Declan quick to double up

THE Irish eyes of talented jockey Declan McDonogh were smiling on Saturday when he landed a double on his first-ever visit to Newcastle Racecourse.
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The 37-year-old Irishman had four mounts on Saturday and he was first past the post on Puppet Master in the 900-metre Three-Year-Old Maiden Plate and California Turbo in the 1400m Maiden Handicap.

WINNER: Jockey Adam Hyeronimus (centre) rides Magic Choir to victory in race three at Rosehill Gardens. Picture: AAP

His other two mounts were unplaced.

The brilliant Pupper Master, the hot $1.60 favourite, wasn’t far outside the 900m track record when he treated racegoers to a display of sheer speed. With McDonogh sporting the colours of 2017 Golden Slipper winner She Will Reign, Puppet Master quickly put a gap on his rivals, and he straightened up with a big lead and full of running.

Puppet Master won by one-and-three-quarterslengths in 51.34, or 0.17 outside Rebel Miss’s track record.

The colt sped over the last 600m in a breathtaking 32.07.

He is trained for a large syndicate of owners by She Will Reign’s Warwick Farm trainer, Gary Portelli.

Purchased at a “ready to run” sale in Melbourne, the three-year-old has had five starts, for a win and three placings. McDonogh had a smile from ear to ear when greeted by connections on dismounting.

“Wow, he is quick,” he said. “Very fast.

“I wasn’t going to give up the rails but I had no worries there. He left them standing.”

McDonogh’s other winner California Turbo is from the power Snowden stable and he was very impressive.

The three-year-old was on debut after a recent Randwick barrier trial win and he settled at the tail of the field.

The leader, Starvino, kicked away inthe home straight and looked to have the race won. But California Turbo unwound a powerful sprint to gather in Starvino and race away to win by a widening 1.8 lengths.

“The trainer told me to have the horse where he is comfortable in the small field,” O’Donoghsaid.

“They got along up front, so I rode him patient and he attacked the line.”

McDonogh started his riding career at 17 and he has since ridden 960 winners.

“Unfortunately my visa only allows me to stay until the end of January,” he said.

“I love it here in Australia and the tracks are so much better than at home.”

Champion trainer Chris Waller produced a highly promising filly in the 1200mMaiden Plate.

Seahampton, a three-year-old daughter of Golden Slipper winner Sebring, is not only a magnificent looking individual but is also richly talented.

After firming from $4 to $2.80 in her second race start, Seahampton settled near the tail and was held up near the top of the straight.

Jockey Grant Buckley managed to find a gap and Seahampton stormed home to win by two-and-a-half lengths.

The Kris Less-trained Heat Haze was the only Newcastle-trained galloper to win at the meeting.

Meanwhile, AAP reports: Todd Howlett will target another Highway Handicap with Magic Choir after he made a successful metropolitan debut in the concept for country horses at Rosehill.

The four-year-old ($18) notched the third win of his six-race career after finishing strongly to beat Gitan ($7) by half a length on Saturday, with Forever Newyork ($18) a neck away third.

After recording his third Highway Handicap victory, Howlett said Magic Choir could expect to make another road trip from Muswellbrook over summer.

“We picked this out early in his prep and we’ll come back for another Highway,” he said.

“He’s racing well. He’s doing a nice job.”

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