Good draws for Kiwis in Newcastle Mile

by Adam Hamilton

It was a mixed bag of feature race barrier draws for the Kiwi raiders in NSW this weekend.

Things couldn’t have played out better for B D Joe and Alta Wiseguy in Friday night’s $100,000 Newcastle Mile when they drew barriers one and two respectively. Both are trained by Steve and Amanda Telfer and Hayden Cullen.  

Even before the draw, their hopes were boosted by Team McCarthy’s decision not to run Bondi Lockdown in the race. 

Luke McCarthy will take the reins on Alta Wiseguy with Tim Williams staying aboard B D Joe.

Much interest will focus on brilliant WA pacer Pinny Tiger, who has explosive gate speed and may be able to cross from gate seven for trainer Michael Brennan and driver Jimmy Rattray.

Last year’s winner Mach Dan is back to defend his crown, but has to come from the outside (gate 10) with Mark Pitt aboard. He will start from eight after scratchings.

In-form NSW trio Zeuss Bromac (five), Tasty Delight (nine) and Petes Said So (four) ran the trifecta in the recent Newcastle Cup and added plenty to the depth of the race.

Only the winner of the Newcastle Mile is guaranteed a spot in the $1mil Miracle Mile on March 4.

The beaten brigade will have to back-up in the qualifying sprints at Menangle on Saturday week where horses like Bondi Lockdown, Honolua Bay, Spirit Of St Louis, I Cast No Shadow, Expensive Ego and Major Meister await them.

The draw certainly wasn’t as kind to the lone Kiwi runner in Saturday night’s $250,000 Group 1 Chariots Of Fire.

The Team Dalgety-trained Republican Party drew wide in gate nine and will start from eight if the emergencies come out.

There is a power of a gate speed draw inside him, headed by Heza Son Of Agun (four), Mahomes (six) and Catch A Wave (seven).

But all post-draw talk has been about Australasia’s most exciting pacer Captain Ravishing from barrier one.

As brilliant as he is, it is a long time since Captain Ravishing has been bustled off the gate.

It hasn’t happened since he switched to Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin’s stable.

He’s a naturally explosive horse, so the gate speed is probably there, but rivals like Heza Son Of Agun and Catch A Wave will know there hopes of winning rely on crossing Captain Ravishing at the start.

However it plays out, Captain Ravishing in the pole has certainly added more intrigue to Australasia’s biggest four-year-old feature.

Surprisingly, it hasn’t changed the odds with Captain Ravishing still a commanding $1.25 favourite.

That seems crazily short and he will surely start closer to $1.40 or $1.50 come race time.

Another watch runner at the Menangle meeting is Jason Grimson’s exciting Kiwi import Betterzippit from gate two in the 2300m free-for-all (race eight).

Grimson is chasing a Miracle Mile run, but Betterzippit is only an emergency in the Newcastle Mile and will need to win or run a huge race on Saturday night to make one of the qualifying sprint fields the week after.

Grimson has also taken over training speedy Victorian mare Tay Tay, who will try to book a spot in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II (formerly Ladyship Mile) when she starts from gate two in Saturday night’s Group 3 Robin Dundee.

The headline act is Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin’s multiple Group 1 winner Tough Tilly, but will start from the outside (12) after being placed out of the draw following her gallop at the start of her latest Melton run.




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