Cessnock Cup and Jungle Juice tips, trials and tribulations

Cessnock was previously home to the Cessnock Cup and Jungle Juice Cup. Photo: Stephen Bisset.

As was the case last year, the Cessnock and Jungle Juice Cups meeting will be hosted by the Newcastle Jockey Club on their beautiful track on Monday.

Cessnock Cup

The Cessnock Cup is up first at 5:05pm over the 2100m journey and it should be an interesting contest under the handicap conditions.

Race favourite Arabolini drops back from metro midweek races. He has chased home Savvy Valentino at his previous two starts, finishing 6.8 lengths back in the ATC St Leger Stakes on the weekend. 

The John Cooper trained galloper will be tough to run down when leading from the rail draw.

Birdonawinningpost comes out of one of those Savvy Valentino races where she finished 5th (beaten 5.8 lengths) over 2400m, which I think is a touch too far for her.

William Freedman brings her back down to the 2100m, where she won well by 1.5 lengths three-starts back at Tamworth.

I like Robert Quinn’s Marakopa, which had a good first-up run at Hawkesbury when 3rd (beaten 1.7 lengths) after being forced to work early to settle outside the leader. 

I’m interested to see what the tactics are from an awkward draw, and he will be my on top selection if the rain comes.

Unwavering Faith was a length winner two starts back over the 1600m before Nathan Doyle took her beyond the mile for the first-time last start. 

It was a solid effort chasing without threatening when settling for 5th (beaten 3.9 lengths), but she faced Birdonawinningpost there, who had a couple lengths on her.

Aleacia Bennett’s Rockamo had been racing between 1100m and 1300m before stepping out to the mile two starts back finishing 5th (beaten 4.6 lengths).

He jumped up again to the 2300m last start where he was 1.1 length 2nd coming from the tail of the field. 

The form out of his races doesn’t read strong, however I think he could surprise.

2020 Cessnock Cup Winner: Unamerican ridden by Keagan Latham and trained by Richard & Michael Freedman.

Jungle Juice Cup

The Jungle Juice Cup is the last of the day at 5:40pm and attracts a handy field over the 1350m.

I’m in the Standing Bear camp, which comes off a fantastic win on a heavy 8 in the Krambach Sprint at Taree when storming over the top to score narrowly (0.1 lengths). 

The start before he ran a distant 2nd (beaten 2.9 lengths) to Pandora Blue, who’s one of the main chances in the Midway at Randwick on Saturday.

Charmmebaby started favourite in the Krambach Sprint last start but could only muster a 5th placing, beaten 2.5 lengths. 

You could make an argument she finishes closer after being caught in a pocket briefly, but she just didn’t hit the line. 

She has the class to bounce back here, particularly with Grant Buckley (3:1-0-1) back in the saddle.

Kris Lees will be hoping Think Free can rebound after a poor run last start when finishing last (beaten 8.7L).

She was in good form, shown by only finishing 4.4 lengths off them in the G3 Tibbie Stakes two-starts back and coming back to the country level has her in the picture.

Lees’ also saddles up top weight Darleb, which arrives here out of a strong form race; the 2nd horse won a BM78 HCP on Saturday, and the 3rd horse finished 6.3 lengths back in the G3 Angst. 

If Scott Singleton elects to bring Partners here, he looks a strong each-way chance as he looks one of the likely leaders from barrier 8.

The other on-speed runner that looms a massive chance is Aleacia Bennett’s Cecilia. 

She produced the best last 600m first-up last start over 1200m, flying to arrive in the last 50m to win by 0.3 lengths. 

She holds an unblemished second up record (3:3-0-0) and is proven on any ground.

2020 Jungle Juice Cup Winner: General Soho ridden by Aaron Bullock and trained by Paul Perry.

Cessnock racing at Newcastle tips

Race 1 – Volileo, Foolish

Race 2 – Dungassen, Wenoa Karioi

Race 3 – Marvelous, Argyll Gardens

Race 4 – Angiolini, Vicky’s One

Race 5 – Five Crowns, Our Cousin Al

Race 6 – Victorella, Impact Star

Race 7 – Marakopa, Arabolini

Race 8 – Standing Bear, Cecilia