Gracie Belle wins Newhaven Park Country Championship Final

Gracie Belle wins Newhaven Park Country Championship Final

Horses
The Matt Dunn, Murwillumbah trained, Gracie Belle and Kerrin McEvoy up, win the Newhaven Park Country Championship Final at Randwick on Saturday. Photo by bradleyphotos.com.au

The Matt Dunn, Murwillumbah trained, Gracie Belle and Kerrin McEvoy up, win the Newhaven Park Country Championship Final at Randwick on Saturday. Photo by bradleyphotos.com.au

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Group 1 double for Widden stallions at Randwick feature race event.

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While obligations kept leading Northern Rivers condition Matthew Dunn at home at Murwillumbah, wife Keira cheered trackside and collected the trophy when stable mare Gracie Belle took the $400,000 Newhaven Park Country Championship Final at Randwick on Saturday.

Gracie Belle beat the Tash Burleigh, Goulburn, trained Al Mah Haha (by Al Maher) by a nose, who was scratched at the barriers in last year's Country Final.

Close up for third was Epaulette gelding Plonka, the Warren Gavenlock trained galloper.

"It's a huge thing to be here, to be racing, and especially to get a win," Keira Dunn said.

Gracie Belle is by 21-year-old grey Umatilla stallion Top Echelon, a Queensland based stallion also sire of brilliant sprinters River Lad and Our Boy Malachi.

It was a great day for Widden Stud, connections cheering home flying chestnut Nature Strip, easy winner of the T J Smith Stakes-G1, and Nettoya in the iconic Doncaster Handicap-G1.

Gracie Belle and Kerrin McEvoy return to scale after winning the Country Championship Final. Photo by bradleyphotos.com.au

Gracie Belle and Kerrin McEvoy return to scale after winning the Country Championship Final. Photo by bradleyphotos.com.au

Now prepared by Chris Waller, Nature Strip is one of 17 stakes winners sired by Widden's handsome brown stallion Nicconi, a grandson of breed-shaping stallion Danzig.

The first Group 1 winner prepared by Warwick Farm trainer Wendy Roche, Nettoya is a six-year-old daughter of outstanding Golden Slipper winning sire Sebring (by More Than Ready), who died prematurely at Widden early last year.

Arrowfield stud also had a memorable program its iconic now deceased stallion Redoute's Choice responsible for the quinella in the Inglis Sires' Produce Stakes-G1 with his colt sons King's Legacy and Prague, respectively.

Both were expensive public auction yearlings, fetching $1.4m and $1.6m respectively, at the Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale last year.

Another expensive Arrowfield drafted colt was Doubtland (Inglis Easter $1.1m), winner of the Kindergarten Stakes-G3 for juveniles, and became the 71st stakes winner for his retired Redoute's Choice sire son Not A Single Doubt.

New Inglis dates

While round two of the Australian Easter Yearling Sale is slotted for Riverside Stables, Warwick Farm, on Sunday, July 5, Inglis has underlined its hope that that month will be returned to some normality with the national COVID-19 restrictions lifted.

July is a busy month for Inglis with its other revamped live-auctions to include its Australian Weanling Sale at Riverside on Wednesday, July 8; while their Scone Yearling Sale is Sunday, July 26 at White Park.

At Oaklands Junction in Victoria, Inglis has listed its Melbourne Gold Yearling Sale for Sunday, July 12 and Monday, July 13, followed by its Great Southern Sale on Tuesday, July 14 and Wednesday, July 15.

Inglis' Chairman's Sale and Australian Broodmare Sale are now both to be held online via Inglis' digital platform on Friday, May 8, and Sunday, May 10, respectively.

Kings Legacy, with Hugh Bowman riding, edges out Prague (obscured) in the Inglis Sires Produce Stakes. Photo by bradleyphotos.com.au

Kings Legacy, with Hugh Bowman riding, edges out Prague (obscured) in the Inglis Sires Produce Stakes. Photo by bradleyphotos.com.au

Racing adapts

Like numerous events around the state, the annual renowned May Scone Horse Festival has joined the list of coronavirus casualties.

While Friday's Scone Cup may still run (May 15), it will be only open to key staff, with its marquee functions cancelled.

Last week Racing NSW announced that Scone's Saturday stand-alone race meeting has been transferred to Rosehill, as well as Hawkesbury's (April 25), now also to Rosehill.

Gosford's Saturday stand-alone meet on May 9 is now scheduled for Randwick.

Current lockdowns of clubs, hotels and TAB agencies have forced RNSW to reduce some race prizemoney as a percentage of wagering is ploughed into prizemoney distribution.

While RNSW is hoping this will only be in effect until June 30, it will not apply to non-TAB meets and picnic races.

From Sunday, April 12, prizemoney for races $100,000 and above will be reduced by 20 per cent (subject to some selected feature races on Saturday metropolitan race meetings).

Prizemoney for races between $25,000 and $100,000 will be reduced by 10pc, and minimum prizemoney for country TAB race meetings will be reduced from $22,000 to $20,000.

  • This week's Australian Inglis Easter Yearling Sale Round 1 results will be published in next week's column.
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