Trainer Mark Newnham continued his dominance of Sydney’s feature summer staying races when Skymax scored a thrilling win in the Listed $150,000 Australia Day Cup (2400m) at Warwick Farm.
Skymax, ridden a daring but tactically astute race by Robbie Dolan, whipped around the field mid-race when the pace eased and went to the front with main danger Wolfe his immediate chase.
The two imported stayers turned into the straight with the race between them but Skymax, with a decisive 6kg pull in the weights, demonstrated superior stamina to sustain his long sprint and hold off Wolfe to score a narrow win.
Skymax takes out the Australia Day Cup in a true staying test. Peach of a ride from @ZRKD for @mark_mnracing 👏👏 pic.twitter.com/pPmguR6b11
“It was a great race,’’ Newnham said. “And a great ride by Robbie.’’
Skymax’s Australia Day Cup success complemented Newnham’s big-race wins with another promising imported stayer, Spirit Ridge, who took out the Summer Cup and January Cup. Newnham also trained Greysful Glamour to win the Villiers Stakes last month.
Wolfe carried 59kg and made a real race of it with Skymax but could not provide a record fifth Australia Day Cup success for trainer Gai Waterhouse, who was named an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) on Tuesday.
Earlier on the program, Jenga, trained by Michael, Wayne and John Hawkes, made a brilliant debut with a very easy all-the-way win, scoring by more than three lengths in the TAB Plate.
Then the John Thompson-trained More Prophets made light of her 60.5kg impost and stormed from last on the turn to monster her rivals in the Sky Racing Active Handicap.
Hall of Fame jockey Hugh Bowman described More Prophets as a “fringe stakes contender” after her exciting win.
Hear from @mark_mnracing and @ZRKD after winning the Australia Day Cup at Warwick Farm with Skymax! pic.twitter.com/ouk7yhIMME
Meantime, Saturday’s Group 2 $200,000 Expressway Stakes has attracted nine entries including glamour colt Ole Kirk, Kolding, Savatiano, Flit, Star Of The Seas, Mizzy and last year’s winner Standout.
In early TAB Fixed Odds betting, the Team Hawkes-trained Ole Kirk, winner of the Golden Rose-Caulfield Guineas Group 1 double, has been installed as the $3.50 favourite ahead of the final fields and barrier draw being announced on Wednesday morning.
There are two crucial Golden Slipper lead-up races on the program, the Widden Stakes and Canonbury Stakes, both Group 3 races worth $160,000 over 1100m.
Ole Kirk is among the entries for the Expressway Stakes. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
The Widden Stakes for fillies has 15 early entries including unbeaten Hi Hi Hi, Ashema, Jessica Rabbit, Mallory, Vianello, Total Babe and first start Satin Ribbons, who has been very impressive in her recent barrier trials.
There are 16 colts and geldings entered for the Canonbury Stakes including Readily Availabull, Conexy, Construct, Home Affairs and Retrieval.
The Rosehill meeting also features the return to racing of two highly rated gallopers from the Hawkes stable, emerging stayer Mount Popa (Benchmark 88 Handicap, 1500m) and speedy Masked Crusader (Benchmark 88 Handicap, 1200m).
Originally published asCup king: Skymax continues Newnham’s sizzling summer
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