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By Jack Petley | Friday, November 20, 2020

The Newcastle stand-alone meeting featuring the $1 million The Hunter was a great success. Looking at the fields for Kembla Grange tomorrow, the $1 million The Gong meeting should also be a great success with a crowd of 2500 able to attend.

A super field has been attracted to the event with the Bott-Waterhouse galloper Dawn Passage favourite at $5 ahead of John Thompson's Purple Sector at $5.50. Thompson won The Hunter with Sweet Deal, so he is on track for another major prize. Other prices … $6.50 Rock, $11 Olmedo, $12 Asiago, $13 Mister Sea Wolf, $15 Bottega.

I note that Hugh Bowman has been booked for the Waller trained, French bred Olmedo and evidently Bowman has been taken by the galloper's work when in Melbourne. Bowman has been in Melbourne for most of the spring and his luck hasn't been all good losing the ride on Sir Dragonet in the Cox Plate and then having Anthony Van Dyck breakdown in the Melbourne Cup after such a fine run in the Caulfield Cup. Bowman, who has rides at Rosehill today, has a useful book tomorrow including the promising Destination.

It looks as though major Hunter Valley stud-farms have a further fight on their hands with a proposed coal mine to be opened in the area. So far, the studs have beaten off four proposed coal mines and now they have a fight to keep the fifth out of the area with a decision, I gather, to be made later this month. Heading the fight is Coolmore's John Magnier.

No gallops, harness or greyhound racing in South Australia as the South Australian Government goes into lockdown with an outbreak of Covid 19. And clubs are now in limbo waiting on word from the Government on when they can open up again. But meantime stables will keep ticking over with trackwork allowable. Not since back in early April has racing been called off, that was in Tasmania for a matter of eight weeks.

Te Akau boss David Ellis opened his shoulders at the NZB Ready to Run Sale yesterday at Karaka going to $700,000 to purchase a handsome colt by Savabeel from the O'Reilly mare Miss Opulence after a great battle with Roger James' Highclere stable. The colt was offered by Sam and Hana Beatson's Riversley Park and that stud had a great two-day sale selling 23 for a very solid $4,152,500. Ellis, earlier in the day, went to $350,000 to purchase a Darci Brahma colt from the Lilywhites Lodge with the Te Akau boss commenting: "The best Darci Brahma I have seen."

At the end of the NZB Ready to Run Sale Ellis had purchased nine lots for $1,5620,00 at an average of $168,889. Hong Kong's Ricky Yui was next with 5 lots for $980,000 then Richardson Racing, $925,000, Busuttin-Young, $876,000 and Bell racing, $721,000. Managing Director, of NZB Andrew Seabrook commented: "I am thrilled with the result. It has exceeded our wildest dreams."

It has been announced by the British Government that some 300 million pounds will be injected into hard hit sports in the country and it looks as though the struggling racing industry will receive up to 40 million pounds as loans.

Aidan O'Brien has announced that his smart mare Magical will head to Hong Kong next month for the rich Hong Kong Cup. She has, said the top trainer, thrived since that close second to Dermott Weld's Tarnawa in the Breeders’ Cup Turf. "This will likely be her last run," said O'Brien.

Meantime British trainers are targeting the Bahrain International later today with seven from the UK in the race headed by John Gosden's Global Giant with Gosden, last year, at the inaugural meeting, gaining second with Turgenev. Global Giant was purchased purposely for the race and given to Gosden to train by Sheikh Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa, son of Bahrain's Crown Prince. Main rivals, it appears, will be the O'Brien trained, Bangkok. Japanese mare Deidre also runs and she is the mount of Hollie Doyle.

Levin trainer Leanne Elliot has her top stayer Rock On Wood out at the Awapuni meeting tomorrow on the path to the Rydges Captain Cook Stakes at Trentham next month. Wyndspelle, now at stud, won the Awapuni meeting last year and then went on and won the Captain Cook." I would love to win a Group race with him," said Elliot. "He deserves one. He has been unlucky in a few big ones. And he tried so hard." If Rock on Wood runs in the first four this weekend he will take his earnings past $200,000, not bad going as he cost only $26,000 as a yearling.

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