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  • Provincial Racing NSW



T’S 10 years since David Payne tasted Newcastle Gold Cup “glory”.

The trainer of more than 100 Group 1 winners will be back at Broadmeadow on Friday for another crack at the $300,000 Group 3 Cup (2300m), more than likely with outsider Raging Bull rather than Chelmsford Stakes winner and topweight Navajo Peak.

“Navajo Peak’s owner wants to accept at both Newcastle and Randwick on Saturday in the Kingston Town Stakes (2000m),” Payne said this afternoon.

“But it’s a big ask having to carry 59kg in a handicap, and almost certainly he will run in the Kingston Town (where he has 2kg less), which is run at set weights and penalties.

“Raging Bull will definitely start at Newcastle, and Reece Jones has been booked to ride him.

“He has trained on nicely since his fourth in City Tatts Cup (2400m) at Randwick last Saturday week, but really needs 3200m to show his best.”

Expat South African Payne won the 2013 Newcastle Gold Cup with $16 chance Winning Glory, ridden by Nash Rawiller, and Raging Bull is also an outsider (currently at $26).

Winning Glory had won the Premier’s Cup Prelude (1800m) and finished third in the Premier’s Cup (2000m) – both at Rosehill Gardens – en route to scoring at Newcastle when he carried 56.5kg and beat 12 rivals. this afternoon posted the Kris Lees pair Cleveland (Ben Melham) and Kalapour (Damien Oliver) as the early $4.50 joint favorites for Friday’s Cup.

Lees also nominated Hawkesbury Rowley Mile runner-up Protagonist, who is second topweight with 58.5kg, but indicated this afternoon that the Irish import almost certainly will also go to the Kingston Town Stakes, where he has 56kg.

Newcastle holds a strong hand in the Cup, as fellow Novocastrian Mark Minervini has Hosier ($5), who is pressing the Lees stablemates for favoritism.

Twenty-four horses were nominated for the Cup, which carries a record $300,000 purse, but 12 of them have been nominated for the Kingston Town as well.

Acceptances for both meetings will be taken on Wednesday morning.

Lees also has Luncies ($6 second favorite) and Inver Park ($11) in the $250,000 Group 3 Cameron Handicap (1500m) on Friday, and may add this year’s runaway Provincial-Midway Championship Final winner Spangler ($8) to his team.

Chris Waller’s Skyman, narrowly beaten first-up by top Epsom Handicap fancy Pericles in the Group 2 Tramway Stakes (1400m) at Randwick last Saturday week when resuming, is a firming $4 Cameron favorite.

Ten of the Cameron entries have also been nominated for the Group 3 Bill Ritchie Handicap (1400m) at Randwick on Saturday.

Nominations for Friday’s $250,000 Group 3 Tibbie Stakes (1400m) for fillies and mares have been extended until 11 am Tuesday.

Lees’ Loves Me Likearock is already an additional entry, and may join stablemates Razeta (Dylan Gibbons) and Bellatrix Black (Damien Oliver).

“Loves Me Likearock is an acceptor for Wednesday’s Canterbury meeting, but I might wait and run her in the Tibbie,” Lees said.

Peter and Paul Snowden’s $4 Tibbie favorite Wollombi, an excellent third to her stablemate Mirra View and John O’Shea’s Sanstoc in the Listed Mona Lisa Stakes (1350m) at Wyong on September 1, will again clash with that pair on Friday.

Razeta is $4.50 second favorite, with Mirra View, Sanstoc and former French mare Times Square, a member of the powerful Ciaron Maher and David Eustace team, all on the next line of betting at $6.

Times Square, a 1400m Longchamps Listed winner last October on heavy ground before coming to Australia, raced twice during the Sydney autumn carnival and will tackle the Tibbie first-up.

*Pics John Curtis, September 11, 2023 - Pics Bradley Photos*

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