Central Districts Country Championship heat winning trainer Dean Mirfin’s learning to roll with the punches in racing.
Six days after the euphoric scenes at Mudgee when $51-chance Cosmologist emerged from the mist to claim the $150,000 championship heat Mirfin’s luck bottomed out on Saturday at Royal Randwick.
With Winx’s run in the Chipping Norton Stakes later in the meeting, Mirfin’s Keymaster ($5) entered the race one TAB Highway Plate as one of the early favourites for the $60,000 bounty but was scratched at the barriers, Terry Robinson’s Fui San going on to win by two lengths paying $8.50.
“There’s plenty of highs and lows in racing,” Mirfin said.
“It’s been a terrific week though. The horse has pulled up well after the heat. I’ve had so much support, through text messages, calls and well wishes. It’s been great.”
The championship continued at Wagga on Sunday, Mirfin viewing that 1400 metre qualifier at the Murrumbidgee Turf Club as a racing fan, more so than a trainer with a rival horse in the $500,000 final.
“I’ll watch it because of the great interest in the concept,” he said.
“It’ll all unfold in the next couple of weeks, but even if Cosmologist didn’t qualify I’d still be watching.
“It’s country racing and everyone knows everyone, so it’s good to watch these races.”
Cosmologist will likely have another race in the lead-up to the April 7 country championship final at Royal Randwick, with a start at that track or a run provincially on Mirfin’s radar.
But before country racing’s grand final, Mirfin is sending four runners to Towac Park for Monday’s Mother’s Day meeting in Orange.
Winterconi (race four) and Go Go Gio (race six) are what Mirfin is calling “well placed” as both look for form at Orange on Monday.
Mirfin will reunite with qualifier-winning jockey Eleanor Webster-Hawes on Go Go Gio.
But it’s in race three that Mirfin’s best hope lies, with Prince Planet and Repentant set to jump as two of the top weights in the XXXX Gold Benchmark 64 Handicap (1280m).
Repentant is a last-start winner on her home track at Tyers Park and should handle the step up a class after that comfortable length victory at Bathurst on February 19.
“They’re all shaping up well. All look well placed. Bjorn Baker has a couple of nice runners heading over which will be tough to beat,” he added.
Racing at Towac Park starts at 2.05pm with the Epiroc Benchmark 60 Handicap (1600m) on Monday.