New Zealand-bred pacers Newsy and Always An Angel look set to dominate the $50,000 Diamond Classic for three-year-old fillies at Gloucester Park on Friday night, with Newsy favoured to turn the tables on Always An Angel, who finished strongly to beat her in a qualifying heat on Tuesday of last week.
Newsy, prepared by leading trainers Greg and Skye Bond, will be handled by Dylan Egerton-Green, who replaces the filly’s regular reinsman Ryan Warwick, who is serving a brief term of suspension for causing interference in a race last Friday night.
Egerton-Green will be keen to take advantage of Newsy’s good gate speed in a bid to set the pace, while Gary Hall Jnr will be weighing up his options with the Justin Prentice-trained Always An Angel from the awkward draw at barrier No. 6.
In last week’s heat Newsy began speedily from barrier four, but was unable to cross the polemarker Joelene, and was left with the task of racing without cover. She fought on grimly to finish a close second to Always An Angel, who started out wide at barrier eight and was expertly handled by Hall, who manoeuvred her into the favourable one-out, one-back position after 150m.
Hall switched Always An Angel three wide 250m from home and the filly finished fast to burst to the front 90m from the post, with the final quarter taking 27.3sec.
Prentice summed up Always An Angel’s prospects succinctly by saying: “Newsy drawing one hasn’t helped our cause. However, Always An Angel has done well since her win last week.”
Back-line runners Our Star Billing and Bettor Beach Belle performed strongly in qualifying heats and will have admirers. Our Star Billing, trained and driven by Donald Harper, caught the eye when she was ninth and last at the bell before charging home, out four wide, to finish second to Ravenswood trainer Nathan Turvey’s Bettor Beach Belle, who set the pace after starting from the No. 1 barrier.
Emily Suvaljko, who will handle Bettor Beach Belle from barrier two on the back line, said: “She’s definitely a good chance. Her trackwork the other day was good, and given a soft run, she will get to the line really good. She notched Nathan’s 500th training success with her win last week.”
by Ken Casellas