A capacity field of Stradbroke Handicap hopefuls...
Trainer Mark Newnham is now a two-time Group 1 winner thanks to Nakeeta Jane’s triumph in the Surround Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on Saturday.
The $3.80 favourite firmed from $5.00 right before the race as punters came after the speedy three-year-old. In a quality field of 16, winning hoop Joshua Parr found himself caught three-wide in the early stages of the race, only to enjoy a gun run down the straight to go on and win by a nose.
Alongside Nakeeta Jane, Newnham also had Greysful Glamour in the race, but it was clear who the winning chance was. After winning the Group 2 Light Fingers Stakes (1200m) on the same track a fortnight ago, Nakeeta Jane ate up the line as her dazzling turn of foot proved more than enough to hold off second place-getter Fundamentalist.
“It was pretty freakish wasn’t it? When she got shunted off on the corner I’d sort’ve given up hope, but then she kept extending and extending, and yeah, down the line she was fantastic” Newnham said after the race.
“She’s very special, to do what she’s done in that number of starts, they’re top class, and she proved it today.”
Newnham may have just won his second-ever Group 1 race, but he already has his sights set on backing up in next week’s $1 million Randwick Guineas (1600m). Nakeeta Jane would take on The Autumn Sun, who remains the odds on favourite with Ladbrokes at $1.50.
“I haven’t actually ruled out backing her up next week in the Randwick Guineas” Newnham said when asked on Nakeeta Jane’s next run.
“Looking at the Australian Guineas today there wouldn’t be many back up from that. Won’t be a full field here, it’s not an easy assignment taking on The Autumn Sun but will be a good lead up for her into the Vinery at 2000 three weeks later.”
Nakeeta Jane has firmed from $51.00 into the $8.00 second-elect for the feature race at Randwick next week. Winning jockey Josh Parr will likely retain the ride following what was an impressive display of craftsmanship on Saturday, but for the time being, he’s happy to bask in his fourth Group 1 win.
“It didn’t work out nicely at all, she began a little bit awkward, and as I thought, there’s just going to be a clump of horses that are going to want the same spot – third, fourth, sixth – and it just forced me to going back in behind them,” Parr said.
The problem then was how slow they went, it was just an absolute walk-a-thon, and we backed right out of our ground, covering ground and the leaders kicked at the top of the hill, she had it all ahead of her, and I’m so proud of her, how she’s performed, how mature she’s become, I’m really, really happy.”
Nakeeta Jane is also the $5.00 favourite for Australian Oaks (2400m) on April 13.
Full Randwick Guineas Odds can be seen below.
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