TIM Clark didn’t tip them, but he made all the right moves on race day to win his first Newcastle Cup (2300m) and secure a big-priced feature double at Broadmeadow on Friday.
Clark, who was in Newcastle on Thursday to speak at a sportsman’s lunch, set the perfect tempo up front from barrier two before pushing the Gai Waterhouse/Adrian Bott-trained Broadside ($17) to a half-length victory in the $175,000 group 3 Cup.
The Richard Freedman-trained Auvray ($9) finished strongly for second and Newcastle trainer Kris Lees’ Admiral Jello ($10) was a length and a half back in third.
Clark’s well-paced ride followed a brilliant effort on Newcastle-trained outsider Got Unders ($26) in the group 3 Cameron Handicap.
“I won the Cameron last year [on Chetwood] but I’d not won the Cup before,” Clark said.
“Being a country boy, I’ve won a few country cups and they are good fun the country carnivals, and I try to get to as many as possible.
“Newcastle had eluded me up until today, so it was definitely pleasing to tick it off the bucket list.
“I came up to the Premier Hotel yesterday and unfortunately I didn’t tip the crowd into any of the big-priced winners, but hopefully they had something on anyway.”
Broadside hit back from a first-up last in the listed Premiers’ Cup three weeks ago to give Waterhouse a fourth Newcastle Cup.
Bott was now confidently eyeing the group 1 Metropolitan (2400m) in two weeks.
“He’s bounced back from that first-up run and he’s a genuine, out and out stayer and there’s still improvement there,” Bott said. “I think he’s got to be a great chance.”
Clark said it was a tremendous effort from the training team to get the six-year-old back to his best.
“It was a bit of a surprise with Got Unders, but I thought Broadside had a chance because it wasn’t an overly strong cup, and although he was coming off a disappointing run, he had plenty of excuses,” Clark said. “He was always going improve off the freshen up, after that run. He was going to find the front and get a soft lead. I gave him a strong eachway chance.”
Freedman was pleased with the run of seven-year-old Auvray, which was also headed to the Metropolitan.
“I think it’s fair to say, we’ve got him back,” Freedman said. “I thought he was going to win there for a couple of strides, but it was just 100 metres too short.”
NJC chairman Geoff Barnett was thrilled with the Cup day crowd and the performance of the renovated $11.2 million course proper, which had not been raced on fully since May, and will host Saturday’s Ladies Day meeting.
Barnett said jockeys Blake Shinn and Hugh Bowman gave the track their tick of approval.
“I think we’re just learning how to manage the thing, and we’re getting there,” Barnett said of the sand-based surface. “I’m impressed with the crowd today, I’d say it would be up around 4000. It’s really good and all the function areas were sold out.”