Hawkesbury trainer Nick Mitchell and apprentice Chelsea Ings’ career best seasons gained further impetus at the weekend.
Mitchell notched his 12th winner of the season when he scored with roughie Summer’s Bird at Newcastle on Saturday, whilst Ings ventured to the Cowra TAB fixture to claim a double and lift her season’s tally to 14.
The State’s premiership front-runner Jeff Penza rode his first winner for Mitchell by getting $18 chance Summer’s Bird home in the Class 1 Handicap (900m).
Five-year-old Written Tycoon mare Summer’s Bird beat another outsider Lady Chicago ($21) and $2.40 favorite Baltic Whisper, and her victory didn’t altogether surprise her trainer in spite of her lengthy odds.
“She has heaps of speed, but has her own ideas about racing,” Mitchell said.
“After her previous run at Bathurst (she finished eighth over 1108m on June 23), I felt it was time to put blinkers on her and drop her back in distance. Jeff gave her a great ride.”
Summer’s Bird’s only previous success was more than two years ago. She won a Hawkesbury Maiden Plate (1000m) on May 12, 2015 but wasn’t in Mitchell’s stable then.
Ings forfeited her 3kg country claim when successful on Hawkesbury-trained Kingston at Dubbo on July 8. But she showed at Cowra that the reduction to a 2kg allowance hasn’t halted her momentum.
She scored on Flying By ($6.50) for Bathurst trainer Peter Stanley and $3.60 favorite Coasting for Mudgee trainer Brett Thompson to take her career tally to 22.
It was almost a career first treble. Ings nearly won the 1200m Maiden Plate on her trainer mother Wanda’s $31 chance Vicissitudes, who raced in a tongue tie for the first time and wasn’t far off bringing about an upset.
He ran home solidly near the inside and just failed to overhaul another roughie, Thin Ice ($21).