First the Cessnock Cup and now the Tuncurry-Forster Gold Cup – and with different horses!
Yet another example why emerging young trainer Nathan Doyle is enjoying his best start to a season and clearly on track to set a personal benchmark.
Newcastle-based Doyle’s victory with lightly-raced six-year-old Prospero in Monday’s 2100m Cup was his 21stwinner in just over four months of the 2021-22 racing year, and his 111th overall.
He trained 38 winners last season and 32 the previous season after moving from Scone just over two years ago.
Coincidentally, it was both Doyle and former West Australian apprentice Madi Derrick’s first winner at the spacious Tuncurry circuit.
Derrick picked up a fortunate late booking when senior jockey Lee Magorrian was indisposed and unable to compete at the Cup meeting, and gave her mount a gun ride.
Ironically, $8.50 chance Prospero edged out recent Brisbane winner Ambitious Prince ($14), who made the pace for Ashley Morgan; Doyle’s most successful jockey to date, having ridden 26 of his 111 winners.
Morgan sided with Doyle when he won the Cessnock Cup (2100m) for him on Unwavering Faith on Newcastle’s Beaumont (inside) track on October 25.
Doyle, who trains Prospero for a Blueblood Thoroughbreds syndicate, was understandably pleased to see his gelding return to the winning list.
“It was a bit of a D-Day for him; he had to stand up to show us he still wanted to be a racehorse,” Doyle said.
“He ran in a 1600m Midway Handicap at the Saturday metropolitan meeting at Newcastle on November 13 at his second run back.
“He looked fat in the enclosure and I pumped the work into him subsequently with this race in mind.”
Prospero, a son of Group 1 winning parents Pierro and Nova Star, fetched $50,000 at the 2017 Inglis Classic yearling sale.
He began his career with Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott at Randwick and was placed four times (without winning) from six starts before being transferred to Doyle’s Newcastle barn last year.
His current trainer has won four races with him, culminating with the Tuncurry-Forster Cup victory.
Doyle was full of praise for the manner in which the Tuncurry track was presented after a problem arose at a vital stage 50m from the post until just after it at the previous meeting on September 10, when a halt was called after only four races were run.
“There was no kick back today, and it was safe racing,” he said.
“It’s a terrific track and not too far from home.”
Tuncurry-Forster Jockey Club president Garry McQuillan, delighted with the overall success of the Cup meeting and the manner in which the track performed, is now looking ahead confidently to the next two meetings early in the new year.
“It was a brilliant day, made even more so by the way our track came back so well after the problems we had in the straight resulting in our September meeting being called off,” McQuillan said.
“We had a crowd of 1500, which was excellent considering it was a Monday meeting.
“Our bookings for both the Seafood and Men of League race days (both Saturdays) on January 15 and February 26 are terrific.
“We are three-quarters booked for January 15 and the Men of League day is nearly booked out.”