By Ray Hickson
He’s Mighty Lucky in the racebook but recently hasn’t always lucky on the track.
The eight-year-old will again fly under the radar as a $21 chance with TAB Fixed Odds in Saturday’s Group 2 $250,000 Villiers Stakes (1600m) but that’s par for the course for the evergreen galloper.
And jockey Chris O’Brien said he’ll go into the summer feature with genuine excuses from his last two starts.
Mighty Lucky resembled a pinball in the home straight when fourth in the Hawkesbury Ladies Day Cup (1400m) last month then scrambled when the rain came in his close fourth in the Festival Stakes (1500m).
“He's raced pretty well all prep but without a lot of luck,’’ O’Brien said.
“He was interfered quite badly down the running at Hawkesbury, it probably doesn't show as much on the head on as it did on the back shot.
Mighty Lucky runs a close fourth in the Festival Stakes - December 2
“He was skittled five or six times that day and still picked himself up to run fourth.
“In the Festival he just didn't handle the track. He never travelled at any stage but when I asked him to go he tried to quicken.’’
Considering those comments, you’d think Mighty Lucky is well over the odds but it’s par for the course for the gelding who has only started in single figures once in the last 12 months.
He’s had one previous attempt at the Villiers and, also as a $21 chance, finished two lengths behind Happy Clapper in fifth place in 2015.
Either side of that performance he beat It’s Somewhat in the 2015 Festival and took out the Summer Cup over 2000m on Boxing Day that year.
O’Brien said that’s the likely path trainer Fred Cowell will take with Mighty Lucky.
He’s had 16 rides on the gelding now and rides a lot of his trackwork and he said after his work earlier this week he’s heading to Royal Randwick as confident as he can be.
“I can't fault him at home, all his work has been great,’’ O’Brien said.
“He galloped Tuesday over 1000m and went brilliant for him. He's not a super track worker but just a good old tradesman.
“He’s ticked all the boxes leading up to it and gets in with a good weight (55kg) for a change. Hopefully he can crack it, it's the right race to do it.’’