It’s been a long six months since crowds have graced the lawns at Mudgee Race Club but fine weather, competitive fields and the lifting of covid restrictions will ensure local trainers Brett Thompson and David Smith have plenty of support from returning punters.
“It was a huge run from Blow Dart, three wide facing a gale but he still had the guts to fight on and run third,” Thompson said.
“We will go back down for a Highway Handicap in a couple of weeks, and he will be hard to beat.
“But I have to worry about this weekend first – we’ve got our own Cox Plate to win out here at Mudgee. I’ve won it a couple of times so I guess you can call me a Cox Plate winning trainer!
“I’m really looking forward to having a big crowd at Mudgee.
“People were allowed back on track for the first time at Narromine the other day (and) it was really good, we had owners there and we were getting winners. It just all adds to the excitement.”
Thompson has accepted with five runners but is most hopeful he can add another Cox Plate BM50 (1600m) to the mantle with blueblood Winter Moon in Race 5.
The son of Redoute’s Choice is a half-brother to Group 1 Blue Diamond winner Miracles of Life and was a strong winner two starts ago at Warren before having excuses last start at Narromine.
“Winter Moon has got a bit of ability – I think the further he goes the better he will get,” Thompson said.
“Last start he just got too far back but he worked home okay, even though the wet track didn’t suit him.
“And the race he won at Warren has turned out to be a pretty handy form race.
“We will have to go back from the gate, but I think having a senior jockey on will help this horse.”
David Smith is also confident it could be a big day out for the locals. He will saddle up three runners, Kiss N Run in the F&M Madien Plate (1100m), The Scotsman in the BM50 Handicap (1400m) and First Pirouette in the Cox Plate BM50 (1600m).
“I think we have great chances throughout the day,” Smith said.
“I thought Kiss N Run’s first-up run was enormous.
“She missed the start and was held up at the top of the straight before getting out to run on strongly.
“If she can reproduce that run, she will be going close to winning.
“The Scotsman seems to be getting better the older he gets.
“Each time he comes back in, he seems to have grown another leg. His first-up run was fantastic, and I think he’s definitely the horse to beat.”
Smith is also tipping a blowout may be on the cards in the day’s feature.
“First Pirouette has really thrived since coming into my stable,” Smith said.
“I think she is going to run a gallant race and I think she will surprise a lot of people on Saturday. I’m quietly confident.”
Mudgee Race Club’s Belinda Holden is encouraging as many people as possible to get themselves back trackside.
“It’s going to be fantastic!” Holden said.
“We’ve already sold a couple of hundred tickets! And a couple of thousand tickets are already sold for the big Mudgee Cup meeting on December 3rd.
“It’s supposed to be great weather so I expect everyone will be celebrating getting out of lockdown and back trackside.”
Gates open at 11am and Race 1 commences at 1.15pm this Saturday October 23rd for Mudgee’s Cox Plate Race Meeting.