Noel Mayfield-Smith couldn’t recall the last time he clinched a double – and hopes it is the start of better fortune ahead for his stable.
The five-times Group 1 winning trainer is the first to admit things have been lean for quite a while, but bounced back by winning with Chamfer ($2.20 favourite) and On Angels Wings ($8.50) on his home track at Hawkesbury on Thursday.
“I’ve been through the ringer and tipped out the other side,” Mayfield-Smith said. “But we’ve got 15 horses in work including some young horses, so there is always hope. I can’t remember the last time we won two races on the same day. Probably it’s been a long time since we have taken two horses to the races with chances.”
Mayfield-Smith retired Famous Seamus (the latest of his Group 1 winners) 15 months ago, and hasn’t had a horse in his stable since who has yet stepped up as a replacement.
Chamfer [pictured left before a Kembla race] (Blake Spriggs) overcame a mishap in the enclosure to break through in the Jacobs Creek Prosecco Provincial & Country Maiden Handicap (1300m), and On Angels Wings (Jeff Penza) turned around his last-start Newcastle failure to win the Untold Rum Class 2 Handicap (1800m).
Mayfield-Smith took great delight in winning those races for close stable connections: “John Cannon and Michael Stergoulis, who are both dentists, race Chamfer in partnership with my wife Emma,” he said.
“John and Michael have supported us since the 1990s and were in the ownership of Landsighting, who won two Group 1 races (2000 Stradbroke Handicap at Eagle Farm and 2001 George Ryder Stakes at Rosehill Gardens) for us.
“I bought Chamfer (by Foxwedge) on spec early last year at the Inglis Classic yearling sale in Sydney and then got him ready for the Inglis Ready To Race sale in Melbourne last October. He didn’t reach his reserve, so we kept him and John and Michael helped out by buying into the horse. He is still learning and I will give him probably one or two more runs before a break.”
Chamfer slipped behind in the enclosure, and was cleared to race after being examined by the club’s vet at the barrier. The three-year-old overcame the pre-race incident to comfortably defeat Theresa Bateup pair Eskimo Commander ($7.50) and Elysia ($101) at his sixth start.
Mayfield-Smith couldn’t offer a reasonable explanation for On Angels Wings’ turnaround, but was happy to see him notch an overdue success for Orange owner Don Oakley.
“This victory couldn’t have worked out better,” he said. “I bought a horse last night for Don at an online auction.
“I don’t know what happened with On Angels Wings at Newcastle (he ran down the course behind Righteousness in an 1850m Class 1/Maiden Plate on September 15), but it was a funny run race and there was a very strong wind, especially in the back straight.
“On Angels Wings has worked really well since that race and I changed my training routine this week, galloping him on Monday morning instead of Tuesday. The speed was on today and that suited him. And he runs his best races at home.”
On Angels Wings, a Pendragon five-year-old, had won only once previously – at Hawkesbury in November last year, and both his placings have also been there.
Mayfield-Smith’s double gave him three winners in the first two months of the season, having scored earlier with Sun and Heir at Wyong on August 3, and took Hawkesbury’s tally for the month to 17.