With heavy tracks no longer a burden, Mark Newnham is enthusiastic about Diamond Tathagata’s campaign for more black-type recognition at Rosehill.
The three-year-old underscored his class when he claimed the Group Two Skyline Stakes at just his second start in February.
That success earned the colt a start in the Golden Slipper but he struggled on the heavy track before Newnham backed him up a fortnight later in the ATC Sires’ Produce Stakes which in hindsight he said was a race too far.
Newnham, who operates stables at Randwick and Wariwck Farm, is now setting him on a path to the Golden Rose.
Although Diamond Tathagata plugged away admirably on wet tracks during autumn, Newnham was delighted to see Rosehill classified as a good three on Friday, with no rain forecast.
“His four starts to date have all been on heavy tracks. I think the horse will be better on top of the ground,” Newnham said.
The trainer continues to set the bar high for Diamond Tathagata since he finished second to eventual Golden Slipper winner She Will Reign on debut in December.
“He ran into She Will Reign and did a good job in the Inglis Nursery so we decided to have a crack at qualifying for the Slipper,” Newnham said.
Diamond Tathagata duly won the Skyline but could only manage seventh in the Slipper.
“I’m pretty sure we would have been unlikely to race if it hadn’t been Slipper Day,” Newnham said.
He feels Diamond Tathagata is sharp enough to make an impression in a high quality eight-strong Rosebud field.
“He’s just a big, strong, tough colt and he’s got a good manner about him. He’s got a good racing style,” he said.
Diamond Tathagata was listed as a $9.50 chance with Luxbet fixed odds on Friday with the Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott-trained Siege Of Quebec the $3 market leader.