Mitchell Doesn’t Fear Gear Change For In-Form Checkoni

It’s a gear change that sends a lot of punters into the fetal position but trainer Nick Mitchell says the addition of bar plates will give in-form mare Miss Checkoni her best chance to post a hat-trick at Rosehill on Saturday.

Trainer Nick Mitchell (Pic: Bradley Photos).

The six-year-old approaches the TAB Handicap (1400m) with successive wins at Warwick Farm and Randwick, Mitchell’s first success at headquarters, and the trainer said the gear change to her front hooves is a necessary one given her quirky nature.

Miss Checkoni has been patiently handled, with only 23 starts to date, and Mitchell is confident she can hold her form.

“We’ve given her plenty of time, she was immature and picked up a few problems along the way but we’ve looked after her and hopefully she’ll still have some miles on the clock,’’ he said.

“The bar plates, it’s just another one of her issues. We’ve got away with it for a couple of months with her.

“She gets a bit of pressure in her heels and the bar plates just help her. They are nearly as light as normal plates and they tend to help her more than hinder.

“She’ll run better with them than without them.”

The Gosford trainer, who has 16 boxes at the Central Coast track, was rapt that Miss Checkoni could overcome a tricky barrier last start at Randwick and even more so that she won’t have to contend with one as she steps up from Midway grade.

Molly Bourke rides Miss Checkoni, who opened $12 with TAB, once again and Mitchell is confident the mare will be able to run to the pattern that suits her best.

“It was a bit of a worry last time how we were going to get in because she likes to sit in behind the speed,’’ he said.

“Fortunately most of the field were getting back that day and nothing kicked up. It should be a little bit easier from barrier three.

“After the claim she’ll only carry 52.5kg and a mare in form, they do tend to hold their form a bit better. So long as she gets another clear run around she will run well.”

Prior to this preparation, Miss Checkoni’s last win was in restricted Benchmark 68 company at Wyong so she’s clearly gone up a notch.

The breakthrough at Warwick Farm at her fifth run this time around came as something of a relief, after a few hard luck tales, and it’s given the horse a deal of confidence.

“She’d had a horrid prep, just unlucky and it was about time she got a bit of a break,’’ he said.

“It was a great ride from Molly last time just to drop her there on the line like that and it was well deserved for everyone concerned.

“You can see when she gets to the races her confidence is up and she’s less stressed when things go her way.”

Mitchell takes an active interest in the post-racing careers of his horses and reflected on watching retired racehorse Kristensen compete at the inaugural Equimillion in the spring.

Kristensen had 14 starts for one win and was retired back in 2019 but under the care of his rider Ava he’s developing into a nice prospect with designs on returning to the event in 2024.

The Mitchell stable sponsored the horse for Equimillion and he finished fifth in his division.

“If you know they are going to a good home and people will look after them right it’s really good to follow them and see how they are doing,’’ he said.

“To see them do well in a different discipline it’s very good and for an inexperienced horse and a young rider they did really well.”

– Racing NSW

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