I want more hits


The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - - Racing -

Mark Newn­ham’s goals at the end of his two full cal­en­dar years as a trainer have been met — and now he is set­ting him­self an even more am­bi­tious one in the 12 months ahead.

Newn­ham had 25 horses on the books at the end of 2016, a num­ber which has risen to 90 as we close in on the end of 2017.

Now, Newn­ham plans to put those num­bers to best ef­fect — win­ning races.

“If we were hav­ing this con­ver­sa­tion next Christ­mas, I’d like to say I was in the top 10 train­ers in Syd­ney,’’ Newn­ham said this week.

“I think that is achiev­able by hav­ing the am­mu­ni­tion and more horses at the races be­cause it is a young sta­ble with a lot of un­raced or lightly raced horses.’’

Three of them — debu­tant and Magic Mil­lions-Golden Slip­per hope­ful Carn­ina, iron mare Star Sen­sa­tion and one of the sta­ble’s older brigade Lan­ci­ato — will all be in ac­tion at Rose­hill Gar­dens to­mor­row.

All Too Hard’s daugh­ter Carn­ina, who will race for the first time in the Merry Christ­mas ATC Mem­bers Hand­i­cap (1100m), has won both of her bar­rier tri­als in grand style.

A $100,000 year­ling pur­chase on the Gold Coast in Jan­uary, Newn­ham has high hopes that she will make a re­turn visit next Jan­uary and play a role in the $2.5 mil­lion fea­ture and, if all goes to plan, the $3.5 mil­lion Golden Slip­per af­ter that. “She is a re­ally nice filly,’’ he said. “Satur­day is a good start­ing point for her. She has drawn bar­rier 1, which is help­ful, and the tri­als have been good.

“She is a big, strong filly who is a good doer. I ex­pect she will put her­self right in the fir­ing line from the good bar­rier.

“Over 1100m at Rose­hill with the rail out it is es­sen­tial to be down near the in­side. She’s got a few things in her favour but the only thing that is against, is that it is hard to win on de­but over 1100m at Rose­hill for twoyear-olds, so the horses that have raced have nat­u­rally got an ad­van­tage.

“Gongs was im­pres­sive and the form looks good out of the race. Or­cein, the horse of Waller’s, ran well at his first start.

“She will im­prove on what she does on Satur­day but I have had this race in mind be­cause it will give her three weeks into her next run and then a cou­ple of runs into the Magic Mil­lions, so she’ll get two chances to qual­ify and if she doesn’t hap­pen to qual­ify then she prob­a­bly didn’t de­serve her spot.’’

Not only does Newn­ham have a num­ber of Magic Mil­lions con­tenders on the go, he’ll also likely sad­dle up a few in the $500,000 ATC Inglis Nurs­ery (1000m) at Rand­wick on De­cem­ber 16.

That is the same race that Newn­ham’s Di­a­mond Tatha­gata fin­ished run­ner-up be­hind sub­se­quent Slip­per win­ner She Will Reign.

Newn­ham can’t hide his ad­mi­ra­tion for ch­est­nut filly Star Sen­sa­tion, who was a dual ac­cep­tor to­mor­row with the de­ci­sion made to con­test the ATC Owner’s Ben­e­fit Card (1400m) against her own age.

“She is well weighted in that race and there doesn’t seem to be a lot of pres­sure in it. She should be able to put her­self in the first two, whereas the horse to beat, He­lio­sphere, will prob­a­bly have to go back to last,’’ he said.

“She has been fan­tas­tic. She has never run poorly, I think her only run where she was out of the top three was when she ran in one of the Slip­per lead-ups on a wet track and was back on the in­side when they were com­ing down the out­side fence.

“She is just a good, tough, gen­uine filly. Noth­ing fazes her. She has got a great con­sti­tu­tion. Very rarely do you look at her feed bin and there is any feed left.’’

Newn­ham’s third chance at a win­ner to­mor­row is the for­mer Kiwi-bred and raced geld­ing Lan­ci­ato, who re­sumes in the ATC Mem­ber­ship Now Open (1200m) hav­ing gone for a break sub­se­quent to his nose win at Hawkes­bury in a Bench­mark 85 on April 29.

“Lan­ci­ato was my sec­ond run­ner (as a trainer) and he just got beaten one day at Rose­hill,’’ Newn­ham said.

“He is much bet­ter when he gets good ground and he is very ef­fec­tive sec­ond-up and en­joys a bit of space be­tween runs. I would ex­pect him to run re­ally well on Satur­day be­cause he is go­ing well but he’ll be bet­ter sec­ond-up.”

Newn­ham, the first Aus­tralian jockey to ride a win­ner in South Korea (Bu­san in 2005), is one of those who has been on both sides of the thor­ough­bred street and is of­ten asked which trade he found eas­ier, be­ing a trainer or a jockey.

“A jockey’s life is a bit like work­ing part­time,’’ he said with a laugh.

“The trainer is a full-time job, seven days a week, and you’ve got staff to deal with.

Whereas with a jockey, you’ve got no staff and you work when you feel like it.

“The jockey’s life is a lot easer than the trainer but train­ers don’t have he dan­ger in­volved. It’s a great life­style be­ing a jockey but horses are my life so be­ing a trainer is part of my life­style. I like go­ing to work so it’s not hard.’’

Newn­ham has lost races both as a trainer and as a jockey and, while never easy, it’s harder to cope when you’re watch­ing from the grand­stand.

“Los­ing hurts me more now that I am train­ing be­cause some days you have to go home af­ter that race be­cause it might be your only run­ner but when you’re a jockey you might have five or six other chances,” he said.

It’s a great life­style be­ing a jockey but horses are my life so be­ing a trainer is part of my life­style.

“So, like I say, it def­i­nitely hurts more as a trainer be­cause that might have been the only bul­let you had to fire on the day.

“Some­times you just know with a horse that this is its race and it won’t be any bet­ter than it is to­day and if some­thing goes wrong and you’re beaten a short mar­gin, you go home think­ing ‘what if’.

“I’ve been around a long time now and it’s one of those things that half an hour later you move on be­cause you have to. If you stay wor­ry­ing about it you’ll drive your­self nuts so you move on.’’

Newn­ham’s philo­soph­i­cal ap­proach and pos­i­tive de­meanor ex­tends to how he deals with jock­eys af­ter a loss.

The trainer is not one big on “sprays” and ret­ri­bu­tion.

“I can gen­er­ally un­der­stand why some­thing has hap­pened,’’ he says.

“I would rather a jockey come in and say ‘I bug­gered it up’ — and gen­er­ally the guys I put on I know well and have a good rap­port with. They know if they have made good or bad de­ci­sions so we talk about it and move on to the next one be­cause once it’s done it’s done.

“I’ll be feel­ing it be­cause I want the horse to win as much for me and my own­ers and my staff but there’s no point in lin­ger­ing on be­cause you have got other things to at­tend to, you’ve got your next run­ner.

“You can’t spend time dwelling on some­thing that may or may not have hap­pened. I don’t need to hear an ex­cuse, I just need to hear what we can do next time to the change the re­sult.’’

Among Newn­ham’s many achieve­ments in racing was win­ning the in­au­gu­ral Godol­phin Thor­ough­bred Ex­cel­lence Award at the same time as he was won the Ded­i­ca­tion To Racing Award.

Not one for per­sonal re­flec­tion, it is an hon­our that Newn­ham greatly trea­sures.

“I am part of the judg­ing panel for the Awards now,’’ Newn­ham said.

“It’s a great ini­tia­tive by Godol­phin and it de­serves a lit­tle bit more in­dus­try in­volve­ment be­cause you don’t of­ten hear of a lot of the peo­ple that are nom­i­nated for awards and are de­serv­ing of awards.

“I hope it gains a bit of mo­men­tum here over the next cou­ple of years be­cause it cer­tainly has over­seas.”

Trainer Mark Newn­ham with Tatha­gata, and (in­set) Tommy Berry aboard Lan­ci­ato. Pic­tures: Re­nee Nowytarger, Jenny Evans

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