Hawkesbury trainer Nick Mitchell’s winning momentum continued at Nowra yesterday and he hopes to keep the ball rolling with runners at Muswellbrook tomorrow and Canterbury on Wednesday.
Mitchell, enjoying easily his most successful season to date, made it 11 wins for the racing year when he scored with recent acquisition Sealum. But he missed the victory as he was at the corresponding meeting at Mudgee with Tuivasa, who ran seventh in the 1500m Maiden Handicap.
The victory added to his recent successes with Belridge (Nowra on June 15) and Homily (Muswellbrook on June 18). Partner Kate Collins deputised for Mitchell at Nowra yesterday, and Sealum ($6) delivered in the Benchmark 55 Handicap (1600m).
Sealum was having only his second start for his new trainer, having caught the eye with an excellent debut third for Mitchell behind Hypernicus and Victory Anthem in a similar race over 1400m at the same track on June 15.
A lightly-raced four-year-old by Stratum, Sealum’s only previous success was in a 1600m Maiden Plate at the Gosford picnic meeting last December when he shouldered 67kg and beat three rivals.
Rider Mitchell Bell kept Sealum in touch with the leaders yesterday and, with 11kg less than his picnic win and a 3kg turnaround on $3.40 favorite Victory Anthem, he was able to overhaul him in the closing stages.
Mitchell today described Sealum as a “work in progress”.
“He’s still not there mentally and physically, but he’s so honest,” Mitchell said. “He tries and tries.”
Mitchell changed Sealum’s gear when he raced at Nowra on June 15. He took a norton bit off him, put a lugging bit back on and also added ear muffs.
“The ear muffs have certainly made a difference by helping him to settle better,” Mitchell explained.
“But I asked Mitchell (Bell) to ride him a bit closer yesterday and he attacked the line.
“Sealum has potential and I feel he will eventually run a middle distance.
“But for the time being, as we’re teaching him to settle, we’ll stick to around 1600m.”
Two of Mitchell’s recent winners – Belridge and Homily – will chase further successes in the next couple of days. Homily (Greg Ryan) and stablemate Scheckter (Chris O’Brien) line up at Muswellbrook tomorrow in the 1280m Class 1 Handicap and 1280m Maiden Plate respectively. Both have drawn the rails alley.
And Belridge (Christian Reith) chases a city breakthrough in the Benchmark 70 Handicap (1580m) at Canterbury on Wednesday.
“Belridge has gone to a Benchmark 64 rating following his easy win at Nowra last month,” Mitchell said.
“It’s a quantum leap going from a Class 2 at Nowra to a Benchmark 70 in town, but we’ll give it our best shot.”