Newcastle Cup destiny for Joe Pride-trained veteran

STALWART: Josh Parr rides Destiny's Kiss to win the Christmas Cup at Randwick last December. Picture: Bradleyphotos.com.au
STALWART: Josh Parr rides Destiny's Kiss to win the Christmas Cup at Randwick last December. Picture: Bradleyphotos.com.au

Warwick Farm trainer Joe Pride is certain the weight won’t beat Destiny’s Kiss in the Newcastle Cup (2300 metres) after accepting for Friday’s group 3 $175,000 feature at Broadmeadow.

The Wyong Cup winner was thought to be headed to Saturday’s group 3 Kingston Town Stakes (2000m) at Randwick but Pride said on Wednesday the nine-year-old gelding was all but set for Newcastle.

Destiny’s Kiss, owned and bred by Nick Moraitis and sporting the colours made famous by Might And Power, was given 59kg topweight and gate three in the Newcastle Cup. He has only 55kg at Randwick.

Connections accepted for both races but Pride said Newcastle was the likely target, especially after news five-time Melbourne Cup-winning owner Lloyd Williams was not accepting with Crocodile Rock, Hans Holbein and Kilimanjaro. 

Another Victorian threat, Pacodali, was also on his mind.

“I’m 90 per cent sure I’ll come up,” Pride said. “I just wanted to accept at both and when I heard Lloyd wasn’t bringing his horses up, I thought that might be an opportunity for the old fella.

“At this stage we’re coming up. It will be interesting to see what Darren Weir does with his horse. It’s a big effort to get them all the way up from there to Newcastle. Hopefully for my sake he comes out, but my horse is good.”

Pacodali, which was among acceptances for the listed JRA Trophy at Flemington on Saturday, was equal $2.80 favourite with the Chris Waller-trained Sayed when TAB Fixed Odds opened its Newcastle Cup market on Wednesday. Destiny’s Kiss was $8.

Weir racing manager Jeremy Rogers said Pacodali was scheduled to start his journey north on Wednesday night.

Pacodali, a five-year-old Irish gelding, has won four of his past five starts, including a victory over 2016 Melbourne Cup champion Almandin at his most recent outing.

“He just keeps taking the next step, so hopefully he can do it again come Friday,” Rogers said.

Second topweight Pacodali (barrier 8) will carry 55.5kg and has a 3.5kg edge on Destiny’s Kiss, to be ridden by Hugh Bowman. The rest of the nine-horse field will cart 54kg.

Pride, though, was confident his 71-start veteran was up to the challenge.

“The step up to 2300 suits and this is the sort of profile of the races that he wins,” Pride said. “He carries that 59 against the horses who aren’t as good as him down on the limit, he does that all the time.

“He’s basically giving the same horses he beat at Wyong the same weight, so the weight won’t beat him. Hopefully they take the sting out of the ground and he’ll be good.”

Richard Freedman’s Auvray and Gai Waterhouse-Adrian Bott’s Broadside are other Cup visitors. Paul Perry’s The Getaway and Kris Lees’ Admiral Jello, Wahng Wah and Doukhan carry Newcastle hopes.