Trainer back in the Group 1 spotlight

5 min read
Gold Coast trainer Garry Newham is preparing to step back on to the Group 1 stage and a return to the heady days he enjoyed with the outstanding Starcraft (NZ) (Soviet Star {USA}) more than a dozen years ago.

Newham has enjoyed a long and successful association with owner Paul Makin and they are rolling back the years to the Starcraft era with the aptly-named Winning Ways (Declaration Of War {USA}), who has emerged as a serious G1 Queensland Oaks prospect.

Winning Ways completed a hat-trick of wins on her home track when she was successful in the Listed Gold Coast Bracelet and Newham is confident she can deliver further Group 1 glory for himself and Makin.

“My last Group 1 runner was Starcraft, he was a terrific horse,” he said. “They were great times for all of us.”

“My last Group 1 runner was Starcraft, he was a terrific horse.” – Garry Newham.

Starcraft won the G1 Australian Derby and the G1 Chipping Norton S. before Newham and Makin set their sights on New Zealand and the Triple Crown series at Hawke’s Bay in 2004.

Owner Paul Makin with trainer Garry Newham and jockey Glenn Boss following Starcraft's win in the G1 Chipping Norton S.

No horse has ever completed the Group 1 clean sweep but Starcraft went mightily close, winning the first two legs – the Mudgway Partsworld S. in the hands of Leith Innes and then the Stoney Bridge S. under Glenn Boss.

Boss was also in the saddle as they attempted to make New Zealand racing history in the Kelt Capital S., but came up agonisingly short when second to the Kevin Myers-trained Balmuse (NZ) (Lord Ballina).

Starcraft was subsequently to earn his slice of history when he became the first New Zealand-bred winner of a European Group 1 race.

“I got out of training and drove horse floats.” – Garry Newham.

Transferred to Luca Cumani for the international venture, the Waikato Stud graduate was successful in the Prix du Moulin at Longchamp and the Queen Elizabeth S. at Newmarket before embarking on a stud career.

Starcraft

Newham later moved to New Zealand to further his training career and a spell in partnership with Graeme Rogerson was followed by a stint with Westbury Stud, then owned by businessman Eric Watson.

“I trained over there for about five years and then came back to Australia,” Newham said. “I got out of training and drove horse floats.”

“Out of the blue he rang me up and convinced me to do it all again.” – Garry Newham.

But that all changed in 2016 when Newham received a surprise phone call from Makin and the catalyst for a return to training.

“Out of the blue he rang me up and convinced me to do it all again,” Newham said. “Paul lives here and he’s got a 40 acre property an hour out of the Gold Coast.”

Winning Ways was purchased out of Coolmore’s draft at the Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale in 2017 by agent Dermot Farrington on Makin’s behalf for $110,000. She is a daughter of Skip Along (GB) (Galileo {Ire}), whose dam Peony (GB) (Lion Cavern {USA}) was a Listed winner and runner-up in the G1 French 1000 Guineas.

Winning Ways as a yearling

A 2400 metre winner in England, Skip Away was signed for by Blandford Bloodstock at a Tatts October Sale for 200,000 guineas and she has left three winners, including Dreamtime Dancer (Danehill Dancer {Ire}) who was successful in the Listed Challenge S.

“More importantly, she can stay and I could see a long way out she was going to be hard to beat." – Garry Newham.

Winning Ways broke her maiden over 1800 metres at her fourth start and this preparation has excelled over ground with a 2200 metre success against the older horses at Eagle Farm last month fuelling an Oaks ambition.

Newham freshened Winning Ways for the Gold Coast Bracelet and a rain-affected track further fuelled his confidence in the filly’s chances.

“She can handle a wet track, that was beautiful,” he said. "When it started to rain again I was very happy. I knew we would have a heavy track.

“Winning Ways loves the wet, but she is effective on top of the ground as well. More importantly, she can stay and I could see a long way out she was going to be hard to beat."

“She’ll have her next run in The Roses in a fortnight and then in to the Oaks two weeks later. It’s lovely timing for her.” – Garry Newham.

Winnings Ways has been ridden in her last two starts by Matthew McGillivray and he carried out his pre-race instructions to perfection.

“I asked him to be patient and he rode her a treat,” Newham said. “I could see 400 meters from home that she was travelling so well.

“She’ll have her next run in The Roses in a fortnight and then in to the Oaks two weeks later. It’s lovely timing for her.”

Newham’s last Oaks runner was the Makin-raced We Can’t Say That (NZ) (Generous {Ire}), who was unplaced in the 2004 edition and she subsequently became a broodmare of note.

She was the dam of the G1 Captain Cook S and G1 Levin Classic winner We Can Say It Now (Starcraft {NZ}) and produced the G3 Prix du Prince d’Orange winner Sky Kingdom (Ire) (Montjeu {Ire}).