Leeton’s next stop on a Newyork journey

By the time he turned six, Forever Newyork had twice run a place in the Southern District Country Championships qualifier and raced in Sydney 11 times (half of his 22 starts at that stage, compared to eight on his home track).

The trips to the state capital included a win at Canterbury, a third behind Kolding at the same track, and a run in the $500,000 Country Championships Final (1400m) in 2017. He’s also raced at Canberra and the Gold Coast.

On Monday, the Gary Colvin-trained eight-year-old will tackle the $24,000 Leeton Soldiers Club Stan Axtill Memorial Open Handicap (1150m). Forever Newyork (36 starts-7:5:4) is second-up after finishing seventh of eight in the $35,000 Ian Reid Sprint (1200m) at Wagga last month.

“He had a good hit-out there. He’s going pretty good. He’ll be very competitive I think,” Colvin said. “We’ve had a lot of issues over time with his hooves, and he’s missed a lot of racing because of that.

“We seem to have it under control now but there’s only one problem: he’s getting a bit old. But he’s sound and healthy now so we’re looking forward to going over there Monday.”

Between June 2017 and April 2020, Forever Newyork raced only 11 times but produced three wins, a second and three thirds. The big horse can take a while to come to hand, Covin says, but he expects he’s fit enough to run out a strong 1150m.

The Manhattan Rain gelding will renew acquaintances with Corowa galloper Magnavale, trained by Geoff Duryea. The pair have met twice already this year including in the Wagga Town Plate Prelude (1200m) in April, with Magnavale a narrow winner from Forever Newyork.

“He’s been a bit of a sparring partner for us, that horse. He goes good. He goes really good, he’s hard to beat,” Colvin said. “It’s a hard enough race, don’t worry. There’s a lot of horses can win it, for sure.

“But no, we think it’s a good race for him. It’s there to be won. He’ll be fit and raring to go.”

Magnavale (22 starts-7:2:5) will be first up. His last run was eighth in a benchmark 84 handicap at Flemington in May after he skipped the Town Plate itself at Wagga. It was Magnavale’s only unplaced result in his last eight starts. The seven-year-old Magnus mare has had 11 starts for Duryea after previously being trained by Patrick Payne.

His first run for the Corowa trainer was a third at Narrandera behind Nevada Dane – another rival in Monday’s nine-horse Stan Axtill Memorial at Leeton. Magnavale is the topweight with 61kg but will get a two-kilogram relief from apprentice Hannah Williams, while Forever Newyork has 57.5kg (and will be ridden by Nick Heywood).

Albury trainer Mitchell Beer has two runners, including last-start winner Mnementh who claimed a class three 1200m handicap at Wagga a month ago and will again be piloted by Jordan Mallyon.

Canberra trainer Nick Olive’s Proud Mia is chasing a fifth career win at start number 14 but has also accepted in Tuesday’s $34,000 TAB Federal at Queanbeyan (1000m) while Jerilderie’s Phil Sweeney has Griffith Cup runner-up Bezazzled as well as Beaujeeen in.

Meanwhile, Leeton trainer Peter Clancy is happy to be at home with Eastern Breeze in the John Gavel 33 Years Of Service To The LJC Benchmark 58 Handicap (1050m).

“She’s got a little bit of ability, she’s got a little bit of speed which probably suits her around that track. It’s home, which is always a help,” Clancy said. “There’s a couple of nice horses in and the top weight has got a lot of wins beside it.”

That’s the Menindee galloper Rebecca’s Quest which has enjoyed seven wins in 28 starts. Six of them are for trainer Wayne Marsden, including five victories in a 10-week purple patch earlier this year – at Leeton, Broken Hill, Bourke, Nyngan and Cobar.

The six-year-old mare – which started out at Gerald Ryan’s stable in Sydney – will kick off a new campaign back at Leeton. Clancy is wary of the visiting mare but his own Eastern Breeze has had three wins in 15 starts, including two over 1000m up the road at Narrandera this campaign, in a class 1 and a benchmark 50 handicap.

“She’s won a race at Leeton the only time she’s run there. She knows the place so you’re always a little bit better placed at home,” Clancy said.

Clancy’s former apprentice Josh Richards steered Eastern Breeze to her maiden victory at Leeton almost exactly a year ago. The trainer said he’s proud, and not at all surprised, by Richards’s brilliant efforts in the saddle this year after moving to Melbourne.

Meanwhile, Heywood has the ride on Eastern Breeze (he was aboard for her last win at Narrandera) as well as Clancy’s other runner, Jeddyla, in the DGS Carpentry Maiden Plate (1150m). The rangy three-year-old gelding has had two trials – for a first and a third under Heywood – and is still getting used to racing.

“He’s had two barriers trials. He’s gone alright without doing anything startling. He’s having his first start at Leeton,” Clancy said. “He’s a big horse. He’ll be better when he gets a bit older and over more ground I think. In both his trials his best work was probably getting to the line.”

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