Canowindra trainer Peter Kirby will be the first person to admit that he doesn’t boast the biggest stable of stars.
Still, the in-form trainer has tasted recent success with his country gallopers, with the likes of Bella Days and Broo Boss getting home for victories at Wagga.
Kirby isn’t one to blow his own trumpet, but he was pleased to see his team firing on all six cylinders.
“The horses are going good but I’m not,” Kirby laughed.
“They try their best and that’s all we can ask for.”
Kirby will travel to Warren on Friday for the club’s Twilight Christmas meeting, and he will saddle up Mr Menzies in the 1000m Maiden Handicap and Bella Days in the 1200m Class One Handicap.
Mr Menzies is an interesting commodity, with the lightly raced six-year-old still a maiden after six starts.
The Shrapnel gelding previously raced with Trevor Sutherland and placed at Gundagai and Wagga way back in 2018, but following just four starts, he spent the next three years off the track.
Since his very long spell, Mr Menzies has raced twice for Kirby, finishing seventh at Warren and ninth at Wagga, and his trainer said it was all in his gelding’s head as to whether he was still a racehorse or not.
“Look, I reckon Mr Menzies, he has got the ability, but I don’t know if at six years old if he wants to be a racehorse,” Kirby said.
“This is only his third start after three years off. In his first trial, he led, and it was only his condition that told and if he repeats that, he is a chance.”
Kath Bell-Pitomac takes the ride for connections, and from gate six, Kirby hopes to see the pair pushing forward in the early stages of the five-furlong trip.
“I think he is one of those front running horses, so we will try that and see what happens,” Kirby said.
“It all depends on if Kath can get him out and lead with him and that’s what we will try and do tomorrow.”
Bella Days is another interesting chance at Warren, with the six-year-old only recently breaking her maiden at start number 25.
The Unencumbered mare has ability according to Kirby, and since they have taught her to settle in her races, she has been very competitive.
“She has tonnes of ability, and she could easily win tomorrow without a shadow of a doubt, but she could as easily get beat seven lengths exactly the same,” Kirby laughed.
“She is a funny mare. Kacie (Adams) will take her forward, and she has learned to sit, and we now know we can put her u on the pace and see what happens and that’s what we will try and do tomorrow.”
Bella Days will come up against stablemate Nanga, that races for Kirby’s partner, Debbie Prest.
“She still has to beat Deb’s horse,” Kirby laughed.
“We will try and get her (Nanga) out over 2000m this time in. She doesn’t like to be held up, and if they run along tomorrow, she will be running home strongly.”
When asked what had his team firing of late, Kirby made it no secret that his horses were happy and sound, and he attributed their work behind the car as the main reason.
“They get led off the car all the time. I will put a saddle on them with no rider and other than that, they don’t get any galloping work except in races,” Kirby said.
“The get pace work off the car and I don’t believe in galloping and that’s why we can race them year in, year out without long spells.”
Kirby explained that working his horses off the car also gave him the chance to pick up on the slightest of injuries.
“I can see them working every day, I get to see their head and their feet, and just from that, I can tell if they are sound,” Kirby said.
“You can see it in their gate and their action, and it makes a big difference.”
Despite heading to Warren with two good chances, Kirby stressed that the end result of either race wasn’t his main concern, and that he was only ever happy when he was able to bring his gallopers back home from a big day at the races.
“As long as they come home, it’s a win for us,” Kirby said.
“We want them to go around safe and sound and come home.
“We love our horse and they come first. We will never be millionaires out of them, but we love them and that’s why we do it.”
It shapes to be a massive day for the Warren Jockey Club, with their twilight races set to attract a big crowd of racing fans, punters and fashionistas.