The Hunter 2023

Distance: 1300m | Conditions: Handicap | Rail Position: True | Track Condition: Good 4

The lucrative $1,000,000 feature in Newcastle this weekend, The Hunter, has pulled in another quality field for it’s fifth running. The field has been slightly weakened with numerous runners opting to go to the Rupert Clarke, but we still have a competitive field with some nice betting prospects. Let’s try and find the winner!



Coal Crusher will dictate proceedings from the front and find Military Expert land on his outside, while Dajraan should also settle close. Mazu will spot the lead much closer than he has done throughout the Spring with Gravina alongside him in the running. Rustic Steel and Opal Ridge have it all to do, Far Too Easy should settle back along the fence with King of Sparta further to his outside, hoping for clear air as they head for home. 


1: jockey silks Mazu (6)

Top rated runner in the field and drops in grade to take this on. Has had some excuses throughout the prep but fair to say his form hasn’t been at the level we’ve seen previously. Last start in the Giga Kick Stakes was improved and has been topped up with a nice trial since. This is his chance.

3: jockey silksKing of Sparta (10)

Flew home down the straight at Flemington in the Bobbie Lewis to just miss, before a being cast wide in the Sydney Stakes and never stood a chance. Trial since was sound and if he can replicate his Kingsford Smith run over 1300m back in May, he’ll be right there in the finish here.


6: jockey silksCoal Crusher (2)

Will get it all his way in front from the nice draw. Has been competitive in much stronger races than this, where he’s led and battled on bravely. Stable is flying, blinkers go on and should look a winner for a long way.

7: jockey silks Rustic Steel (18)

Local hero who will have it all to do from the barrier and may find the 1300m a little sharp, but was very impressive closing off in the Sydney Stakes last start. Has been well found in the market and can give a sight if there’s a run on pattern and gets the right steer.

8: jockey silksDark Destroyer (17)

Looks up against it here. Resumes off a pretty ordinary prep and trials weren’t anything to get excited about. Barrier is no help but has a solid record at the trip so could see some improvement. Is a Group 1 winner.

9: jockey silksExcellent Prospect (11)

Back from a two year stint in Hong Kong and made ground in his first start back home but never looked a chance. Gets in better at the weights but form shows nothing to suggest he can step up to this level and make an impact.

11: jockey silksFar Too Easy (1)

NSW country star who was enormous in the Kosciuszko fresh, coming from the back when most were treading water. Might need some luck from the barrier but should he find it he will let down and could take a power of beating.


12: jockey silks Rocketing By (12)

Has the ability but isn’t quite going good enough this time around. Been running in stronger races and tries his best but is generally found wanting. Happy to leave out of my selections.

13: jockey silksSinawann (15)

Went around in the Choisir in Sydney at big odds where he was battered around up the straight. Once he balanced up again his work late was good enough to suggest he’s going okay. Rise in distance will suit, drops 7kg and can improve. Not the worst.

14: jockey silksOpal Ridge (14)

Too far back in the Kosciuszko but was eye-catching late and off that you’d have to say she’s a chance in this. Struggled in The Invitation latest but am happy to forgive considering she was tucked away three pairs back on the rails. She’s one who needs clear air to get the best of her, which she should get here.

15: jockey silks Dajraan (13)

Lightly raced son of Frankel from the Waterhouse/Bott stable. Had to make a judgement based on the fact he’s only had the one race this year in the Star Kingdom where he finished midfield. Trial was nice though and Clark aboard will give him every chance but I’d prefer to watch this time.

16: jockey silksGravina (7)

Hard horse to find but came third in this last year and his best puts him in the picture again. Was disappointing down the straight at Flemington last start which is a concern. Also beaten convincingly by Opal Ridge in the Luskin Star back in May but he does have a tendency to bounce back. Can consider as an each-way prospect.

17: jockey silksMilitary Expert (3)

There’s enough to like about Military Expert and can easily make a case for him. Group 1 placed and comes back a gelding which could sharpen him up. Ran third in The Coast back in May and has trialed well since. Will do no work from the gate, but may be slightly out of his depth.



It’s a tricky betting race but I think the two to follow are King of Sparta and Coal Crusher. King of Sparta has the x-factor while Coal Crusher will have no excuses and should win if right.

1 unit on King of Sparta

1 unit on Coal Crusher

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