By Mark Brassel
A change in mindset gives six-year-old galloper Hirokin undeniable claims of capturing a country feature race this Friday.
Trainer Jarrod Austin has been playing mind games with Hirokin and presently the trainer holds the call on his gelding.
Hirokin is certain to be one of the favourites for Friday’s $65,000 Craig Jaques Surveyors Orange Showcase Cup (2100m) following a slashing performance last start. The middle-distance horse rattled home to finish third (1.3 lengths) to Kingtantes and Shadow Affair in the Orange Cup Prelude (1600m).
Left: Hirokin - the gelding looms as the one to beat in Friday's Orange Cup Showcase. Image by - Bradley Photographers
“He ran a big race in the Orange Prelude and was where he was supposed to be but then struck a bit of trouble 700m out before running home strongly,” Austin explained. “He got going again and powered home late.”
Austin said he felt Hirokin was racing “a bit stale” so he changed the way he was ridden: “He used to get back in his races and he switched right off so we started riding him a bit closer and it seemed to do the trick. I think he started to get interested again.
“He seems to have regained his zest for racing and is thriving at the moment. He has trained on well since the run the other day and the 2100m will suit him nicely. He also seems to get around Orange fine so I’m expecting him to be hard to beat.”
Mitchell Bell will partner Hirokin and knows the horse, having ridden him five times for two wins at Hawkesbury and in the Bathurst Cup Prelude, as well as a nose second at Warwick Farm.
Unfortunately one of the fancies in the Orange Cup – Kingtantes – will not be taking his place in the event.
Winner of the Orange Prelude, Kingtantes was rushed to Scone Equine Centre at 3am on Friday with suspected colic. His trainer Garry Lunn was up all night with the horse checking his well-being.
“I worked him Thursday morning and he was fine but when I looked at him at around 9pm he was uncomfortable and just didn’t look right,” Lunn said. “I checked him every two hours but then called the vet. They think it may be colic but I’m just waiting to hear from the vet as to his condition.
“When I last spoke to him [vet] he seemed to think the horse will be OK, so fingers crossed. It’s such a shame as he was absolutely flying and I thought he could win the [Orange] Cup.”
Friday is Racing Orange’s inaugural Showcase meeting with nearly $300,000 in prizemoney on offer.
“We have Group 1 Room hospitality packages and general entry tickets on sale at racingorange.com.au,” said CEO, Gavin Pilossof. “Our Fashions on the Field Autumn has lots of great prizes and this will be our last race meeting for the season so anyone wanting entrance tickets can get them online for half price.
“There are also courtesy buses available to and from the track departing Hotel Canobolas.”