Trainer Dean Mirfin celebrated a 1-2 victory in Saturday’s Banjo Paterson Cup at Towac Park.
With regular Orange winning jockey Greg Ryan on board I am Capitan sprinted home to beat stablemate I Am Magnificent by 1.3 lengths.
The two geldings, both from the stallion I Am Invincible, gave Mirfin every indication his hopes of winning the $150,000 Country Championships race in Mudgee in two weeks are strong.
“It was the perfect final lead up for the Country Championships,” he said.
“They were well placed. They both came from behind. It was a great result.”
Mirfin said the race in Mudgee on Sunday March 3 was longer than the 1300 metre-Buckley’s Carpet Court Banjo Paterson Cup but he was not worried.
“It is an extra 100 metres but both were strong at the line,” the Bathurst-based trainer said.
It was the third win of I Am Capitan’s career and it was over the longest distance having previously won over 1000 and 1100 metres.
The runner-up I Am Magnificent, ridden by Quayde Krogh, has won twice before over 1200 metres.
It will be both horses’ first attempt at the Country Championships.
Mirfin said he would have three horses in contention for the Championships along with the promising mare Worldly Pleasure.
It was the perfect final lead up for the Country Championships.Dean Mirfin, trainer
She has won three races in the past two months, including two at Towac Park.
The Mudgee event is one of seven qualifying races across regional NSW.
The first two horses from each race will qualify for the $500,000 Newhaven Park Country Championships final at Royal Randwick on Saturday April 6.
The Cameron Crockett-trained Ori On Fire was third in the Banjo Paterson Cup, 1.8 lengths behind the second-placed horse.
Fourth place went to Cindy Monaghan’s Next Level which had been tipped as an outside chance in the top-class field.
It was the seven-year-old’s first proper run under her watch after being previously trained by former Orange trainer Gary Portelli at his Warwick Farm stable.
The $32,000 Banjo Paterson Cup was the sixth event on a seven-race card at Towac Park.
Orange trainer Michael Plummer’s Magical Flame was second in the opening race of the day, a maiden handicap over 1000 metres.
It was narrowly beaten by Hilfiger with Modernity home third.
It was the best place of the horse’s 13-start career and comes after it scored its first placing, a third at Parkes over 800 metres on January 31.
The Nick Olive-trained Larmour won the second race, a 1600 metre-maiden while Boston Ivy narrowly beat home The Exchequer in the third event.
The fourth race on the card was comfortably won by Cool One.
It finished four lengths ahead of the field with Adrian Robinson on board the Garry White-trained five-year-old mare.
Billy Bent Ear won the fifth race while the last went to El Mo.
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