Talented five-year-old Mecir has produced a strong final-straight sprint to overcome a talented field and claim the Group 3 Newcastle Newmarket Handicap (1400m) this afternoon.
Having jumped only fairly, the Lonhro gelding settled well back in the 14 horse pack more than six lengths off the early pace of leaders High Esteem, pre-post market mover Strawberry Boy and Centennial Park.
Appearing well and truly out of contention rounding the final bend, Mecir followed the early straight pace of well-trialled eight-year-old Pinwheel, reaching the leading pack with only 100 metres to run and poking a nose clear to beat Strawberry Boy and Slow Pace.
In-form jockey James McDonald delivered a typically brilliant ride on Mecir in the Newcastle Newmarket Handicap, but revealed he was lucky to overcome his poor position.
“He was very good” McDonald said immediately after dismounting.
“We were a bit awkwardly placed at the back of the field and I was a bit lucky Macca (Kerrin McEvoy, Pinwheel) made a run and just tagged us into the race quite nicely and he (Mercir) did the rest, he was a nice horse.”
Having steadily built to this; his maiden win at Group level, McDonald noted the Newcastle Newmarket Handicap as a key indicator of form ahead of major autumn Group 1 races, including the Doncaster Handicap (1600m).
“I’m sure this will be a good form race because there was a bit in it” McDonald said.
“It shows how well placed he’s been all the way through. He got good money today and it was a really good effort.
“That’s a big race, but anything nicely placed under that would be a good spot for him” McDonald said of the Doncaster.
Overcoming several previous performers at Group 1 level today and having now amassed five wins a two places in 15 race starts for Team Hawkes, Mecir is shaping as a possibility for an appearance in one of this season’s major races; the Doncaster Mile and Group 1 Queen Of The Turf Stakes (1500m) registering as the most likely.
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2014 Newcastle Newmarket Handicap Results
|1||13||MECIR||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||James McDonald||–||11||54kg||$5.50|
|2||4||STRAWBERRY BOY||Peter G Moody||Jim Cassidy||0.3L||2||55kg||$4.40F|
|3||2||SLOW PACE (USA)||Kris Lees||Hugh Bowman||0.5L||6||57kg||$26|
|4||12||KAYPERS||Greg Bennett||Robert Thompson||0.6L||5||54kg||$31|
|5||6||MALUCKYDAY (NZ)||Joseph Pride||Jay Ford||1L||3||54.5kg||$51|
|6||7||REPARATIONS||Anthony Freedman||Sam Clipperton (a)||1.2L||9||54kg||$9|
|7||3||RAIN DRUM||Gai Waterhouse||Blake Shinn||1.6L||14||56kg||$6|
|8||1||PINWHEEL||Peter Snowden||Kerrin McEvoy||2L||7||59kg||$5.50|
|9||11||ALMIGHTY CHARGE||Gai Waterhouse||Tim Clark||2.2L||13||54kg||$11|
|10||10||WISTFUL||Peter Snowden||Tommy Berry||2.4L||4||54kg||$61|
|11||5||CENTENNIAL PARK (NZ)||David Payne||Christian Reith||2.8L||1||54.5kg||$15|
|12||9||CAMEO||Peter Snowden||Jason Collett||3.2L||10||54kg||$26|
|13||14||DOUBLE HALO||Luke Griffith||Jeff Penza||3.4L||12||54kg||$201|
|14||8||HIGH ESTEEM||Peter G Moody||Brenton Avdulla||11.4L||8||54kg||$16|