When it comes to gear changes, Nick Mitchell doesn’t mind making them on Belridge. The Hawkesbury trainer twice has changed the four-year-old’s gear – and both times impressive wins have been forthcoming.
Belridge ($7) notched the third win of his career at Nowra on Thursday, relishing the wet ground to romp away with the Class 2 Handicap (1600m). Patiently ridden by apprentice Jean Van Overmeire, Belridge came from last to post a five and a half lengths’ victory over $101 shot Zarina’s Gold. The $1.85 favorite Itsa Fait Acompli finished third.
Mitchell put a tongue tie on Belridge yesterday for his Nowra assignment: “He has been playing around a bit with his tongue, so we put the tie on,” Mitchell said. “Belridge appreciates the soft ground, and I don’t think he struck an overly strong field either. But it was a nice win nonetheless.”
A four-year-old by Street Sense (who also sired recent Group 1 Doomben Cup winner and accomplished wet tracker Sense Of Occasion), Belridge notched six placings before breaking through on Newcastle’s Beaumont track last July over 1350m.
“He jumped a shadow from the big infield screen on the Beaumont track at his previous start, and one of Chris Waller’s horses (Republican) caught him on the post,” Mitchell explained. “I put a shadow roll on him after that and he won his next start there by more than four lengths.”
Mitchell said Belridge had always shown ability, but has been a slow maturer: “We had a crack at the Provincial Championships earlier in the year, but it didn’t work out,” he said. “Belridge is more mentally in tune now, and has learned to settle in his races. He might even manage a middle-distance, especially if he strikes wet ground.”
Mitchell is off to Rosehill Gardens tomorrow, where he saddles both Dream Lane (Christian Reith) and Radical Impact (Josh Parr) in the Benchmark 78 Handicap (1350m).