Premier Sydney trainer Chris Waller has made Newcastle’s spring showpiece his own, winning three of the four Group Three features.
The Waller-trained Beyond Thankful added the Newcastle Gold Cup to the stable’s wins in Friday’s Spring Stakes with Devil Hawk and Tibbie Stakes with She’s Clean.
Wyong trainer Kim Waugh prevented a clean sweep when Forget won the Cameron Handicap.
Ridden a patient race by Hugh Bowman, Beyond Thankful came from midfield early to gradually reel in the leaders down the long Broadmeadow straight to win the Cup (2300m).
He had a long neck to spare over Orbec with Rio Perdido another three-quarters of a length away third.
Bowman suggested to connections Beyond Thankful should be given his chance in the Group One Metropolitan.
“He might be found wanting class-wise but by gee he would run a cheeky race,” Bowman said.
Only one of the large syndicate of owners who race Beyond Thankful was at Newcastle but Philip Pollicina did their share of the cheering as the horse returned to scale.
“We won the Wyong Cup with him and now the Newcastle Cup. What a great horse,” he said.
Bowman said he had some reservations about Beyond Thankful making the transition from the Wyong Cup to the Newcastle Cup.
“I was a little worried about him on this big Newcastle track and thought the 2300 metres might be a little beyond his best distance and that’s why I rode him a bit differently,” Bowman said.
“You get on these Chris Waller-trained horses when they are in form and they hold it and hold it well and you can go into any race, whether you think conditions suit or not, with confidence.
“You give them a chance and they invariably deliver.”
Traditionally held over two days in September, the Newcastle meeting was condensed into one for the first time, attracting the biggest Cup day crowd for many years.