2016 Newcastle Newmarket Handicap Rescheduled

March 17th, 2016

The 2016 Newcastle Newmarket Handicap (1350m) has been confirmed to run as last race at Rosehill Gardens on Golden Slipper Day this Saturday after inclement weather forced Wednesday’s meeting in Newcastle to be abandoned.

River Lad will take his position in the rescheduled 2016 Newcastle Newmarket Handicap at Rosehill Gardens. Photo: Daniel Costello

River Lad will take his position in the rescheduled 2016 Newcastle Newmarket Handicap at Rosehill Gardens. Photo: Daniel Costello

A talented field of sprinters had been confirmed in the 2016 Newcastle Newmarket Handicap field earlier in the week and were poised to line up for the feature race on Wednesday, but slow drainage and a heavy downpour forced the hand of Racing NSW stewards to abandon the meet.

Racing NSW steward Marc Van Gestel told Sky Thoroughbred Central that while disappointing the race could not be contested at its traditional home, safety is paramount and the 2016 Newcastle Newmarket Handicap will be run at Rosehill on Saturday.

“As soon as we stepped onto the track there was surface water sitting there,” Van Gestel said.

“Particularly in the areas they raced last meeting when the rail was out five metres.

“The most concerning thing is that it’s quite inconsistent. Towards the fence the track is probably no worse than a good four, soft five but certainly out wide in the five metre range it’s a heavy 10 and beyond.

“In our view it was unsafe to proceed with the meeting.

“Today with the water sitting there not draining, sitting on top, it’s just inconsistent and quite unsafe to race on.”

River Lad has been transferred to the care of Kris Lees for his 2016 campaign and has been charged with carrying a race-high 59kgs in the Newcastle Newmarket Handicap.

Posting a career total of thirteen wins and eleven minors through forty-four competitive starts, the Top Echelon gelding delivered a talented field a shock defeat in the 2014 edition of the Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) most notably.

Ecuador was a strong and consistent performer for Gai Waterhouse in spring and should prove very hard to beat in the 2016 Newcastle Newmarket Handicap.

Running second in the Group 2 Tramway Handicap (1400m) on September 5th, the High Chaparral gelding ran fourth in the Group 3 Cameron Handicap (1500m) before running second to Winx in the Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m).

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