By Ray Hickson
If you believe the market trainer Mitchell Beer and the owners of Logan River are travelling from Albury to Warwick Farm to just make up the numbers in the $1 million Inglis Sprint (1100m) on Saturday.
But the ever sporting Beer sees it exactly the opposite.
Yes Logan River is coming to Sydney off wins at Queanbeyan and the Sapphire Coast to face the likes of Golden Slipper winner Estijaab but Beer says that’s the beauty of racing.
“Sometimes you get into the mentality that you train in the bush and 'I don’t want to go up there',’’ he said.
“The worst thing that can happen is he gets beaten and that happens all the time in racing so we are used to it.
“You take out the top couple and it is a restricted three-year-old race. We are under no illusion that we are up against it but the rewards outweigh the risk.
“Win, lose or draw the guys have been in a horse for nine weeks, won two races and now they are in a $1 million race.’’
Logan River started life with Tony McEvoy and recorded a close third to Written By on debut, such was his initial promise.
But he lost form, had a wind operation and found his way, to Beer’s surprise, to Albury.
Logan River makes it two from two for Mitchell Beer at Sapphire Coast on February 2
The trainer admits he’d never heard of Logan River a few months ago but is glad he’s now in the backyard and the horse has bought with him a number of new owners to racing.
And they’re enjoying the ride so much why not roll the dice.
“The boys had something on him at Queanbeyan and with the prizemoney and BOBS they were in front after one start,’’ Beer said.
“So far he’s giving them an amazing thrill. It’s great for them to be having a runner in a $1 million race, and I don’t think he is just making up the numbers.
“Restricted three-year-old races can throw up some rough results and we have nothing to lose. I wouldn’t mind running third and picking up 98 grand.
“It’s brilliant, I love it, it’s what dreams are made of whether it comes to fruition or not. They are going to be pretty chuffed to be there.’’
So what do we make of Logan River’s chances and form? TAB says he’s a $51 chance but he’s yet to start longer than $7.50 including a Group 3 around this time last year.
He coasted to a 3-1/4 length win over 1000m under Simon Miller at the Sapphire Coast on Saturday with 61kg and Beer was all set to back him up in a Benchmark 58 race the following day before settling on the $1 million challenge.
“I had every intention of running on the Sunday, I went home on Saturday night and had a good think about it,’’ he said.
“He’d finished his dinner within an hour and we were topping up his feed, he came through it so well. I saw this race and thought why not.
“They are moderate races but he has won them in good fashion and it’s not like he’s just done that. Go back 12 months the horse showed he should be in a race like this.’’
Beer is known in no small part for his social media antics, some of his recent hits including clocking his horses from the storm damaged trainer’s hut at Albury and offering Logan River the chance to upgrade to the spare room of his house if he wins on Saturday.
— mitchellbeer (@beermitchell) February 5, 2019
Then there’s the ‘short cut’ video, opportunistic harbour advertising ideas, his Uber Eats audition and run-ins with the local wildlife.
The trainer has clearly taken to life in Albury having moved his base from Mornington and he has no doubt Logan River is too.
“He’s really thrived since he came here, we changed his training up a lot and he’s got a new lease on life since arriving in Albury,’’ he said.
“People who think that horses don’t know they are winning races should come down and have a look at this horse.
“When he arrived he was a bit bewildered by it all now he’s strutting around the stables with his chest out and thinks life is pretty great.’’
So in Beer’s eyes Logan River is already a winner, and for taking their place in the Inglis Sprint so are the horse’s connections. After all, you’ve got to be in it to win it.