Chris Waller's dominance of the group 3 $250,000 Newcastle Gold Cup in recent years is set to continue on Friday.
Newcastle Jockey Club has put together a cracking day's racing with three group 3 events, the Gold Cup (2300m), the $200,000 Tibbie Stakes (1400m) for fillies and mares and the $200,000 Cameron Handicap (1500m).
Waller-trained horses have won four of the past seven Newcastle Cups and the stable will saddle up a trio of in-form stayers in Friday's edition.
Recent Wyong Cup winner Durston and runner-up Yiyi, and the in-form Born A King make up the Waller team.
Durston, a seven-year-old European import, will be ridden by James McDonald, who is yet to win a Newcastle Cup.
He was trained in Victoria by the Ciaron Maher and David Eustace stable, and the gelding has had three starts for Waller.
Two starts back Durston finished last in the Randwick Premier's Cup after pulling hard.
He went into the Wyong Cup with a Norton bit and the gear change did the trick. McDonald hopped aboard for the first time and, after travelling at the tail of the field, Durston raced away to win easily with something in hand. The lightly raced stayer has won up to 2900 metres in Europe.
Born A King is another import in top form with two wins and two placings in his past four starts. A son of the great Frankel. he is a better horse on top of the ground but has won on soft going and has only 54 kilograms. Kerrin McEvoy rides.
Yiyi ran on strong when runner-up in the Wyong Cup and he is a winner at Newcastle.
Hunter syndicators Australian Bloodstock won the 2020 Newcastle Gold Cup with Mugatoo and their stayer, Mankayan, trained by Maher and Eustace, is expected to go to the barriers as the favourite on Friday.
He has had four starts this preparation for three wins and a second. The seven-year-old has won over 2500m in Europe. Top Victorian jockey Ben Melham will fly in to ride the gelding.
The Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott-trained Cross Talk will be favourite in the Cameron Handicap.
He has won five of eight starts and was placed in the recent Hawkesbury Rowley Mile.
Cross Talk had a tick-over trial on September 1 at Canterbury and cruised under a hold alongside Mr Mozart and Ellsberg.
Brad Widdup's bonny mare Icebath, the winner of more than $4.3 million on the racetrack, is a weighted special in the set-weight Tibbie Stakes.
The mare will carry only 55kg under the conditions and McEvoy has the mount. Icebath loves a wet track and rain was predicted throughout Thursday and Friday morning.
In her second start this campaign Icebath was runner-up behind Zaaki in the recent Tramway Handicap.
Sydney's top jockeys are making the trip to Newcastle and, with the many function rooms booked out, the NJC are preparing for a huge day on Friday.
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