Noel Mayfield-Smith kept the faith – and was rewarded when Muse broke through at his 12th start at Kembla Grange on Thursday.
Carrying the same colours as a number of the experienced Hawkesbury trainer’s Group 1 winners – including recent retiree Famous Seamus - $21 chance Muse (Jeff Penza) snatched a last-stride victory in the Maiden Handicap (1400m). The Husson four-year-old finished resolutely to grab Impatience ($6.50), who had shot clear in the straight and looked to have a winning break.
A $20,000 Inglis Classic yearling sale purchase, Muse had not been placed in his previous 11 starts, but had run a number of good races.
“I never lost faith in him,” Mayfield-Smith said. “Glyn Schofield rode him as a two-year-old at only his second start (at the Hawkesbury stand-alone meeting two years ago), and told me the horse had ability. But Muse has been immature and has had some behavioural problems.”
Such as when he was due to begin this latest campaign on his home track on April 5 in a 1500m Maiden Plate. Muse wouldn’t proceed to the barriers that day, dislodged his apprentice rider Qin Yong and galloped a considerable distance around the track, eventually crashing through the outside rail.
He sustained abrasions to his hind legs, and stewards ruled he would have to barrier trial before being allowed to go back to the races. Mayfield-Smith trialled the gelding at Canterbury on April 24, and then took him to Newcastle to finally begin a new campaign on May 5.
With Penza aboard, he ran fourth to King Tomlola in a 1400m Maiden Handicap after tailing the field into the straight.
“Muse ran really well that day,” Mayfield-Smith said. “The winner scored easily, but there was little between the second, third and fourth horses.”
When previously in work, Muse ran fourth over 2100m on Newcastle’s Beaumont track last June before being rested, and his trainer believes he will manage a middle distance.
“But at this stage I’m in no hurry to get him back over a bit of ground,” Mayfield-Smith said.