Mitch Beer sets former New Zealand duo for Moruya feature race double

Jordan Mallyon and the Mitch Beer-trained Swagger will team up again in Monday’s Moruya Town Plate. Photo: Bradley Photos.

Albury trainer Mitch Beer will make his first trip to Moruya on Monday with two former New Zealander’s flying the stable’s flag in Moruya Jockey Club’s feature races.

Opalescence – winner of the Group 3 Bonecrusher at Ellerslie back in 2020 – will take on the $75,000 Moruya Cup and accomplished sprinter and Country Championships hopeful, Swagger, will contest the $50,000 Moruya Town Plate.

Beer, who explained that half of his border-based stable were from New Zealand, was confident both runners would put their best hooves forward and he hoped to see Opalescence rediscover her best form in the feature. 

“Her New Zealand form would have her odds-on in a race like this, but she came over midway through her prep and put in two shockers and I tipped her out,” Beer said. 

Following disappointing runs at Wagga and Flemington, the four-year-old was spelled for 22 weeks, and returned to racing earlier last month, finishing fifth and fourth over the 1200m trip at Wagga.

On both occasions, the Showcasing mare found the line strongly and Beer believed Opalescence, which will be under the guidance of Kayla Nisbet at Moruya, was building towards a victory. 

“I brought her back slowly and I thought her two runs over unsuitable distances were good,” Beer said. 

“Third up at 1400m, she should go well on Monday.”

In the Town Plate, Swagger will be ridden by Jordan Mallyon and the Albury galloper is returning from a 31-week spell. 

The six-year-old is lightly raced, boasting 16 starts for four wins and four placings, but the Postponed gelding has done a lot right since coming to Australia, starting seven times for three wins and two seconds, including a strong TAB Highway Handicap victory at his last start at Royal Randwick over 1400m on May 29.

“He did a lot of good things in his last prep,” Beer explained.

“We brought him out of New Zealand, and he had eight or nine starts and won a maiden before he came over and we only paid $17,000 for him.

“He then won three in his first prep and went from (Benchmark) 58 grade to winning a Highway and we put him away for the Country Championships.”

Swagger won first up for the stable at Wagga last preparation, bolting in for an easy win in a 1200m Benchmark 58 Handicap, and Beer believed he could repeat the dose at Moruya, but he explained that he would be testing his gelding out as he was more than likely heading towards the Southern Districts heat of the Country Championship Series on February 19.

“He certainly can win. We wanted to run him in good grade, and if we are going to win one more race and carry 1kg more in the Country Champs, we wanted to run him in a good race and not just win a (Benchmark 58) or something,” Beer said.

Horses can only win five races to be eligible for the Country Championships, and Beer was well and truly basing Swagger’s preparation around his next victory.

“He will go to Moruya, but he won’t be going around again if he wins, but if he doesn’t win, he will go down to Moonee Valley next start,” Beer said

“With a five-win maximum, we need to be careful, so we will see how he goes at Moruya.”

Beer believed Opalescence was his best chance of winning a feature race at Moruya, although the popular country trainer explained both races were very even on paper.

“I think she (Opalescence) is a better chance than Swagger in that field and I guess that’s the great thing about these two races,” Beer said.

“Not much separates the horses in both races and there are no standouts in either race and if you ran both of them three and four times, you would probably get three of four different results.”

Beer sent his team down to Moruya today, and he praised the club for hosting his horses before their big eight-race Showcase meeting. 

“They left early this morning as we didn’t want to have them in the heat,” Beer said. 

“I’ve never had runners at Moruya before and I’ve been in contact with the CEO of the club about finding boxes and they were terrific, and I am sure we will be back there year after year.”

“These are the races we want to win. I get a bigger joy and more excited about taking horses over for these Country Cups and Town Plates instead of taking a horse to Warwick Farm during the week or to town for a Highway. It’s what racing is about.”

Moruya is set to host a big day of racing and fashions, and readers can click here for full fields, or they can click here for more information on attending the race day.