Sixties Groove is ready for the Newcastle Gold Cup

Grafton Cup winner Sixties Groove may get his chance to add the Newcastle Gold Cup to his owners’ mantelpiece.

Sixties Groove winning the Lexus Brisbane Cup
Sixties Groove winning the Lexus Brisbane Cup Picture: Racing and Sports

After setting a modern day weight-carrying record to win yesterday's $200,000 Listed Cup (2350m), Sixties Groove ($3.50 favorite) and stablemate Big Duke (who finished eighth at $15), returned to Kris Lees' Newcastle stables overnight.

"Sixties Groove  will have a short break at our farm at Ellalong, and will be set for The Metropolitan ($750,000 Group 1 over 2400m) at Randwick on October 3," Lees said this morning.

"But if things work out and, depending on the weight he gets, the Newcastle Gold Cup (2300m) is certainly an option on the way to The Metropolitan."

The Group 3 Newcastle Cup will be run on September 18.

A brilliant Jason Collett ride, coupled with Sixties Groove's will to win under 61kg, enabled the import to run down the Chris Waller pair The Lord Mayor (56kg) and Carzoff (58kg) at Grafton.

In the process he became the first horse in 86 years to carry such an impost to victory in the Grafton Cup and the third highest-weighted winner.

Mr Kerry carried 62kg in his 1934 triumph, whilst Hosier's 1924 victory under a massive 67.5kg is unlikely to ever be bettered.

Sixties Groove had previously won the 2018 Moe Cup (2050m) before joining Lees, who won last year's Group 2 Brisbane Cup (2400m) at Eagle Farm with the gelding.

He was having only his fifth start yesterday since the Brisbane Cup, and Lees explained the reason why he has been so sparingly raced.

"Damien Oliver dismounted from Sixties Groove after winning on him that day as he said the horse's action didn't feel quite right," Lees said.

"He recovered, but when he failed in the Wyong Cup a couple of months later, the injury flared and we found he had a spur behind a knee which needed to be shaved."

Whilst the Grafton Cup was run under Quality conditions with a maximum topweight of 62kg, the Newcastle Cup, which Lees would dearly love to win on his home track, is a Group 3 event and run as a handicap.

Sixties Groove had a Benchmark 106 rating before yesterday's race, and this obviously now will be reviewed and increased by the RacingNSW handicapping panel.

But given the fact the Newcastle feature carries Group 3 status, it would seem most unlikely Sixties Groove would be asked to carry more than he did yesterday.

. Honored Vow (Andrew Gibbons) is Lees' sole runner at the provincial meeting at Wyong tomorrow, in the 2YO Maiden Handicap (1350m).

"Her first start at Canterbury in midweek company was okay, and she comes back to provincial company," Lees said.

High Power (Andrew Mallyon) is also his sole representative at the metropolitan meeting at the Sunshine Coast tomorrow. He is racing consistently in Queensland and shapes to run well again in the Class 6 Handicap (1600m).

Racing and Sports