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Newcastle on the pace for Hunter TAB Regional Championships final


The bookies are predicting a close encounter when Newcastle Paceway hosts the Hunter TAB Regional Championships Final on Friday night.

And, in the box seat to claim the honours on 19 May is Nulkaba trainer Clayton Harmey.

His dual hopes, My Ultimate Skeeta (driven by Cameron Hart) and Saint Crusader (Grace Panella), lay equal favourites just 24 hours out from the prestigious decider.

The former boasts two victories from its past five races while the latter saluted the judges in its last start at Newcastle.

Further down the pecking order, but still dangers, sits Adam Ruggari’s Ideal In Dreams ($7), Melanie Elder’s Man From Braavos ($8) and Mark Callaghan’s Grosestar ($9).

“We’re looking forward to a terrific battle,” Newcastle Harness Racing Club (NHRC) chairman Daryl Rodgers said.

“The championships offer a great opportunity for local horses and trainers to compete at a Group level with increased prizemoney also available for the heats and consolation finals.”

Now in its fourth edition, the series introduced during the inaugural COVID lockdown, is a feature on the Harness Racing NSW calendar.

Four regions, including Metropolitan, Hunter, Western and Riverina, all stage $100,000 finals.

From there, the first three placegetters from each district then progress to the State Final on Saturday 27 May at Menangle.

The NHRC has also lined up entertainment off track.

“In keeping with the regional champion theme, 2023 Star Maker winner and Tamworth musician Loren Ryan will perform for racegoers on the night,” Rodgers said.

Racing starts from 6.20pm, with the Final – race five – scheduled for 8.20pm.

The field and barrier draw for the Hunter TAB Regional Championships Final

  • 1 JASPER STYLES (trainer Geoffrey Harding, driver Robert Morris)
  • 2 AVAIDEN (trainer Peter Payne, driver Will Rixon (C)
  • 3 METALLICA MAN (trainer Tom Ison, driver Tom Ison)
  • 4 IDEAL IN DREAMS (trainer Adam Ruggari, driver Jack Callaghan (C)
  • 5 NIFTY STUDLEIGH (trainer Brad Elder, driver Brad Elder)
  • 6 BETTERTHANFEDERER (trainer Roy Roots Jnr, driver Joshua Gallagher (C)
  • 7 MY ULTIMATE SKEETA (trainer Clayton Harmey, driver Cameron Hart)
  • 8 OLEG EM1 (trainer Geoffrey Dorn, driver Peter Hedges)
  • 9 DOWN STREAM EM2 (trainer Peter Payne, driver Jake Hughes (C)
  • 10 GROSESTAR (trainer Mark Callaghan, driver Jack Callaghan (C)
  • 11 DOCTA FEELGOOD (trainer Vic Frost, driver Matt Elkins)
  • 12 PARATROUPER (trainer Jamie Donovan, driver Cameron Hart)
  • 13 SAINT CRUSADER (trainer Clayton Harmey, driver Grace Panella (C)
  • 14 MAN FROM BRAAVOS (trainer Melanie Elder, driver Luke McCarthy)

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