Despite giving all his seven rivals five kilos in the Newcastle Newmarket Handicap (1400m) and getting trapped wide after jumping, Laser Hawk won the race with ease this afternoon (Wednesday) proving that class can prevail despite the odds.
The Joseph Pride-trained gelding was trapped wide after jumping from barrier six and was unable to reach the leaders until the home straight.
From the jump until the turn, Gai Waterhouse’s Countryman led the race despite getting caught wide followed by stablemate Woodbine, Team Hawkes’ Le Cordon Blue, and Fred Cowell’s Mighty Lucky.
Laser Hawk loomed wide down the straight, quickly taking the lead and holding all the way to the line to win by one length followed by Kris Lees’ Scorpio Queen with Mighty Lucky a further half a length away in third.
It was the first win since the Group 1 Rosehill Guineas (2000m) in 2012 for the gelding, who suffered a range of injuries that saw him spelled for eight months following the win and again for a year in 2013.
Laser Hawk was simply too good for his rivals even with his hefty topweight of 59kg compared to the 54kg carried by everyone else.
Pride delivered a great training performance to get Laser Hawk to win first-up, having not ran since the Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) last October.
“I was hoping he would get a decent run and a good fitness into him,” he said.
“He did have three trials so there was plenty of work put into him, I’m just happy to get an old horse like this back up into the winner’s circle.
“With all respect to his opposition here they’re all at a restricted grade and this old bloke is a Group One winner so it comes in pretty handy when you’ve only got to give them four or five kilos.
“It’s extremely [rewarding] to get a win considering his history with injury. Hopefully there’s still some life left in him and today would indicate just that.
“He’s in the Doncaster (Mile), he’s in the Queen Elizabeth (Stakes) so we’ll just see how he pulls up from this.”
It was a great ride by jockey Hugh Bowman, who had to sit three-four wide in no-man’s land all the way home before finding him way to the front at just the right time.
“Excellent win, there’s no substitute for class,” he said.
“We saw what this horse did as a three-year-old and he would have been a genuine weight-for-age horse at four but he obviously had a few issues.
“He’s been with Joe a while now and he’s come in and did it the hard way, all class.
“He was carrying weight, he was stuck deep, you know the plan was to go forward but he was slow away. It didn’t appear to be much on paper but I thought ‘I’ll just press on and when they steady the pace I’ll go forward’ but of course they didn’t steady, so I just got him in a nice rhythm and like I said there’s no substitute for class and he had a bit on them.”
Punters who backed Laser Hawk to win the 2015 Newcastle Newmarket Handicap at Ladbrokes.com.au enjoyed a lucrative payout with odds of $9.50.
2015 Newcastle Newmarket Handicap Race Results & Finishing Order
|1||1||LASER HAWK||Joseph Pride||Hugh Bowman||–||6||59kg||$9.50|
|2||4||SCORPIO QUEEN||Kris Lees||Christian Reith||1L||4||54kg||$26|
|3||3||MIGHTY LUCKY||Fred Cowell||Nathan Thomas||1.4L||1||54kg||$4F|
|4||2||GYPSY DIAMOND||Peter & Paul Snowden||Sam Clipperton||1.6L||2||54kg||$4.40|
|5||7||LE CORDON BLEU||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||Tommy Berry||1.9L||3||54kg||$5.50|
|6||8||EXCITED PRINCE||Jason Coyle||Jason Collett||2.5L||8||54kg||$41|
|7||6||COUNTRYMAN||Gai Waterhouse||Brenton Avdulla||3.2L||5||54kg||$5.50|
|8||5||WOODBINE||Gai Waterhouse||Tim Clark||3.5L||7||54kg||$5|