CHANCE: Newcastle Mile hopeful Better Than Max with Medowie trainer Darren Reay (third from left) after winning the $12,000 Tamworth City Cup in January. Picture: PeterMac PhotographyMedowie trainer Darren Reay reckons Newcastle Mile finalist Betther Than Max is just one of those horses.
And the numbers back him up.
In 77 career starts the six-year-old bay gelding has placed 51 times, including 18 wins, for an overall top-three strike rate of 66 per cent.
“He’s always been a nice horse,” Reay said.
“Always thereabouts andalways consistent, so you go there and you know you’re going to run one to four. That’s the horse he is.”
Reay is now hopeful that Better Than Max can reproduce those performances and finish top of the podium in Saturday night’s $31,800 group 3 Ross Gigg Newcastle Mile.
It comes 24 years after Medowie Prince, owned and bred by Reay, won the time-honoured 1600 metre event at Newcastle International Paceway.
But at the time hisstable star was on lease to Maitland’s Keith McDeed whileChris Gleeson was the trainer-driver, so Reay still craves the silverware.
“Everyone around Newcastle wants to win it,” Reay said.
“Even to have a horse good enough to be in it is prestigious enough.”
The two-time Maitland Inter City Pace finalisthas drawnbarrier one with defending champion Bettor Bet Black slightlywider.
“It’s the perfect draw for him,” Reay said. “Bettor Bet Black is a very quick horse and out of three will just come across and go bang, straight in front before anyone knows.”
“If we can sit on the speed,hopefully we can get a run at the top of straight and then see what he can do.”
Reay, who recently joinedthe Newcastle Harness Racing Club board, said he was pleased to be contesting a race named after former chief executive officer Ross Gigg.
Elsewhere, Hunter trainer Sam Dimarco has Black Silhouette starting from barrier one in the group 1 Australian Pacing Gold final for two-year-old fillies at Melton on Saturday night.
NEWCASTLE MILE: 1 Better Than Max 2 Shannonsablast 3 Bettor Bet Black 4 Allblack Stride 5 Ultimate Art 6 My Chachingchaching 7 Change Of Mind 8 My Field Amrshal