 $125,000 Kingston Town Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill.
Hugh Bowman rides Sacred Master who has drawn barrier seven and Brenton Avdulla is booked to ride Junoob who has drawn worse than midfield at ten.
Market order for the Newcastle Cup at Ladbrokes.com.au: $4.20 Singing, $5.50 Sacred Master, $6 Sense Of Occasion, $10 Orbec, Dee I Cee, $12 Junoob, Slow Pace, $15 Ruling Dynasty, $18 Dowdstown Charlie, $20 Olympic Academy, $21 Amexed, $31 Lord Disick, $61 Letchworth, $101 Quartermaster, $201 Kinsman.