Newcastle racing: Mark Newnham's Exclamation ready to make mark for new owners

Rookie Warwick Farm trainer Mark Newnham is confident recent acquisition Exclamation can win first-up for his new owners on Thursday at Newcastle.

HOPEFUL: Trainer Mark Newnham, pictured at his Warwick Farm stables, is excited about the prospects of former Godolphin gelding Exclamation at Newcastle on Thursday. Picture: Adam Pengilly

HOPEFUL: Trainer Mark Newnham, pictured at his Warwick Farm stables, is excited about the prospects of former Godolphin gelding Exclamation at Newcastle on Thursday. Picture: Adam Pengilly

Exclamation was trained by John O’Shea for Godolphin from the Victorian base and the gelding was placed in his initial four starts at Moe, Mornington (twice) and Geelong before breaking through for his only win at Cranbourne in November.

Exclamation was subsequently sold to clients of Newnham’s at a Gold Coast sale and the three-year-old has competed in two Warwick Farm trials recently, winning the second on April 7. Exclamation will run in a 1200-metre Benchmark 65 Handicap (apprentices only) at Newcastle. Newnham said on Tuesday that Exclamation would race in blinkers.

“The first four starts he had for Godolphin he raced without blinkers but the race he won at Cranbourne, he wore blinkers,” Newnham said. “I trialled Exclamation without blinkers but they will go on for Thursday's race.

“I have had him for three months and I couldn’t be happier with him. He trialled nicely a couple of weeks ago and from the good barrier he will race handy and I am quietly confident that he can win. His apprentice rider, Rachel King, is a very talented rider and I was keen to book her for the ride. Rachel’s had two rides for me for a win and a second.”

The former jockey has been training for only 12 months and has prepared 13 winners from 60 starters. He has recently been granted 23 boxes at Randwick and will operate from two venues.

Hawkesbury-trained Base Camp put the writing on the wall with two recent narrow defeats at Newcastle and will be a short quote to break through in the 1300m Provincial and Country Maiden. Tommy Berry replaces the apprentices that have ridden the three-year-old in his past two starts. Base Camp is a natural front-runner and appears a standout after going down by three quarters of a length to group 1 placegetter Whispered Secret at Newcastle on March 25.

Meanwhile, Glen Boss has replaced the suspended Craig Williams on Big Duke, which is part-owned by Hunter syndicators Australian Bloodstock, for Saturday’s $2 million Sydney Cup. Big Duke drew gate two on Wednesday.

Back at Newcastle, and former Kiwi galloper Bluetwentytwo, the subject of a plunge at Wyong last week when narrowly beaten, can atone in the 1400m Class 1 Handicap. The four-year-old had five starts in New Zealand for a win and two seconds before entering Kim Waugh’s Wyong stable.

He failed first-up at Newcastle on March 25, then on April 11 Bluetwentytwo was backed from $17 into $8.50 when beaten a head at Gosford. The longer trip is ideal and apprentice Nick Heywood will claim two kilograms.

Cessnock mare Bob’s Ticket will appreciate a sharp drop in class when she contests the 1400m fillies and mares Class 1 Handicap. Bob’s Ticket finished fifth in a much stronger race at Newcastle on April 8. She likes to lead and from barrier one and the claim for King points to the mare running well.

Bob’s Ticket is trained by former Australian soccer representative Amanda Langlar and the four-year-old is raced by former Maitland rugby league premiership winner Bob McLaughlin and his wife Val.

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