Gary Harley’s Newcastle racing review

WARWICK Farm trainer Bjorn Baker expressed surprise at the generosity of bookmakers after the impressive debut win of his three-year-old filly Classify at Saturday’s Newcastle race meeting.

A daughter of one of Australia’s great sires, Fastnet Rock, Classify was set for a first-up win in the 900-metre Maiden Plate.

FLYING START: Bjorn Baker has already trained 28 winners in the 2017-18 racing season.

FLYING START: Bjorn Baker has already trained 28 winners in the 2017-18 racing season.

With Wyong speedster Perfect Style backed as if unbeatable, firming from $2.20 into $1.55, Classify drifted from $3.20 to $5.

Perfect Style quickly led and appeared to be cruising approaching the home turn.

However, once in the home straight Classify issued the challenge and she raced past the favourite to win by 1 ¾ lengths.

Baker, a Kiwi and son of the legendary Murray Baker, enjoyed a successful day on Saturday, landing a treble.

At Randwick, he saddled up two winners, Goodfella and Sire Plush.

He is off to a flying start in the 2017-18 season, with 28 winners in the first two months and seven days of this campaign.

He said he had been extremely confident about Classify’s prospects.

“This filly trialled good and she has worked well,’’ he said. “We were confident and backed her accordingly.

“I can’t believe that Classify got to $5.

“We paid $220,000 for her at the Inglis Easter Yearling Sale. She is still learning but is very talented. I will probably give her a midweek run in Sydney at the end of the month.”

Very few horses win with 63.5 kilograms on their back these days but the in-form Warwick Farm stayer Bon Equus did at Newcastle on Saturday.

The tough stayer defied a betting drift ($2.30 to $3.80) before leading all the way to win the 2330-metre Benchmark 60 Handicap.

Sixteen days earlier, Bon Equus again led throughout to win over the 2100-metre trip at Hawkesbury, carrying 61 kilograms. The five-year-old is trained by Joe Pride for the “potato king”, Nick Moraitis, who raced Caulfield and Melbourne Cup winner Might and Power.

Saturday was another successful day for the powerful Godoplhin stable and their young trainer, James Cummings.

The famous royal-blue colours were carried to victory by Viridine and Interlocuter at Randwick, and in Newcastle Speedway and Organza were Godoplhin’s winners.

The only Newcastle to win a race at his home track on Saturday was Kris Lees, who produced a promising three-year-old colt High Power to win the 1200-metre Maiden Plate.

Given the run of the race by Mitchell Bell, High Power overhauled the leader Riva Romance to win by a long neck. Lees also landed a double at Port Macquarie.

It was a frustrating day for trainer Paul Perry, with five placings but no winners from eight starts at Newcastle.


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