Cox Plate Favourite Mystic Journey Wins P.B. Lawrence First-Up

August 17, 2019

Cox Plate Favourite Mystic Journey Wins P.B. Lawrence First-Up

Tassie sensation Mystic Journey began her Ladbrokes Cox Plate 2019 campaign in fine style saluting for the punters first-up in Caulfield’s Group 2 $200,000 P.B. Lawrence Stakes (1400m).

Mystic Journey. Photo: Ultimate Racing Photos.

Mystic Journey kicked off her Ladbrokes Cox Plate 2019 campaign with a first-up win in the P.B. Lawrence Stakes. Photo: Ultimate Racing Photos.

There was a late drift in betting at Ladbrokes.com.au on Adam Trinder’s returning mare who was out to $2.15 before she jumped from barrier two of 11 in the P.B. Lawrence Stakes for her four-year-old debut.

Those who were worried about her ability on the Soft ground or thought the daughter of Needs Further may be vulnerable first-up needn’t have stressed.

Mystic Journey settled up closer to the speed with regular rider Anthony Darmanin sitting forward in third as Cliff’s Edge led them around.

Moving to the outside after cruising around the turn for home, Mystic Journey was never going to lose hooking to the middle of the track and picking off those in front.

First she moved up to Godolphin great Hartnell, moving past the 28-time Group 1 performer and then giving chase to Cliff’s Edge who had the fitness edge after a lead-up third in the Bletchingly Stakes.

Despite a brave front-running performance, Cliff’s Edge couldn’t hold off the Australian Guineas – All-Star Mile winning filly and Mystic Journey charged home for a three-quarter length victory.

“It’s definitely a relief to a certain extent,” Spreyton-based trainer Trinder said after the race.

“It’s really pleasing to get them back to the races and see them do what you trust they’re going to do.”

Nine-year-old Hartnell finished in the money again having won the P.B. Lawrence Stakes in 2017 and placing second to Showtime last year.

His performance was enough to take his career earnings up over $7 million, Hartnell just the 11th horse in Australian racing history to do so.

Mystic Journey will now either return to Caulfield in a fortnight for the Group 1 $1 million Memsie Stakes (1400m), or more likely be saved for Flemington’s Group 1 $750,000 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) over the mile on September 14.

“The Memsie in a fortnight is a Group 1 target and can’t be taken lightly, but we’ll do what’s right by the filly and my feel is a month between runs and just the three runs leading into the Cox Plate,” Trinder said.

The Group 1 $5 million Ladbrokes Cox Plate (2040m) lights up The Valley on October 26 and all-in markets at race sponsor Ladbrokes.com.au have Mystic Journey as the clear $4.50 favourite.

She is has also shortened into a quote of $2.50 in both Memsie Stakes odds and early Makybe Diva Stakes betting in 2019.

Whichever way she goes, Trinder is confident there is plenty of improvement to be seen in his stable ace.

“I thought she was great there today, she was soft,” he said.

“She still showed will and determination, that’s going to hold her in really good stead moving forward this preparation.”

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