Aside from the end of season racing action taking place in Perth, Tasmania is also host to its own summer racing carnival with one of the first events for the festival taking place today, Wednesday November 21, with the Tasmania Newmarket Handicap 2012.
Due to run as Launceston Race 5 at 8:55pm the $90,000 Listed Country Club Tasmania Newmarket Handicap (1200m) has this year drawn a full field of 14 hopefuls, the short-priced favourite of which is It’s Crunch Time.
Drawn in gate 10 with Stephen Maskiell to ride the Doug Harrison-trained galloper from Cranbourne makes their interstate debut today having raced exclusively in Victoria over their 11-start career to date.
They stepped up to stakes company for the first time on November 8 and ran a credible sixth in the Listed Fashions on the Field (1000m) at Flemington and are well fancied to beat the local hopes in the Apple Isle tonight.
The Tasmania Newmarket Handicap weights meanwhile are led by defending champ and last season’s Tasmanian Horse of the Year Geegees Blackflash.
A dual Group winner, John Luttrell’s Clangalang gelding enjoyed a first-up win in this race 12 months ago before continuing onto win their subsequent four starts including the Group 3 Hobart Cup (2200m) in February.
They were last seen running a close second in the Group 3 Launceston Cup (2400m) on February 29 carrying 60kg, the same weight they have been allocated to carry from their ideal barrier four draw tonight.
While they have been able to carry the weight before Geegees Blackflash did have only 57kg on their back for their Newmarket win last year so must step it up if they are to go back-to-back.
The horses that finished two-three behind Geegees Blackflash in the Newmarket last year are also set to run in the feature again today with Socks in barrier three and the David & Scott Brunton-trained Punctuate on the rails.
Invincible Spirit five-year-old Punctuate will start one of the top fancies in the race this year having been in fine form this time in.
After a close first-up third at Devonport in October the gelding caught the eye last start on November 4 when overcoming barrier 12 of 12 to put two lengths on their closest rival in an 1100m handicap at Hobart.
The Bruntons will also be represented in the race by their flying Telesto four-year-old Galibier who occupies the second line of betting as they shoot for their third win on the trot after comprehensive victories over 1100m at Hobart and Launceston respectively last month, and classy mare Sorell Miss.
Following Geegees Blackflash in the weights are then the likes of Leon Wells’ smart mare Rebel Bride (56.5kg) who ran third to Punctuate last start, and the always honest Troy Blacker-trained Dream Flyer (56kg).
See below for the full Tasmania Newmarket Handicap 2012 field, barriers, jockeys and weights.
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2012 Tasmania Newmarket Handicap Final Field & Barrier Draw
Launceston Race 5 – 8:55pm – 21/11/2012
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Br.||Wgt.||Hcp. Rating|
|1||42x111112x||GEEGEES BLACKFLASH||John Luttrell||Peter Mertens||4||60kg||104|
|2||1113x232x3||REBEL BRIDE||Leon Wells||Jason Maskiell||9||56.5kg||94|
|3||x1821235x4||DREAM FLYER||Troy Blacker||Ibrahim Gundogdu||7||56kg||89|
|4||1121122×16||IT’S CRUNCH TIME||Doug Harrison||Stephen Maskiell||10||56kg||89|
|5||4225114×55||RAVE NIGHT||Royston Carr||David Pires||13||55kg||87|
|6||03133x0x48||ROCKY TIMES||Brendan Mcshane||Bulent Muhcu (a), (late alt)||14||54.5kg||86|
|7||1610x278x0||SOCKS||George Blacker||Kelvin Sanderson||3||54.5kg||86|
|8||x6612588x1||SORELL MISS||David & Scott Brunton||Craig Newitt||5||54kg||86|
|9||120x4191x2||BIONIC STAR||Barry Campbell||Chris Pace (a)||2||54kg||82|
|10||222421023x||CATWEN BOY||Mark Ganderton||Shuji Amano||6||54kg||82|
|11||66051x899x||LYELL||Barry Baker||Daniel Moor||12||54kg||82|
|12||330x339x31||PUNCTUATE||David & Scott Brunton||Anthony Darmanin||1||54kg||82|
|13||110x0x24x6||MR FASHION||Leon Laskey||Ms Shannon Brazil||11||54kg||81|
|14||2x12124x11||GALIBIER||David & Scott Brunton||Brendon McCoull||8||54kg||77|