It's second time around for Bathurst trainer Dean Mirfin, who is understandably keen to break back into the provincial spotlight at Hawkesbury on Thursday. Mirfin will make the two-hour float trip in the morning with I Am Capitan to saddle his recent acquisition in the Iron Jack Benchmark 62 Handicap (1100m).
He has taken advantage of talented apprentice Jean Van Overmeire’s 2kg claim to lessen the five-year-old’s 61.5kg topweight in the field of seven. Current statistics show that Mirfin is yet to taste success at the provincials – but such is not the case.
“When I was first based at Kembla Grange quite a while ago, I trained two winners there and one in town,” Mirfin revealed this morning. “I had only about six horses in work, and gave training away for about 20 years because I didn’t feel there was any money in it.”
But the “bug” bit him again about six years ago, and he returned to training at Bathurst and has since prepared 41 winners. Mirfin trains a number of horses for I Am Capitan’s owner Ross Williams, who races his team under the “Superhorse” banner.
“I have always had a horse for Ross since I returned to training, and now have five in work for him,” he said.
I Am Capitan has raced only eight times for two wins (the latest was a breakthrough success at Wyong in October last year for his former Hawkesbury trainer Brooke Somers) and four placings. He has started twice since entering Mirfin’s barn, and was runner-up and narrowly beaten on both occasions.
“I Am Capitan was just pipped in a close finish first-up for me at Hawkesbury (on September 2) and then again was just edged out at the Dubbo Showcase meeting (on September 17),” he said. “He was very wide on the home turn in that race and probably should have won. His condition has improved further, and I feel he is well placed in this race tomorrow.”
Since returning to training, Mirfin has had six placegetters (three of them at Hawkesbury) on provincial tracks.
Hawkesbury trainer Garry White has split up his dual acceptors Cool One and Fifth Affair in the hope of clinching a home track double. White accepted with the pair in the Yellowglen Provincial & Country Maiden Handicap (1300m) and also the Campari Maiden Plate over the same course.
He has decided to rely on Cool One (Corey Brown) in the former race, leaving Fifth Affair (Tim Clark) to contest the latter. Cool One, a four-year-old daughter of Dane Shadow, has raced only three times (for a minor placing at home on July 16) and was freshened before finishing fourth in a 760m Hawkesbury trial on September 18.
Fifth Affair, a three-year-old Casino Prince filly, has started eight times for three placings. She will appreciate returning to provincial company after two recent fourths at Canterbury, over 1100m on August 30 and 1250m on September 13.
Fellow Hawkesbury trainer Karen Outtrim also accepted with Lugard Road in both the Provincial & Country Maiden and Maiden Plate. Outtrim has opted to take on White’s Cool One, and has booked Christian Reith for Lugard Road.
A four-year-old daughter of Pendragon, Lugard Road is certainly deserving of a breakthrough. She has been runner-up at four of her 11 starts, and they have come from her last five outings.
Brenton Avdulla, in hot form at Hawkesbury last Thursday with a treble, will again be popular with punters tomorrow. He has mounts in six of the seven races. Avdulla rides State Of Play (2000m Easy Roller Maiden Plate) for Gerald Ryan, Groundbreak (1300m Campari Maiden Plate) for Team Hawkes, Not Surprising (1100m Maker’s Mark Benchmark 65 Handicap) and Mr Tindall (1100m Iron Jack Benchmark 62 Handicap) for Kris Lees, Backless (1300m Jacobs Creek Prosecco Spritz Class 2 Handicap) for John O’Shea and All From Scrap (1300m McWilliam’s Hanwood Class 2 Handicap) for David Atkins.
Hawkesbury this morning was rated a “Good 4”, with a penetrometer reading of 4.84. A total of 23mm of irrigation has been put on the track in the last week, and 3mm in the last 24 hours. The rail is 3m out from the 1000m to 800m, 5 metres from the 800m to the winning post and in the TRUE position for the remainder.
SELECTIONS RACE 1: RATIONALE, Eight Over, State Of Play. RACE 2: COOL ONE, City Of Love, Lugard Road. RACE 3: GROUNDBREAK, Fifth Affair, Smooth Whiskey. RACE 4: MOLLYFIED, Phoebe’s Lass, Not Surprising. RACE 5: LEAP OF LEGEND, I Am Capitan, Mr Tindall. RACE 6: SEAGLASS, Torvill, Shield Wall. RACE 7: CHAVISH, All From Scrap, Kravchenko. SPECIALS: MOLLYFIED, SEAGLASS, CHAVISH