60th anniversary of Newcastle Newmarket

Friday, August 24, 2018

GAI WATERHOUSE has not had a win in the Newcastle Newmarket, but may be represented this year by Woodbine, part owned by Racing NSW chairman John Messara. THE time-honoured Newcastle Newmarket is the highlight of Newcastle Jockey Club’s autumn racing, and the 2015 $125,000 group 3 event on March 18 will be the 60th anniversary of the race.

The legendary TJ Smith trained the first winner of the Newmarket, Seacraft, in 1955, and his daughter, Gai Waterhouse, has won the race three times, with Secret Savings (1997), Hey Pronto (2002) and Platinum Scissors (2004).

The closest Waterhouse has come to winning the Newmarket in the past decade was in 2013 when the talented Laser Hawk was beaten by a long head.

Waterhouse may be represented by four-year-old Woodbine, which is part-owned by Racing NSW chairman John Messara.

Woodbine has had only two runs from a spell and indicated he was close to a win when beaten three-quarters of a length at Rosehill recently.

The late Max Lees won the Newcastle Newmarket three times, and his son Kris will be chasing his first win in the group3 event on March 18.

Kris Lees got a good sight in last year’s Newmarket when his imported galloper Slow Pace flew home for third behind Mercir.

Lees is yet to decide on his Newmarket starters.

Chris Waller’s foreman, Liam Prior, said the stable expected to have runners in the Newmarket, but Waller is a week away from deciding on his nominations.

The $100,000 Provincial Championship Qualifier is also on the March 18 program