Tony Newing scores savvy Armidale Cup win

Connections of the Tony Newing-trained Savvy Lad had every reason to smile after winning Sunday’s Armidale Cup.
Image – Ellen Dunger ACM.

The 2023 Armidale Cup was not for the faint-hearted, with a compelling early-speed battle setting things up for a thrilling finish in the $60,000 feature event on the program.

Emerging with an inch-perfect run was the Tony Newing-trained Savvy Lad (Matthew McGuren, $9), which had it all to do after missing the kick and carrying 61kg to victory. 

As expected, the Lea Selby-trained Nature Boy (Cassey Williams, $26) led the field, and he was trailed by 2021 Armidale Cup winner and 2022 runner-up Beckford (Ashley Morgan, $4.80), while Savvy Lad went up with the gates, subsequently racing in the back half of the field. 

The speed amplified as the race wore on, and a few leg-weary gallopers entered the Armidale home straight. 

With the run of the race, the Brett Dodson-trained Full Press (Adin Thompson) loomed up ominously and looked the winner, only for Beckford, who was now leading, to kick back on the inside.

Leading into the final half-furlong, Savvy Lad, who was given a good ride by McGuren considering the circumstances, sprouted wings and came home over the top of Full Press to win by a head, while a bit over a length back in third was a game, Beckford. 
Newing praised McGuren on what was a quick-thinking and good ride, which essentially proved to be the difference between winning and losing. 

“He just went up in the gates as they opened, but it worked out perfectly,” Newing said.

“It was a great ride; he adjusted, which he does. Matt is such a great rider, and it is a really good result; I’m really pleased with that.”

The seven-year-old has been a consistent earner for connections, with Sunday’s win taking his record to seven wins and six minor placings from 33 starts.

“He’s been great,” Newing said. 

“Ever since he’s come to me, we’ve liked him, and he’s progressed nicely; obviously, he has won a nice race today and is good fun for his owners.”

Sunday was a blessing for Armidale, with the club finally hosting a cup meeting in good weather, with COVID and rain wreaking havoc in recent seasons. 

A good crowd was on course, and they celebrated a local win in the $35,000 Armidale Newmarket, with the Stirling Osland-trained Golden Point (Mikayla Weir, $3.60) finishing strongly to edge past the Jim Jarvis-trained Hauraki (Ray Spokes, $5) to win by a head. 

In the $50,000 1100m Super Maiden Plate, Sue Grills unleashed a potentially very good horse for the future, with Somerton Sniper (Matthew McGillivray, $6) upsetting the hot-pot Master Miyagi (Ashley Morgan, $1.30) when winning by a length-and-a-half.

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