Ross Gigg Newcastle Mile: Shannonsablast trainer Darren Elder hopes for third time lucky

Louth Park trainer Darren Elder believes Shannonsablast is better placed third time around to change his luck in the Ross Gigg Newcastle Mile on Saturday night.

ON TRACK: Darren and Brad Elder with Shannonsablast.

Shannonsablast gained the coveted gate one for the group 3 feature on Monday and was an $8.50 shot with TAB Fixed Odds.

The gelding started from gate two last year but a flat tyre ruined his hopes and he finished last. In 2016, he had gate one but was unable to capitalise at the start and finishedsecond last.

Elder was confident of a better showing this year.

“He’s a lot better off themobile than what he used tobe, and [driver] Brad [Elder] will have him up there near the lead,” Elder said.“We’re happy with him. I think we’ve timed our run a bit better than previous years.”

Kevin Pizzuto’s Majordan (gate seven) was the $1.80 favourite. Ellalong trainer Michael Formosa’s Ultimate Art (eight) was $31. Morisset trainer Mark Callaghan’s Sir Major Stride (five) ($71) was the other Hunter hope.

“Majordan has been going really good,” Elder said.

“He gets off the gate quick and has been running good times, and Mick Formosa’s horse is a good horse. He’s been running really well without winning.

“Those are the two horses to beat on class.”

Shannonsablast has missed a place in his past three starts, all at Menangle.However, before that, the eight-year-old was a winner at Newcastle thenMenangle, where he clockeda career-best 1.51.1.

”He had a bit of a break and then first run back, the way they drove him, it’s taken him a while to come back from it,” Elder said of his start on April 14.

“It just knocked him around a bit.

“But he’s getting back there, and he worked really well this morning. We’re confident he’ll be up there in the hunt.”

Darren McCall’s fast-starter Bettor Bet Black won the past two Newcastle Mile’s but he is not returning this year. Elder, Formosaand Callaghan are chasinga breakthrough win for Hunter trainers in Newcastle’s feature event. The only joy for the Hunter in modern times as been Maitland trainer-owner Keith McDeed’s win with Medowie Prince in 1993.

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