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Hawkesbury preview: Mark Newnham’s Amortal to make it two in a row

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After a late start to racing, a flashy gelding from the Mark Newnham stable can make it back-to-back wins at Hawkesbury.

Darby Bloodstock had to wait three years after they bought Amortal to see him at the races but it was all worth it in the end.

For all that his trainer Mark Newnham does know about the flashy chestnut, he, like his huge band of owners, is now waiting to see what Amortal’s ceiling is.

Amortal’s first public appearance since the 2019 Magic Millions Yearling Sale on the Gold Coast was in a trial at Warwick Farm two days out from the start of 2022.

The Form: Complete NSW Racing thoroughbred form, including video replays and all you need to know about every horse, jockey and trainer. Find a winner here!

He won that trial, then added a second one 11 days later prior to a narrow yet decisive debut win at Wyong on January 23.

“This is the first preparation that we have even been able to get him to a trial,” Newnham explained.

“He has had a fair few issues but he is moving well and he is sound at the moment and he has been all prep.”

Amortal was bred and raised at Redbank North on the edge of the Murrumbidgee River as was his close relation, Single Gaze, who now resides at Northern Farm in Japan alongside Darby’s own beloved Slipper winner, She Will Reign.

She Will Reign was bought in Sydney for $20,000 as a yearling whereas Amortal had many more admirers on the Gold Coast forcing his sale price up to $340,000.

“He is a very powerfully built horse and needed gelding early,” Newnham said.

“His frame probably just came against him early in his career with lots of little issues.

“He has managed to work through those and has got a decent future ahead of him.

“He has always shown a good deal of talent and hopefully the owners will be rewarded for their patience.”

Amortal’s natural talent saw him finish too well on debut at Wyong beating Legend Rules who franked the form with his all-the-way win at Gosford last Thursday.

“Amortal looked the winner a long way out the other day but he looked a bit lost when he did hit the front,” said Newnham.

“This looks a race where he going to get a good run probably just off the speed but I won’t be dragging him out of the race either.”

Darby Bloodstock founder Scott Darby has a share in Newnham’s other Hawkesbury-bound runner, namely Selhurst Park.

The Shaftesbury Avenue look-a-like has placed at three of his four starts but having twice been beaten at $2 or shorter, it’s about time the son of Not A Single Doubt set about making amends with punters.

“This is it; this is the moment of truth for him because he is a gelding now and he’s running out of excuses,” Newnham said.

Selhurst Park arrives at Hawkesbury off the back of two super impressive trial wins in the last few weeks.

“He has shown he can do it from the front or taking a sit. He is a lot more focused as a gelding.

“His form has been fairly solid against okay horses so it’s only been a lack of commitment not a lack of ability that hasn’t seen him win yet.”

QUINTON HOPING A GEAR CHANGE SHARPENS WARRIOR’S FOCUS

Ron Quinton concedes that the one-time Golden Slipper candidate Born A Warrior is wearing thin with his owners, not to mention punters, but is throwing everything he can at the horse to get another win out of him.

By ‘another’, we mean second, which makes Born A Warrior a mere Class 1 horse despite his epic pedigree and early talent.

For starters, Born A Warrior is a son of, and wears the same colours as, I Am Invincible.

His dam, Soorena, has thrown a Newmarket winner in The Quarterback and the Tulloch Stakes and ATC Derby runner-up, Philippi.

Born A Warrior himself looked to be on the fast track to Group 1 success when he started life with Team Hawkes.

The then two-year-old finished third on debut in the 2019 Silver Slipper which he followed up with a distant second in the Pago Pago.

The horse immediately behind him in the Pago Pago was Stronger who won the Group 1 Centenary Sprint Cup at Sha Tin three days prior to Born A Warrior’s fifth of ten at Warwick Farm on Australia Day.

Quinton – not one to give up – is going to try the something old/something new approach at Hawkesbury.

“I have taken the blinkers off and put a nose roll on him,” Quinton advised.

“I used to ride a good horse for Neville Begg called Northern Reward who ran Kingston Town to a neck in the George Main one year. I won a Villiers on him and the nose roll worked wonders for him.

“Northern Reward used to look at everything on the ground. If there was a shadow on the ground, he would jump it, but the nose roll was the key to him.

“Boss Lane wore a nose roll for some time in his career and Dermot Weld in Ireland, he uses them regularly.

“They work with some horse and probably don’t work with others but we’ll see how we go on Thursday.”

Hopefully for Quinton and the horse’s long-suffering owners, what’s ‘on’ Born a Warrior’s head will change what is ‘in’ it.

“As they get older and wiser, they sometimes don’t put their best foot forward,” Quinton said.

“But he seems well and healthy and has got no issues at the moment.”

Originally published as Mark Newnham’s flashy gelding Amortal has been worth the wait for his owners



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