Nowl Mayfield-Smith kicked off an Orange treble for Hawkesbury trainers on Monday – and who could 'Deny' him this victory!
A lightly-raced four-year-old by that name broke through in the Maiden Plate (1600m) at $16, and was followed in later races by Jamie Thomsen’s Shadow Flight ($11) and Brad Widdup’s I Am Special ($3.10). Talking about special, that’s exactly what Deny’s win truly was.
Considering what the gelding has been through to get to the racetrack let alone win a race reflects great credit on Mayfield-Smith and his wife Emma and staff. Mayfield-Smith bought Deny (Lot 31) for $16,000 almost sight unseen at the 2015 Inglis Classic Autumn Book sale.
“I’ve always had a bit of time for his sire Authorised (Deny’s dam is a Choisir mare Choisique) and took a liking to him when I was standing there watching him parade,” Noel Mayfield-Smith [pictured left] said.
“He was well balanced and I felt he was a good buy. My initial thoughts were that we could get him prepared for a Ready To Run sale.”
Fate intervened, though. Emma Mayfield-Smith was exercising Deny when a two-year-old late one morning when he was the only horse on the track at Hawkesbury.
“Another horse appeared out of nowhere on the track. It was a ghostly sight and Deny reacted badly,” Noel Mayfield-Smith related. “He dumped Emma, took off and crashed through one aluminium rail and then another. The rail pierced him through the chest between his front legs.
“When we got him home, he had a cavity in his chest that you could have put your first through and it required substantial stitching.”
Worse was to follow. Deny recovered from that and then chipped a bone in his knee, requiring further surgery. As a result, he did not race as a two and three-year-old and did not begin his career until just after the start of the current season last August.
Deny (Grant Buckley) on Monday was having only his fifth start and, though he had not been placed in his previous four runs, his breakthrough success did not surprise his trainer.
“He’s been quite a handful, but he’s starting to put it together and can only improve as he gets over more ground,” Mayfield-Smith said. “He’s not an easy horse to ride, and there’s been a hell of a lot of effort put into him. Emma and our staff and even the stable pony have done a terrific job getting him to the races.”
Ridden patiently, Deny finished well to upset $1.60 favourite Mad Pirate, finally making it to the winning post not quite three years to the date he was purchased on May 8, 2015.
In another excellent day for Hawkesbury, Jamie Thomsen clinched two wins on end with improving four-year-old Shadow Flight, who landed the Class 1 Handicap (1400m). The Duporth four-year-old beat Mistress Mace ($4.80) and Espresso Martini ($21), following on from his Nowra 1400m Maiden Plate success on February 18. Blake Spriggs has partnered Shadow Flight in both wins.
Brad Widdup and brother-in-law Christian Reith teamed to notch a first-up victory with lightly-raced I Am Invincible four-year-old I Am Special in the Class 2 Handicap (1000m). She beat Dollar Thief ($8), with other Hawkesbury representatives And So It Goes ($5.50) and $3 favourite Charlie Chap finishing third and fourth respectively.
Garry White’s And So It Goes was attempting an Orange hat-trick, having scored there on January 30 and February 17. I Am Special was having only her fourth start, and hadn’t raced since finishing fifth to Kandy in a Benchmark 60 Handicap (1200m) for the 'girls' at Newcastle last October.
Meanwhile, it’s Hawkesbury’s turn on Saturday to host the second $150,000 qualifier for the Polytrack Provincial Championships, and 21 entries have been received.
Newcastle’s Kris Lees, who won the opening qualifier at Wyong last Saturday with Just Dreaming – now $4.60 favourite for the $500,000 Final (1400m) at Royal Randwick on April 14 – has nominated four horses. He has indicated his intention to run all four – Reach For Heaven, Bastia, Clevanicc and Japanese import Hallelujah Boy.