Trainer Chris Waller is expecting a good first up performance from Vanbrugh in the Group 3 $150,000 Coca-Cola Newcastle Newmarket Handicap at Newcastle today but thinks the 1400m might he too short for the four year old.
Vanbrugh will be having his first run back since finishing ninth to Stratum Star in the Group 1 $1m Peters Investments-Kingston Town Classic (1800m) at Ascot in Perth on December 3.
The Encosta De Lago stallion has been allocated 57kg for the Newmarket Handicap with Brenton Avdulla to ride and will jump from barrier six in the field that has been reduced ten runners with the scratching of his stablemate Marenostro.
‘Not a bad weight, good horse. A bit short for him though,” Waller said,
Waller is keen to see how the new Newcastle track races on the first major race day on the redeveloped track.
“It will be interesting to see how this track races,” Waller said.
Newcastle has copped plenty of rain in the last week with the track rated a soft 6 today after receiving 44mm of rain in the last seven days.
Vanbrugh was able to claim a Group 1 win during his three year old season with victory in the $500,000 Moet & Chandon Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) at Randwick with his only win since being in the Group 3 $150,000 Priceline Pharmacy Coogny Cup (2000m) at Caulfield during the 2016 Melbourne Spring Carnival.
Vanbrugh has been listed as an $11 chance for the Newcastle Newmarket Handicap at Ladbrokes.com.au who has the John O’Shea trained Chetwood as the $3.20 favourite.
Top weight Happy Clapper is the second pick at $4 ahead of the Peter and Paul Snowden trained Snippet’s Land at $6 and Queensland galloper Too Good To Refuse at $8.50.
Chetwood is an on pace runner and new jockey William Buick will no doubt go forward again from the outside barrier in the ten horse field.
The Exceed And Excel gelding is fitter for two runs back from a spell for a first up sixth to Malaguerra in the Group 2 $200,000 Browns Sawdust And Savings Australia Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on January 27 followed by a fifth to McCreery in the Group 3 $150,000 Liverpool City Cup (1300m) at Randwick on February 25.
The Pat Webster trained Happy Clapper returned from a spell in good style with a first up second to Gold Symphony in the Listed $130,000 Casino Canberra National Sprint (1400m) at Canberra on March 5.