A GROUP of former Newcastle rugby league players were celebrating after their galloper Supreme Effort won the feature race on the second day of Newcastle Jockey Club’s spring carnival on Saturday.
Supreme Effort, bred by former Maitland rugby league club president and player Frank Lawler, finished strongly to win the Hurricane Stakes by a long neck from Sweet Serendipity and Circular.
Supreme Effort is raced by Lawler and 2016 Wests Rosellas coach Steve Storrie, former Kurri forward Brendan Dooley, Snowy Hydro’s chief executive Paul Broad and others.
Kim Waugh trains the gelding at Wyong and she said after the race that she gave Supreme Effort some chance but wasn’t too confident.
“He is a very smart horse, as he proved last preparation,’’ Waugh said.
“However, Supreme Effort is such a big horse it takes time to get him fit.
“He hadn’t raced since the Provinicial Championships final in April, and he only went average in his first barrier trial, this time at Gosford on August 1.
“He improved a lot in his second trial at Wyong and he worked well on Tuesday morning.
“It was a very good field today and the fact the track was rated a good four was in our favour as he hates wet tracks.’’
Lawler missed the race as he was in the car on his way to Cairns for a holiday.
Newcastle’s premier trainer, Kris Lees, won a race on both days with Reach For Heaven on Friday and then Granite Belt 24 hours later.
Granite Belt’s win was the second leg of a double for Lees on Saturday, after his highly promising colt Guard Of Honour was successful in the Listed Heritage Stakes at Randwick.
It has been a big six days for Lees and long-time stable clients Ron and Judy Wanless.
They combined to win a race at Muswellbrook eight days ago with their unbeaten blueblood New Ruler.
On Friday the combination were successful with Reach For Heaven, and the Wanlesses race both of Lees’ Saturday winners, Guard Of Honour andf Granite Belt.
They went within a short head of another winner on Saturday when Clevedon Bay was beaten in the final event at Broadmeadow.
“Guard Of Honour is smart and he will head to the Roman Consul Stakes at Randwick in two weeks,’’ Lees said.
“We will decide on a Melbourne trip after that.
“Granite Belt has won three of his last four. He does a lot wrong but still wins.
“Reach For Heaven will continue to improve.
“New Ruler has gone to the paddock and is promising.’’