Mark Newnham has Sydney Cup plans for Spirit Ridge


Mark Newnham will let his impressive import Spirit Ridge shoot for Group 1 glory in the autumn after he won back-to-back cup races at Randwick.

The six-year-old was even better yesterday than he was when taking out the Summer Cup (2000m) a fortnight ago and that’s what Newnham needed to see.

“I thought he had more improvement because last start when he won the Summer Cup he was probably only at his top for the last 150m,” Newnham said.

“He was locked away and only got out late.

“The best part of his race was on the line. In the autumn he’ll get up to a 2400m and maybe even the Sydney Cup might be on the agenda.”

Spirit Ridge boasts a regal heritage having been bred by Juddmonte Farm, the breeding arm of Khalid Abdullah of Frankel fame.

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Spirit Ridge is a son of Galileo’s King George winner Nathaniel who has sired more than 400 winners, none of them better than Juddmonte’s own two-time Arc de Triomphe winner, Enable.

On top of that, Spirit Ridge’s dam – Tates Creek – was a mare of the highest order winning Grade One races at Hollywood Park and Santa Anita.

Spirit Ridge won his first race at Catterick in England beating Loveisili who was himself in action at Royal Randwick forty minutes after Newnham’s gelding completed the Summer Cup/January Cup double.

Jockey Robbie Dolan made all the right moves to give him the best possible run in transit.

“It was another peach of a ride from Robbie,” Newnham said.

“As we discussed prior to the race, if we could get that position it would be the ideal spot and, like last start, it all went as expected and he executed well.

“He loves a fight and with the way they ran it they probably turned it into a sprint and he was at his top at the top of the straight but you could see his staying qualities shine late.”

Dolan had the $3.10 favourite stalking the speed set by Wolfe and didn’t let Laure Me In pocket him in when it made a move around him at the 500m.

Once they got into the straight he let his horse’s superior staying ability take over and he didn’t look like losing over the final 200m.

He beat home a brave Wolfe by three quarters of a length with Mr Marathon Man ($26) running above his odds in third.

‘’It was tricky on paper, obviously with Wolfe and Gone Bye drawn on the inside of us, it was going to be fifty-fifty whether I was able to get into a position,’’ Dolan said.

“Thankfully I had a nice horse under me and he jumped out well and brought me into a position himself.

“Jay (Ford) came upside me on the bend and nearly caught me napping on the bend but he is the superior horse in the race and he is going to go onto bigger and better things than that.

‘’He really enjoys himself and that is a big asset for him. He loves his racing, he loves a day out, he pricks his ears everywhere you go and that is a good sign.

“He has got a really good turn of foot for a horse that gets over a bit of ground and I would definitely be looking forward to seeing him get over further.”

Spirit Ridge was quickly inserted as a $51 chance in the Sydney Cup in April and will obviously have to go to another level to claim a major.

“It’s a stronger race these days because it’s worth $2 million and we’re getting more of these horses in it and he’s still improving,” Newnham said.

“His level of improvement from the middle of last year until now has been great and I think he’s got more left in him. He was going away on the line.”

Newnham will take him to the Manion Cup on the way to the Sydney Cup.

“He’ll have a couple of weeks out. He’s a real European stayer who is clean winded and doesn’t take long to come up,” he said.

“Even off a two-week break I might kick him over an 1800m race. He showed today that further than 2000m isn’t going to be an issue.”

AT THE TRACK

PRINCE OFF TO PADDOCK

Pinnacle Prince will not be aimed at this year’s Country Championships but his trainer Brett Cavanough has a plan that could get him to the $1.3 million Kosciuszko (1200m) in the spring.

The Hinchinbrook colt won his second Highway race in as many weeks and Jason Collett said he’d love to ride him in Tamworth’s Country Championships qualifier on March 7.

“He’ll go for a spell,” Cavanough said. “The Country Championships might be coming too quick for him.

“You definitely won’t see him inside the next 21 days.” He’ll come back to racing later in the winter and if he keeps winning he’ll get his shot at the Kosciuszko.

Jason Collett’s winning ride on Pinnacle Prince came at a cost after he was suspended for careless riding when making the winning move to shift out on the horse and cause interference.

As he was waiting to talk to his manager chief steward Marc van Gestel said: “Are you happy to have the charge against you? “Yes, well I’m not really happy about it, but yes,” Collett replied. The hoop got three meetings and will miss next week’s racing.

WINX STAND WORKS UNDERWAY

Here’s the work currently going on to complete the new Winx Stand at Randwick. The facility will be completed in early 2022.

STABLE LIFE ON HOLD FOR FOREIGN WORKERS

While stables are generally always looking for an extra staff member, the pandemic has made it even harder to get workers.

“Usually, at this time of the year you’re inundated with people from the UK on working visas coming over here to get away from their winter,” Newnham said.

It meant Newnham, like many trainers, had to work on Christmas Day.

“It doesn’t bother me,” he said.

“We’ve only got one son and he’s 23 so it’s not like we’ve got little kids. My wife and son came to the stables and helped feed the horses then we had a later lunch.”

McEVOY IN NO HURRY TO SACK PAIR

Kerrin McEvoy wasn’t about to give up on Greek Hero and Handspun winning races again soon.

He said Greek Hero, who ran seventh to stablemate Ulysses, needed an easier race.

“I thought he ran fine, I told the connections that he’s finding it hard in Saturday grade to give them a start and win the race.”

I told them to go back to Wednesday grade,” he said.

Handspun just didn’t get a race run to suit.

“I was happy enough. It was a case of the race being run quite quick which had me gassed over the last furlong but I was still happy with the run,” McEvoy said.

CAVANOUGH APPLAUDS RACING NSW

Racing NSW changed the conditions for the Country Championships and Provincial Championships.

Horses that are stable returned for the first time (previously unraced) must have been legitimately under the care of a NSW Country or Provincial trainer by September 1, 2020.

And horses must remain under the care of a NSW Country or Provincial trainer for a period of 12 months after the series Final.

Some trainers don’t like it but Brett Cavanough isn’t one of them.

“When do Racing NSW bring in a rule that’s not good? I think it’s a great rule and you can quote me on that,” Cavanagh said.

The Scone trainer’s son Jack is doing well since a track work fall in July when suffering a bleed to the brain and took Another Sin to the Gold Coast.

“He’s in Toowomba with a couple of horses. He’s not allowed to ride for a year but he’s getting back involved,” Cavanough said.

***

Follow: Fifteen Aria (on the way up), Subedar (nice return), Brutality (still going well)

Sack: Greek Hero (disappointing), Matowatakpe (struggling)

Ride: Robbie Dolan on Spirit Ridge (ripper)

Quote: “That was a 12 out of 10 ride.” – Mark Newnham to Robbie Dolan after winning the January Cup.



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Spirit Ridge takes another cup and Newnham looks to bigger things


It was part of the process of getting him to the autumn carnival.

“The best part of his race was on the line. In the autumn, he’ll get up to a 2400m and maybe even the Sydney Cup might be on the agenda,” Newnham said.

“His level of improvement from the middle of last year until now has been great, and I think he’s got more left in him. He was going away on the line.

“He’ll have a couple of weeks out. He’s a real European stayer who is clean-winded and doesn’t take long to come up.

“Even off a two-week break, I might kick him off over an 1800m race. He showed today that further than 2000m isn’t going to be an issue.”

Dolan is keen to continue his association with Spirit Ridge and a light weight of 50kg in the Sydney Cup would not be a problem for the Irishman.

“I’ll ride him at whatever weight he gets,” Dolan said. “He has got great assets – good out of the gates, relaxes well, and a good turn of foot when you need.

“He is still untapped. Wait til he gets over a mile-and-a-half, then you will know he is around.”

Earlier, Kerrin McEvoy donned Bon Ho’s colours for the first since winning the Everest on Classique Legend on another handy Les Bridge-trained galloper building a good record. All Time Legend made it five wins from seven starts and left Bridge with some thinking to do.

“He is still learning what to do in his races and he is still winning,” Bridge said. “He is talented and there is a good race in him, but when that will be is the question.

“He is back at a good time of the year, but we have to think where might be best placed.

“It takes a good horse to come out and win from behind the way he did first-up and then lead all-the-way like that.”

McEvoy took bad luck out of the equation by going to the front on Saturday and appeared to have something left in the locker as All Time Legend ($1.45 fav) held off Subedar ($6).

“He is open to further improvement over a bit further. He is in benchmark races at the moment and he is dominating, which is a good sign and all you can ask for,” McEvoy said.

Meanwhile, former Sydney deputy chairman of stewards Philip Dingwall has accepted a position as a senior steward in Perth.

The internationally experienced steward will move west next month and bolster the ranks of the West Australian panel.

“I’m looking forward to being an energetic member of Brad Lewis’s panel,” Dingwall said.

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Newnham brings Glamour and Spirit to Summer Cup


“Greysful Glamour has taken a little while to deliver what we thought she would, and now she is in this sort of form it is the right time to take advantage.

“She has been winning, while Spirit Ridge has been racing very well and not quite getting the result.

“The thing with him is that in three starts in Australia he has never finish further back than second, and this is the first time he gets to his right distance range.”

Newnham has had difficulty finding races for Spirit Ridge, which had a month between his first-up second at Newcastle on The Hunter day and being run down by Kirwan’s Lane as a well-supported favourite at Randwick a couple of weeks ago.

“There isn’t the races for him at this sort of trip, so you have to take the big jump up [in grade],” Newnham said. “I think he is going to be up to this standard and better at this trip.”

Bookmakers agreed, making Spirit Ridge the $4 favourite in front of his better credentialled stablemate, who is $4.60 alongside Laure Me In, which was runner-up to Greysful Glamour in the ATC Cup a month ago.

That was the beginning of Newnham’s impressive run, which has included three city doubles and three black-type successes. It has him third on the metropolitan trainer’s premiership only just over four years since saddling his first runner.

“I would have never expected to be where I am so quickly. It is probably where you are aiming to get, but to be here in 4½ years is great,” Newnham said. “Now I’m here, I want to stay here.

“We have got better every year, and the quality of the horse we have shows that. What I’m most proud of is having all the group wins.

“We are in these races instead of watching them, and we are going into them with good chances.”

Newnham has 82 wins for 2020 training out stables at Warwick Farm and Randwick. He would love to move his operation exclusively to Randwick.

“If I had one wish it would be to have the one stable with about the 80 horses I have at the moment,” Newnham said.

Greysful Glamour has been there as the Newnham stable has been on the rise, and she is evidence of his talent as a horseman.

She had her first start in the Widden Stakes as a two-year-old before winning her maiden six weeks later and then marking herself as stayer with potential when fourth in the Fernhill Stakes in 2018.

Later that year, she won the Oaks Trial at Flemington and was runner-up in Aristia’s VRC Oaks, but it was another year until she won again.

“This preparation is what we thought she would produce, it has just taken a bit of time to get there,” Newnham said. “She doesn’t like wet tracks and likes to lead in her races.

“This race seems to have a bit of speed with those horses from Gai [Wolfe and Vadiyann] but I think she is going good enough to still be right in the mix.”

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Mark Newnham salutes for Big Parade and Gone Bye


Trainer Mark Newnham is surging towards the summit of Sydney racing.

Newnham prepared a double with talented sprinter Big Parade and tough stayer Gone Bye at Royal Randwick on Saturday to give his stable 22 wins so far this season, just six fewer than the number of city winners he trained in the whole of 2019-20.

He has gone from being a fringe top 10 trainer in previous years to a lofty third position on the Sydney premiership this season behind the much-larger stables of Chris Waller (56 wins) and James Cummings (28 wins).

Newnham, a former jockey, has only been training for five years and is clearly establishing himself as a force in Sydney racing.

But the trainer has been able to achieve these results despite the logistic difficulties of operating two stable bases — he has 40 in work at Randwick and 30 at Warwick Farm.

Newnham has made no secret of his desire to have all his horses at the one location at Randwick but can’t see his stabling issue being resolved anytime soon.

The Form: Complete NSW Racing thoroughbred form, including video replays and all you need to know about every horse, jockey and trainer. Find a winner here!

Other trainers successfully manage satellite and interstate stables but Newnham is very hands-on with his horses and still rides trackwork so time is his enemy.

“I’m fortunate to have great staff working for me at Randwick and Warwick Farm but I need to divide my time evenly between both stables so there is a lot of travel involved and it is very tiring,’’ Newnham said.

“But I don’t intend to ever have more than 80 in work because I do enjoy working closely with each of my horses.’’

Newnham can continue his stable’s great start to the season at the feature Royal Randwick meeting on Boxing Day with last start Villiers Stakes winner Greysful Glamour and promising Spirit Ridge being aimed at the Group 3 $160,000 Summer Cup (2000m).

Greysful Glamour is attempting the rare Villiers Stakes-Summer Cup double, last achieved by another mare, Aqua D’Amore in 2005.

“She has come through the Villiers really well and we will certainly nominate her for the Summer Cup,’’ Newnham said of Greysful Glamour. “At this stage, she will be running along with Spirit Ridge.’’

Newnham said Gone Bye is likely to be saved for the Listed $150,000 January Cup (2000m) at Randwick on January 9 and Big Parade will run in a Benchmark 88 over 1200m on the same program.

“Big Parade was very good on Saturday but I want to keep building his confidence before putting him up to the top level,’’ the trainer said. “But Gone Bye is as tough as they come and in his current form he deserves a chance in the January Cup.’’

PROFESSIONALISM ON SHOW

Paulele may not have necessarily displayed the X-factor of an Enthaar or Acrobat but there was plenty to like about the Godolphin youngster’s win at Randwick.

The James Cummings-trained Paulele has scored in his only two starts with authority, coming from off the speed to power home at Moonee Valley on debut then leading throughout at Randwick.

Enthaar and Acrobat may have been more dynamic in their Randwick wins this season but Paulele is very professional and open to further improvement as he gains more experience so he could end up being a major player in the two-year-old feature races next autumn.

But two horses from the Cummings stable who are definite big-race contenders later in the season are super sprinter Bivouac and Golden Eagle winner Colette.

Bivouac and Colette ended their spring campaigns with big-race wins and Cummings said both have returned from their spells in top shape.

“They are both in light work, they are just hacking around at the moment and we will start to get a little busier with them in the New Year,’’ Cummings said.

“With Bivouac, we are going to set him for the Lightning Stakes first-up. He will be nominated for the Newmarket Handicap but it is not high on our target list.

“We are attracted to the idea of only giving him the one run in Melbourne early in his preparation then getting him ready for the TJ Smith Stakes and possibly Royal Ascot.

“With Colette, we stuck to our plan to give her a light spring and didn’t step her beyond 1600m. We can look at races like the Doncaster Mile and Queen Elizabeth Stakes in the autumn and I know as an Oaks winner we can step her out over much further.’’

SHAQUERO STAYING PUT

Breeders Plate winner Shaquero continues his preparation towards the Magic Millions 2YO Classic when he resumes on Boxing Day.

Trainer Chris Waller said Shaquero will be entered for races at Randwick and Doomben but at this stage he favours keeping the unbeaten colt in Sydney.

James McDonald, Sydney’s leading jockey, said he is “excited” by the prospect of riding Shaquero again as the colt has made considerable physical improvement since his debut win.

ISOTOPE TURNS IT ON

Away Game will be improved by the run but how good was Isotope in the Gold Edition Plate at Doomben?

The Tony Gollan-trained Isotope was giving her rival many lengths start on the turn but unleashed a tremendous finishing surge wide out to collar Away Game right on the line.

Isotope has firmed into $3 favouritism for the Magic Millions 3YO Guineas with Away Game next at $6.

Away Game was having her first race start since May and her connections believe she can turn the tables on Isotope setting up an intriguing return clash at the Gold Coast next month.

NASH WOULD BE PROUD

Apprentice Campbell Rawiller rode his first Flemington winner on Defiant Dancer — and he had race fans doing a double take.

The teenager’s hands-and-heels riding was very reminiscent of his father, champion jockey, Nash Rawiller.

RANDWICK SNAPSHOT

RUN OF THE DAY
Edison is gathering a record of a good horse and has now won 4 of his past 6 and run 2nd at his other two starts. His main asset is his ability to ride the speed and then show a tremendous will to win. Big Parade was also terrific with a return to form.
FORGET THEY RAN
Sausage is flying this preparation with no luck at all. Again she had excuses on Saturday when the rain fell and it was tough for the backmarkers. Surely she will win one soon.
THE BLACK BOOK
I loved the winning return from Saigon. She’s a mare that found her form last campaign and she could charge through her classes now. While look out for Yamasaki when she gets to the Gold Coast.

RIDE OF THE DAY
Boom apprentice Tommy Sherry took matters into his own hands when Another One jumped so well and pushed forward in a winning move. He backed it up with a perfect ride on Gone Bye in the following race.

With Ron Dufficy



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Newnham hopes Lord Olympus will continue to surprise at Kensington


Lord Olympus wasn’t born until November 23 so he’s still a month short of his third birthday.

Newnham said his last start Canterbury win, where he held off Sweet Reply over 1250 metres, is a testament to how tough the horse is and how he keeps stepping up to the plate and he’s not overly concerned about a wet track.

And he said the fact he can stay in midweek company, thanks to the introduction of Graduation races, is a bonus for his owners.

“He has a really good will to win so he is well suited there with the claim [for Tom Sherry],” he said. “He’s probably better suited at the 1100m than the 1250m the other day, it was more about the conditions of the race that I wanted to run him.

“I think these graduation races are a good addition, when you’re trying to get a return for your owners, because it gives you a chance to win a few races before you go to Saturday.

“He’s won three races and he’s still in Wednesday.”

Newnham is prepared to forgive stablemate Mrs Maisel for her first-up fifth at Warwick Farm three weeks ago.

The filly was a second-up winner last preparation and is proven in the wet.

“I thought she ran really well on a track that suited horses on pace,” he said. “She needed the run, she made up good ground and probably peaked on her run at the 100m. She does like soft ground so I see her hitting the line well.”

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