The Group 3 Newcastle Newmarket Handicap is a Group 3 grade quality handicap of 1400 metres staged at Broadmeadow Racecourse in Newcastle, NSW during the month of March.
Prizemoney for the race is now $200,000, as of the weeks leading up to the 2023 jump.
Newcastle Newmarket Handicap Race Details
Race Distance: 1400m
Prize Money: $200,000
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When Is The Newcastle Newmarket Handicap: 2/3/24
What Time Is The Newcastle Newmarket Handicap: TBA
Where Is The Newcastle Newmarket Handicap: Newcastle Racecourse
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More Details About The Newcastle Newmarket Handicap
The race was won by Wandabaa in 2022. She is a now six-year-old mare by Wandjina, so the grandsire is Snitzel. There are some better types on the dam Mabkhara as well.
Wandabaa is listed as transferred for her current status and we suspect she might be racing in one of the Asian racing jurisdictions.
The Newcastle Newmarket Handicap was her last win in Australia. After that victory, they lined her up in two Group 1 races, the 2022 Coolmore Stud Stakes at Rosehill and the Tatt’s Tiara at Eagle Farm.
She was closing in on a million dollars in earnings, but she has no win better than the Newmarket from 38 jumps for 8 wins and 16 placings.
Prizemoney for the race at that time was $160,000, so Wandabaa captured the $83,000 top prize when she crossed the line ahead of the other nine gallopers in the field.
The race is the marquee event at a meeting that in 2022 featured eight races, most of those being maiden plates, Bench Mark races and ungraded handicaps. The eight-race meeting attracted just 74 horses, for an average field size of just over nine.
The meeting is held on a Friday, which seems a sound strategy, as the following day will find most of the attention on Randwick, where a meeting with two Group 1s, three Group 2s, two Group 3s and two Listed races jump.
There can arise some confusion over the name of the race. There is the famous Newmarket Handicap at Flemington a week later.
History of the Newcastle Newmarket Handicap
The inaugural running of the race was in 1955.
Proper Commonwealth citizens will know that Great Britain’s National Heritage Centre for Horse Racing Tips and Sporting Art at Palace House, the National Horseracing Museum and the Sporting Art Trust are located in Newcastle, as well a base for an operation known as Retraining of Racehorses.
There have been more than a few horses racing as Newcastle, but most were from Great Britain and the rest from Europe, with several from Asia and South America
An Australian Newcastle filly dropped in 1907, but it does not appear that she did anything to deserve a race name.
The race has always been 1400 metres, allowing for the slight variance from when the race was measured as seven furlongs. There was one year when the race was shortened by 50 metres in 2016, but the race meeting was abandoned due to prolonged rain that resulted in the track being declared unsafe for racing. The race was added as the 10th race on Golden Slipper Stakes Day at Rosehill.
That was the only year the race did not jump at Newcastle Broadmeadow Racecourse.
The race grade was Principal through 1978. It spent 1979 through 1991 as Principal grade and has been Group 3 since 1992.
Multiple winners include Brandy Lad (1964 and 1965) and Manuan (1983 and 1984).
Venue for the Newcastle Newmarket Handicap
Broadmeadow Racecourse is located in a suburb of New South Wale’s second largest city – Newcastle. Newcastle is about two hours north of Sydney. Most racing fans and sources of Thoroughbred racing information simply refer to the track as Newcastle.
The venue hosts meeting 26 times over the course of the year. Other Group grade races held there are the Cameron Handicap, the Newcastle Spring Stakes and the Cameron Handicap, all Group 3 grade.
The Newcastle Jockey Club stages the races and the date of their establishment and the opening of the track seem to coincide as being 1907.
The track is a conventional oval, with two long straights and two long, continuous turns.
For a 1400-metre race, the gallopers start at about the middle of the back straight, run one continuous turn on the east side of the track, and then hit the home straight to finish in front of the stands on the south side of the course.
Racing History of the Newcastle Newmarket Handicap
The race will occasionally lure some interstate horses looking for a lead-up to the major autumn carnival races in Sydney, but for the most part, this race and most others staged at the track are the province of local Thoroughbreds. The venue is considered a provincial track, so having four Group 3 races there is certainly impressive.
Outside of the two dual winners we mentioned earlier, and 2017 winner Happy Clapper, the winners of the Newcastle Newmarket Handicap are anonymous types, although we did see a few names on the list that suggest connections to some great racers.
The winner of the first Newcastle Newmarket Handicap in 1955 was Seacraft. Records from that era are often skimpy, but we believe that Seacraft never won any other major races.
The 1959 winner, Amanullah, also won the George Main Stakes when it would have been Principal grade.
We suspected that we had sniffed out something when we saw the name of the 1961 winner, Heroic Victory.
His sire was Hua and grandsire Heroic, so that suspicion played out. He does not seem to be of anywhere near the quality of his sire ad grandsire.
The 1962 winner was a gelding named Saydor. He was insignificant, but is mentioned here because his sire was Good Brandy that was also the sire of the first dual winner of the race, Brandy Lad.
Brandy Lad was also a gelding with a limited racing resume, by which we mean that he did not win anything better than this race and may have never raced in anything better, but he is our top winner for the moment.
The 1970 winner was Ricochet.
That name struck a note with us, so we were not surprised that his sire was Todman and grandsire Star Kingdom.
We seldom have to look very long at Thoroughbred pedigrees of winning horses to find Star Kingdom.
Ricochet was a gelding with Group 1 wins in the Epsom Handicap and the George Main Stakes, even though it was another eight years before there was an actual Group 1 race in Australia. Those two big races would have been Principal grade in 1970. He also won the Warwick Stakes, which is now the Winx Stakes and is a Group 1 race.
We skipped many years to move to 1983 and 1984, when Manuan won the race two times in a row.
Manuan was a gelding of mostly unrecognizable ancestry, but he was a good racer, with wins in The Galaxy in 1985 and the now Group 2 Ansett Cup in Queensland.
He was followed in 1985 by Vain Fury.
This hinted to us that we would find, as we indeed did, that the sire of Vain Fury was none other than Vain. On the side of his dam, Kid Sister, Vain Fury had lines connecting him to Kaoru Star and Star Kingdom.
It is interesting, in the case of Vain Fury that was an entire, to see that he made 74 jumps for 20 wins and 18 placings, yet could only muster about $145,000 in prizemoney. Records indicate that his best win was the Newcastle Newmarket Handicap.
Even after 74 jumps, Vain Fury still had enough left in the tank to sire three colts and two fillies, but none of the five made significant contributions as racers.
The race was not held in 1987.
The familiar name of Comrade appeared as the winner of the Newcastle Newmarket Handicap in 1990.
Comrade was a Kiwi racer. We had to venture back five generations to find the only familiar names in his lines – Nearco, Natalma and Nearctic.
The best win by Comrade was the 1991 Group 1 Toorak Handicap.
He was a better sire. He was not especially prolific – we have him down for 41 foals and while none of them was notable, what is notable is that about half earned some money racing.
We suspected a connection between 1970 winner Ricochet and the 1991 winner Ricochet Rosie. Both were mares. We did not find a connection between the two.
Ricochet Rosie, like Comrade, won the Group 1 Toorak Handicap.
When she won the Newcastle Newmarket Handicap in 1991, she beat 1990 winner Comrade. When she ran third in the Group 1 Epsom Handicap, it was the legendary Super Impose that took the post.
After racing, she supplied five fillies and one colt, but none seems to have accomplished much on the track.
A Zabeel offspring, Bezeal Bay, won the race in 1998.
This gelding supplied a form line for 25 jumps for 10 wins and six placings and earnings of above $871,000. The Newcastle Newmarket Handicap was his seventh win. The previous wins were lower grade Class races and maiden events. He seemed to be one of those types that were destined to come up a little short in big races, until he left Buster Jones watching from three lengths back in winning the Group 1 Emirates Stakes at Flemington that same year.
We found another Zabeel offspring, another gelding, in the 2003 winner, Zabarra. His lines on his distaff side feature Vain as the grand dam sire. He won the 2003 Bill Ritchie Handicap, but his next jump in the Group 1 Epsom Handicap did not supply a placing – he was 10th.
The winner from 2004 was Platinum Scissors, one of Danehill’s progeny.
His form line of 29 jumps for five wins and seven placings delivered earnings of just under $1 million. His second win was the Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes at Randwick. He ran fifth when he tried the 2005 jump of the Newcastle Newmarket Handicap. His last four jumps supplied a second at Doomben, a Group 2 win in the Hollindale Stakes, and a second place in the Group 1 Doomben Cup and a fourth in the P. J. O’Shea Stakes at Eagle Farm. Those last wins were both weight-for-age races.
Platinum Scissors was a mediocre server of mares, suppling 23 named foals, the best of which was a 2006 gelding out of Helen named Finishing Card that won a bit above $300,000.
We are jumping ahead to 2017, when one of our favourites, Happy Clapper, won the race.
Happy Clapper, as far as we are concerned, is the best to win the Newcastle Newmarket Handicap. He made over $7.3 million from 48 jumps for 12 wins and 18 placings. After winning the Newcastle Newmarket, he was second to It’s Somewhat in the Group 1 Doncaster Handicap. He had Group 1 victories in the 2017 Epsom Handicap and the Canterbury Stakes and he coasted to a win in the 2018 Doncaster Handicap.
What we most admired about Happy Clapper though, was that unlike some gallopers from those years, he did not structure racing campaigns to avoid Winx and he came half a length of beating her in the Group 1 Winx Stakes (Warwick Stakes).
The rest of the list, as of early 2023, consists of Lanciato (2018), Princess Posh (2019) and Special Reward (2020).
The final winner we will examine is 2021’s Gem Song.
Gem Song is now aged seven years. He is a gelding and is trained by Kris Lees. He has made 29 jumps for seven wins and seven placings. He could race again. His results from 2022 were not stellar, but he did win the Group 3 Star Kingdom Stakes in March of 2022.
For a provincial race close to the Queensland border, the Newcastle Newmarket Handicap has supplied better types for winners than we were expecting.
Many of the winners were local horses, but some of the better types seeking a good preparation for the upcoming autumn carnival races in New South Wales and Victoria jumped in the race and the local gallopers seemed more than capable of holding their own.
Newcastle Newmarket Handicap Past Winners
|2011||Keepin The Dream|
|2010||Walking Or Dancing|