By Julieanne Horsman at Mudgee Racecourse
At 7:30 this morning Cosmologist wasn’t even in the field for the Central Districts heats of the Country Championships. He was third emergency with little chance of a run. But by 7:37 RISA officials were on the phone to Cosmologist’s Bathurst-based trainer Dean Mirfin offering him a start after four scratchings. Mirfin had a tough decision to make because he’d also accepted Cosmologist for another race at Mudgee today.
“I thought I could go close to winning race three but then I thought to myself you only get one chance at a Country Championships, I could run him in a benchmark race anywhere in a fortnight,” Mirfin said.
Cosmologist was sent out a $61 chance. It had rained on and off during the day but started bucketing down in the minutes before the County Championships qualifier.
“I thought great because I knew he was fit, he’s out of a Galileo mare and he can handle the wet track,” Mirfin said. “Every time I work him in the wet he just ploughs through it.”
Jockey Eleanor Webster-Hawes was due to ride Cosmologist in race three and as luck would have it, she didn’t have a ride in the Country Championships so she jumped straight on.
“I told her to go straight to the front, keep your colours clean and make them chase you,” Miirfin said. “When they emerged from the fog in front it was just incredible.”
Cosmologist led all the way and managed to win by two-and-half lengths from Gayna Williams’ gelding Noel’s Gift (Grant Buckley.) Both horse and jockey were glad when the finishing post came up.
“The conditions were hard to ride in,” Webster-Hawes said. “It was difficult to see, difficult to hear. I was hoping Cosmologist would stick it out because he was knackered at the furlong and so was I.”
This is the first time both Dean Mirfin and Eleanor Webster-Hawes have qualified a horse for the Country Championships.
“Dean has done a fantastic job and have the plan work out like this is just wonderful,” Webster-Hawes said.
Cosmologist us unlikely to have another run before the $500,000 Country Championships Final at Royal Randwick on Saturday, 7th April but nothing is set in stone.
“He does like a bit space between his runs generally,” MIrfin said. “I had some options to give him other runs this preparation to make sure he got into this race but I took the punt with just a light prep so I will take him home and see how he pulls up.”
Mirfin has had Cosmoloigist in his care for eight months after being transferred from Brooke Somers’ Hawkesbury stables. He now boasts a record of three wins from five starts for Mirfin.
“He’s a lovely horse and I have a big opinion of him,” Mirfin said. “He’s the best horse in the stable and today he justified it.”