Thursday, 28 June 2012
: With three Saturday meetings in July remaining at Broadmeadow until season's close, all three Newcastle premierships along with the Max Lees and Bill Wade Medals remain up for grabs.
A treble at last Saturday's fixture catapulted leading trainer Kris Lees back into the lead as he seeks five premierships in a row.
But he holds only a half-win advantage over rival Darren Smith in an intriguing contest which promises to go “right down to the wire”.
Jockeys' premiership front-runners Grant Buckley, Mitchell Bell, Dale Spriggs and Andrew Gibbons all rode winners at last Saturday's meeting.
Buckley (15 wins) leads from Bell (12.5), last season's winner Spriggs (12) and Gibbons (11).
Emerging apprentice Jenny Duggan rode another Newcastle winner last Saturday and has burst into contention for both the junior riding title and Bill Wade Medal.
It would be some achievement to land either or both considering she did not begin riding at Broadmeadow until Newmarket day (March 21) and has since landed six winners.
Duggan is on the same number of winners as Sydney's Sam Clipperton and last year's apprentices' winner Alex Stokes – only a half-win behind Alison Threadwell.
Duggan's six wins from 30 mounts at Broadmeadow this season give her a strike rate of five (5.0) in the Bill Wade Medal (but she is yet to qualify).
The Wade Medal is awarded to the jockey with the best strike rate for the season, based on a minimum 35 rides.
Current leader Jason Lee (eight wins from 33 rides for a S/R of 4.12) is also yet to qualify, but former Gold Coast jockey Matthew Palmer (who, like Duggan has a S/R of 5.0) has already qualified with the minimum 35 rides and has ridden seven winners.
Similarly, the Max Lees Medal – awarded to the trainer with the best strike rate for the season, also based on a minimum 35 starters) – sees current leader John O'Shea (10 wins from 32 starters for a S/R of 3.20) just short of qualifying at present.
O'Shea is narrowly ahead of local trainer Darren Smith, who has already qualified and has a S/R of 3.29. Smith so far has prepared 17 winners from 56 starters at Broadmeadow this season.
Gai Waterhouse (11 winners from 55 starters for a S/R of 5.0) is next and is also qualified.
The remaining Broadmeadow meetings will be held on July 7, 14 and 28.
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