Smart 2-year-old trial no surprise to Mark Newnham

4 min read

By Michael Cox

Mark Newnham admits he had an unfair advantage when he selected a colt by Exceed And Excel at the recent Gold Coast Magic Millions Yearling Sale – he was already training the unexposed 2-year-old full-sister Super Oasis, and the trainer wasn't surprised to see her produce a sparkling first trial at Warwick Farm on Tuesday.

Super Oasis took her first steps towards what her up-and-coming trainer believes will be a black type future when she won her 797m trial with Blake Shinn aboard, a workout that vindicated Newnham's early opinion of the well-related filly.

"I think she is definitely a stakes-class filly." - Mark Newnham

"She went terrific considering it was her first ever trial," Newnham said. "I think she is definitely a stakes-class filly. She settled well and ran home nicely. She hadn't done much work before that trial either, so let's see how she pulls up before deciding where to go with her. I might even kick her off in a maiden."

Super Oasis is out of Puzzle (Shamardal {USA}), a half-sister to dual G1-winning sprinter English (Encosta De Lago), and cost $450,000 for Hong Kong owners through agent Damian Yap at the 2018 Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale.

When it was clear Super Oasis was above average, Newnham scanned the Magic Millions catalogue for a sibling and teamed with Darby Racing and De Burgh Equine to buy Lot 36, a full-brother, for $360,000.

Newnham said he "wasn't necessarily" holding Super Oasis back with a view to keeping a cap on the full-brother's price but he was glad not to have to put the talent on show.

Super Oasis as a yearling

"She probably wasn't ready for a trial before today anyway," Newnham said. "But I did go up there with the intention of buying the full sibling, when we knew what we had our hands on we weren't in any rush. I wasn't necessarily trying to hide her, but I kept her unnamed just in case. We sat down with Darby Racing and put our heads together and decided to get hold of him."

"I did go up there with the intention of buying the full sibling, when we knew what we had our hands on we weren't in any rush." - Mark Newnham

Newnham's first G1 winner Maid Of Heaven (Smart Missile) was due to resume at Tuesday's trials but the trainer advised Racing NSW stewards a day earlier that the G1 Spring Champion Stakes winner and likely G1 Australian Oaks contender would miss the autumn.

The up-and-coming trainer still has some talented Oaks-type fillies on his hands with Greysful Glamour (Stratum), Scarlet Dream (Sebring) and Nakeeta Jane (So You Think {NZ}), who also trialed on Tuesday.

Mark Newnham

Nakeeta Jane was narrowly beaten into third in a blanket finish by Oohood (I Am Invincible) in the G1 Flight Stakes and Newnham said the next few starts would tell him whether or not she was suitable for an Oaks trip.

"She will trial one more time before she goes back to the races," Newnham said after his 3-year-old was the second home, 16-lengths behind the speedy Super Too (Hinchinbrook), in an 800m trial.

"She will just make her way through the fillies' series and then we will know whether we go to the G1 Coolmore Stakes or the G1 Australian Oaks," he said.

Another of Newnham's juveniles to impress was Exceed The Stars (Star Witness), who was second in the second fastest 2-year-old heat of the morning to Gary Portelli's Time To Reign (Time For War).

Time To Reign is rated a $15 chance for the G1 Golden Slipper and a half-brother to Portelli's 2016 Slipper winner She Will Reign (Manhattan Rain) and Newnham was happy with how Exceed The Stars measured up.

Exceed The Stars was unplaced on debut in the G3 Breeders' Plate before a setback meant missing the Magic Millions 2YO Classic, so a start in the G3 Canonbury Stakes is now on the cards.

"I'm happy with him now, not everything went right for him in the Breeders Plate, so we turned him out and brought him back for the Magic Millions, before we had to miss that as well. We are on track now and adjusted our aim for the Canonbury," Newnham said.