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Niewand ready for Doomben step up

By Glenn Davis

Sunshine Coast trainer Stu Kendrick is hopeful Sydney cast-off Niewand can stretch his winning sequence to four when the gelding makes his city debut at Doomben on Saturday.

The four-year-old is one of five Kendrick acceptors at Doomben but he has ruled out Jagged Edge clashing with stablemate Niewand in the 1050-metre Benchmark 72 Handicap.

Niewand is named after former Olympic cyclist Gary Niewand, and was originally trained by Ciaron Maher and David Eustace in Sydney before having one start for Bjorn Baker at Warwick Farm.

The son of Shooting To Win left Baker’s stables after finishing seventh in a 1200-metre Benchmark race at Gosford in mid-July.

Since arriving with Kendrick, Niewand has had four starts winning his past three in succession at the Gold Coast.

“He’s flying but he’s got to step up in this race,” Kendrick said.

“Sugar Boom will be hard to beat but thankfully we’ve drawn inside him.

“If you take out Sugar Boom it doesn’t look an overly strong race.”

The Tony Gollan-trained Sugar Boom has won four of her 11 starts but has not raced since fading to finish fifth behind Godolphin’s Aquitaine in the Listed Mick Dittman Plate over 1000 metres at Eagle Farm in June.

Kendrick expects Niewand will again take up a forward role but warned the gelding doesn’t have to lead as he has done in his past three wins.

“He doesn’t have to lead but he’s got such good gate speed and around Doomben we’ll be using his speed over the 1000 metres,” he said.

Kendrick will have three other starters with Poupee in the Three-Year-Old Quality (1350m), Fastnet Cyclone in the Benchmark 80 Handicap (2200m) and Plenty in the Class Six Handicap (1200m).

He believes last-start Sunshine Coast winner Poupee will be competitive as will Fastnet Cyclone but is undecided if Plenty will start or be reserved for the Sunshine Coast on Sunday.

“Poupee has always had a lot of ability but she’s been her own worst enemy,” he said.

“She’s only tiny but she’ll run the distance while Fastnet Cyclone is racing well and is on a quick back-up after finishing third at Doomben last week.

“He beat a smart field at the Gold Coast two runs back so I’m expecting him to go well again.”