A stunning debut from Frankely Awesome was the highlight of a winning double for trainer Kris Lees and jockey Corey Brown at Newcastle on Tuesday.
The Frankel-Street Secret three-year-old defied a drift in the market to $9.50 to cruise to a three-length win in the 1300-metre maiden plate for fillies and mares. Last at the halfway point, Brown took the Cressfield Stud filly to the outside on the turn and she burst clear before easing down at the finishing line. The Chris Waller-trained favourite Seamagic was second.
“Obviously Kris said she’s a filly that’s bred to get over ground so we were always going to be in the second half,” Brown said on Sky Thoroughbred Central.
"Six hundred metres from home, it’s easy to say, but I was quietly confident the way she travelled. When I pushed the button she lengthened really well and got there really quick too.
"She was always going to win. I was just surprised how quick she got there for a big horse having her first go. She really knew how to let down well."
Brown and Lees combined again in the last when Jack’s Bar ground out a half-length victory over the Ben Smith-trained Tabrobane in the benchmark 64 handicap (1200m) for geldings and entires. It was the four-year-old Snippetson gelding’s third win in nine starts.
“He’ll keep improving,” Lees told Sky Thoroughbred Central. “He’s still a bit wayward and does a few things wrong but he’s improving every time he steps out. Hopefully we can get him to a city race pretty soon.”
John Thompson also trained a double, with Primitivo and Wild Impact. In the first, the Smith-trained Iron Duke stormed to successive wins on his home track. The four-year-old gelding backed up a four-length victory with a five-length domination in a class one (2360m).
Meanwhile, Newcastle Jockey Club on Tuesday announced a profit for the 2017-18 financial year.
After a loss of $1,007,169 before property revaluations – $647,169 post revaluations – for 2016-17, the NJC tightened its belt and returned a profit of $613,756 for 2017-18. That figure rose to $973,756 after revaluations.
“[We] set a tough budget in May last year, and with targeted staff restructuring, strong hospitality sales and a focus on cost-cutting and efficiencies, we achieved this exceptional result,” NJC chairman Geoff Barnett said in a statement.
“Last year we focused on a range of important issues that meant we needed to invest in one-off expenses. These included additional track irrigation, maintenance and security costs, the club’s new branding and website, the development of plans for a new stable development, the renovation of the Ascot and Newmarket Bars, course-wide screen upgrades and a range of significant administrative issues that had to be addressed.
“What’s pleasing about this outcome is that it not only illustrates the excellent financial health of the club, but that we’ve also been rewarded for the investment we’ve made in patron and hospitality facilities.”
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