Moorak trainer Jason Newman struck an early blow for the locals at Tara Raceway last Sunday when Departure Gate led all the way to defeat Devel Sixteen by 1½ lengths in the first heat of the Carlin & Gazzard MG Mount Gambier Cup (512 metres).
The 29.61 seconds win for Newman, who is currently sitting in third spot in the Ian Badger Leading Trainer award, saw Departure Gate through to the final of Sunday’s $26,000-to-the-winner Group 3 event.
Raced by Adelaide owner Sharyn McSorley, the son of Fernando Bale x Tarks Nemesis joined Newman’s kennels last November after previous trainer Damien Bates of Trott Park temporarily relocated to WA with his wife for study purposes.
Since then Departure Gate has won nine races.
This includes recent wins over Midnight Blast and Whole Way, both of whom have also won their way through to the cup final for David Peckham of Allendale East – currently sitting in second spot on the leading trainers’ list – and Tracie Price of Compton.
The all-the-way win of Midnight Blast over Keep It Black in 29.54s in the following heat could not have worked out better for long-time kennel clients, the Nineofus Syndicate which is managed by Ross Schurgott of Happy Valley.
The syndicate’s already-planned trip to Mount Gambier for the cup final took on considerably more significance after the son of Collision x Midnight Starlet well and truly staked his claim when running 29.54 seconds, the second fastest of the heats.
Price, Mount Gambier’s leading trainer, caused an upset in heat four when $61 chance Whole Way, a clear last early, stormed home along the rails in the straight to edge out kennel mate and favourite Giant’s Flash for a half-length win in 29.72 seconds.
However, it’s a fair bet Price would have already been planning a run with the Michael Ceravolo and Daniella Madalinski owned son of Spring Gun x Springvale Hope in either Sunday’s Tankman 600 or the Rocks Tavern Distance (732 m).
But from a training point of view, the day really belonged to Peckham.
Not only did he win a heat of the cup, he also has six runners in the final of the Winning Post Formula 400 (400 m).
Dundee Reactor won the first heat with kennelmates Aston Percival and Aston Bullet also into the final when finishing third and fourth.
Aston Dijon and Out Of Gas ran the quinella in the second heat while Aston Marlon qualified when finishing fourth.
And wrapping up his big day was a win with Earn The Blur in the final event, the Commercial Hotel Stake (400 metres).