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Mark Newnham has first Slipper runner

In his first full season as a trainer, Mark Newnham is poised to have a runner in the $3.5 million Golden Slipper, with Diamond Tathagata booking a berth following his win in the Skyline Stakes at Randwick.

A former jockey and long-time foreman for Gai Waterhouse, Newnham is building a team at Warwick Farm and used the knowledge gained with his former employer to good effect with the two-year-old colt.

“In my five years as assistant with Gai, we won three of them (Slippers),” Newnham said.

“I haven’t changed much. I’ve stuck to the tried-and-true formula with them.

“It is great in my first year of training to have a Golden Slipper runner and a Group winner.”

Diamond Tathagata firmed $101 to $26 for March’s Golden Slipper following his win in Saturday’s 1200m Group Two race for colts and geldings, handling the conditions well to get past the leader Coruscate and win by a long head.

Jockey Glyn Schofield said he was not sure how well the winner was coping on the ground but he got the job done.

“I wasn’t sure he was handling the track,” he said.

“One thing he did do was he just didn’t give in.

“He was trying to catch that leader of Godolphin’s and he wouldn’t let it out of his sights.”

Diamond Tathagata ran second on debut in the Inglis Nursery.

That race was won by Golden Slipper favourite She Will Reign, which won the Silver Slipper at her next start.

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