Kim Waugh has established a wonderful affinity with the Newcastle circuit and she hopes to continue it with Trumbull in the $1 million The Hunter.
The trainer has been in outstanding form at the provincial track, saddling up six winners and five placegetters from her past 13 starters at Newcastle.
It is little surprise that Waugh is a fan of the course, which is regarded by many as one of the best surfaces in NSW.
“It’s a great surface and it copes with rain well. It is a great track to race on,” Waugh said.
Waugh will have two runners at Saturday’s stand-alone feature meeting headed by Trumbull, who is equal favourite for The Hunter (1300m) and Great News in the Bass Floor Handicap (1400m).
Trumbull has won seven of his 20 starts but that record could arguably read better.
At the beginning of his last campaign he developed a penchant for being sluggish out of the gates, a trait that cruelled his winning chances several times.
But there was no sign of those antics when he resumed with a classy win in the Sydney Stakes, outsprinting his rivals despite tracking wide for most of the race.
“It was a funny-run race and he was caught a bit wide but Tommy (Berry) just kept him nice and balanced and let him track into the straight. He knows how he lets down so well,” Waugh said.
Berry has developed a good partnership with the horse having ridden Trumbull at his past three starts for two wins.
With that in mind, Waugh is happy to leave tactics up to the jockey, particularly from an awkward draw in gate 13.
The Sydney Stakes and The Hunter were the two races Waugh targeted with Trumbull this campaign and having plundered the first, she is hoping the five-year-old can tick off the second on Saturday.
His performance will determine whether he pushes on to races like the Festival and Villiers Stakes, or pulls up stumps with a view to the autumn.