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Country Trainer's Pot Of Gold Likely To Continue In TAB Highway

By Tony Megahey

Bathurst’s Dean Mirfin reckons he was hit by racing’s proverbial rainbow when his $51 third emergency Cosmologist won the Mudgee qualifier of the Country Championships in a deluge at Mudgee last Sunday, and he’s getting the drift it could strike him again at Royal Randwick on Saturday.

“Absolutely I was, and it’s well worth a crack in town with something going just enormous,” enthused Mirfin, referring to rejuvenated six-year-old discard Keymaster, an outsider into a TAB $60,000 Class 3 (1600m) Highway Plate at headquarters, amidst the Winx phenomena.

Keymaster (Sam Clenton) after a Kembla Grange win. Image by Bradley Photographers

“We got him from Kembla stables only in October; 12 months off usually means serious issues, but if they were, I couldn’t find any - his form’s outstanding. I honestly I don’t have an answer for you,” Mirfin shrugged.

“What I do know is that he’s won twice unextended, he’s worked this week like a winner again, and he’s well placed under the Highway conditions.”

Keymaster has been dominant winning a Bathurst double, the latest by a widening six lengths at 1400m, after running second to promising Mudgee Championships placegetter Ori on Fire.

Early career after winning a Kembla maiden, Keymaster ran a frustrating four placings there and failed in midweeks at Warwick Farm and Canterbury: “Those races were certainly a lot stronger than a Class 3 for country horses.”

On Saturday, Keymaster carries 59kg for Glyn Schofield and will be wider in the markets behind the prolific Highway-winning stables of Danny Williams, who trained a phenomenal trifecta in the Goulburn Championships leg on Saturday, and the multiple series-winning Matthew Dunn.

“Our only concern is out to 1600m for the first time in a harder race, but he did win by a space at 1400m with a sit. We’ll be on pace again and we know he’ll handle a rain-affected track.

“He’s a highly strung horse though and not easy to ride, so we decided against a claim and went with a senior jockey. Glyn has ridden for us previously when we’ve been placed in Highways. And like I say, he’s worked enormous since his last win.”

Meanwhile, Mirfin is still coming to terms with the amazing circumstances of the Mudgee Championships leg win by his bolter Cosmologist who was a late call-up as third emergency.

“I got a phone call right on the deadline of 7:30am when I’d given up. I thought we were a good thing in another race but we had to grab an opportunity in the Championships leg.

“The rain was fairly heavy and I couldn’t see the start then I saw our colours in the lead with little Eleanor (Webster-Hawes) going for her life and holding them out.

“And those photos in the enclosure and downpour after the race! I looked like a mix between a drowned rat and an idiot but I sure didn’t feel a thing - an amazing day.”

And Dean might not have reached the end of the racing rainbow just yet.

View the nomination with full form & race replays for Royal Randwick here

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