Midway Could Be A Dance Audition For Ible’s In-Form Mare

Why not have a shot at sneaking into the Big Dance? That’s trainer Joe Ible’s sentiment about in-form mare Patrika Mist if she can complete a hat-trick at Randwick on Saturday.

Trainer Joe Ible
Pic: Steve Hart

The race in mind would be Sunday week’s Bega Cup at the Sapphire Coast, which carries eligibility for the $3 million feature, but she has to get through the Midway Handicap (1600m) first.

“She went to Sapphire last year and won a Class 2 very stylishly,’’ Ible said.

“She looks the right sort of horse to take down, I don’t think it’ll be the strongest Big Dance qualifier so she might be a really good chance in it.”

Ible, who has been based at Kembla Grange for the past 2-1/2 years, concedes he almost found reason to think Patrika Mist wouldn’t live up to his hopes when she battled in a couple of Midways in the spring.

So he’s naturally pleased she was able to bounce back and be so dominant in taking out his first Midway at Rosehill two weeks ago.

“I always thought she would reach this sort of level,’’ he said.

“Earlier this prep I thought she’d plateaued and wouldn’t go on with it but after a poor performance after her fourth run back we gave her month freshen and just changed a few things with her.

“She’s come back in great form since. She’s just found her sweet spot this preparation, she hasn’t missed a beat since last start.

“We’ve been having a crack at the Midways for a while, running a few placings and being thereabouts but it was good to get a win.”

Jett Stanley takes the ride on Patrika Mist, $4.60 with TAB on Thursday, with Ible making use of the 2kg claim and he’ll have a bit to live up to after Zac Lloyd’s masterclass on the mare at Rosehill.

It certainly wasn’t Plan A from Ible to lead that race but it proved the right move.

However, he suspects front-running may not be the way to win this particular Midway which he says looks to contain a lot more speed on paper.

“Zac’s initiative is what won the race the other day, he rode her beautifully, but there could be more pressure in this race,’’ he said.

“Thankfully she’s drawn favourably and I guess it’ll be a lot up to Jett but we’ll be positive without wanting to get into a speed battle.

“With the claim she gets in not too bad at the weights considering her win last start.”

Meanwhile, Ible hopes a change of pattern for Cuban Granchico will see a turnaround in form in the Bivouac First Yearlings Handicap (1300m) at Warwick Farm on Friday.

The six-year-old has been struggling for his best form of late and Ible’s going back to the drawing board to see if a hunch he has about the gelding’s racing pattern is the key.

“He got his preparation off to a good start, I thought his first two runs were excellent,’’ he said.

“Perhaps he’s been a touch too close in the run in his last few. We’re going to try to ride him quiet, ride him midfield or worse and let him find the line.

“As a young horse he enjoyed being up there but I don’t think it’s agreeing with him at the moment.”

– Racing NSW

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