The countdown to the Sydney Spring Racing...
Lawrie Mayfield-Smith is preparing to saddle up a trio of his stable runners in the 2011 Townsville Cup tomorrow, the Eagle Farm horseman to be represented by Danagaze, Shooting Scene and Intertheblack in the rich provincial feature.
“It’s nice to have three solid chances,” Mayfield-Smith said.
Of his the three quality gallopers, Mayfield-Smith believes form-wise his Intergaze five-year-old Danagaze is the best bet to take out the $100,000 Townsville Cup (2100m) on Saturday but the others have true grit when it comes to the staying features.
“Danagaze has probably got the wood on the others form-wise at the moment, but he’s not as tough,” Mayfield-Smith said.
A winner of six of their 16 races to date including, Danagaze has enjoyed an eye-catching prep including their second to Gold In Dubai in the Listed Ipswich Cup (2150m) last month and then their last-start victory over 1800 metres at Eagle Farm on July 9.
In the Townsville Cup Danagaze is drawn in barrier 13 of the 16-starter plus three emergency final field and will be ridden by Andrew Sprinks who has been aboard for their last two runs.
Intertheblack is a full-brother to Danagaze had has also drawn a double-digit Townsville Cup gate with 11.
One of the 53kg lightweights of the field, six-year-old Intertheblack has only been tested in a black-type once before when they ran dead last in the 2010 Tattersall’s Mile behind Fifteen Carat.
More recently they finished a well-beaten second to Writer in the Tatt’s Gold Cup (1600m) at Rockhampton last month, while their final prep for Saturday was in the Mackay Cup (1800m) a fortnight ago.
In the Mackay Cup Intertheblack finished five and a half lengths away sixth to the Darryl Hansen-trained winner Hussonator, who is likely to start the Townsville Cup favourite tomorrow having won their past six consecutive starts.
“Intertheblack was unlucky in the Mackay Cup,” Mayfield-Smith said.
“He was deep all the way and still ran a nice race, as did Shooting Scene.”
Reenact seven-year-old Shooting Scene finished three lengths away second to Hussonator in the Mackay Cup, a big improvement after their previous dead-last finish in the Murwillumbah Cup.
Tomorrow the veteran gelding is due to jump from barrier nine with Justin Stanley in the mount.
Mayfield-Smith will also be represented in the feature race at his home track this weekend with his six-year-old sprinter-miler Absent Friends engaged for the Listed Tattersall’s Mile (1600m) at Eagle Farm.
Drawn ideally in barrier four of 14 with apprentice hoop Tim Bell engaged for the ride, Dehere gelding Absent Friends is out to break a five-race losing streak after earlier claiming back-to-back 1350 metres Class 6 races at Doomben in February.
Absent Friends comes into the Tattersall’s Mile showdown on the back of an unlucky fourth behind Strumming in the Bank Of QLD New Farm Handicap (1500m) at the track on July 9.
“It was a farcical-run race last start, when the speed was very slow,” Mayfield-Smith said.
“It didn’t suit him, but he was still able to run home well and finish fourth.
“I’m very happy with the horse.
“He wasn’t suited and the start before that at Caloundra (ninth to Woorim in the Glasshouse Handicap on July 2) the jockey said it was like he was on ice skates in the wet going and was slipping and sliding everywhere.
“It appears as though there will be some pace in the race this time.
“If the race is run at a true speed I expect him to run very well.”
Rated a $12 chance in the Tattersall’s Mile odds, Absent Friends will have to step up to defeat the likes of race favourite Mystical Grey, Tattersall’s Racing Club Mile champion Frozone and Group performing warhorse Hume representing fellow Eagle Farm trainer Brian Smith.
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