Racing: More celebrations ahead?

By Mike Dillon

With the Victoria and New Zealand Oaks safely locked away Sargent looks to Randwick.

Randwick here we come. Miss Mossman easily wins the NZ Oaks at Trentham on Saturday. Photo / Thinkstock
Randwick here we come. Miss Mossman easily wins the NZ Oaks at Trentham on Saturday. Photo / Thinkstock

John Sargent is on twin missions. The more pressing yesterday was fixing up a hangover.

A much more profitable second mission is to win the Australian Oaks with Miss Mossman.

Sargent travelled from his Sydney base to be at Trentham on Saturday to see the stable win the $300,000 Wellfield New Zealand Oaks with Miss Mossman.

But it wasn't all beer and skittles - well, certainly not skittles.

Sargent made a bad blue.

"I booked a flight from Wellington back to Sydney that required me to be at the airport at 4.30 this morning. Boy, was that a mistake, we were still celebrating at 3.30.

"I'm in my office here in Sydney working out the programmes for the next week and I swear I'm doing them with my eyes closed," he said yesterday.

When he was able to put his hangover to one side, Sargent became excited about the prospect of winning the Oaks in Sydney with Miss Mossman.

A couple of years ago, Sargent won the Queensland Oaks with Quintessential and last November won the Victoria Oaks at the Melbourne Cup meeting with the Alamosa filly Kirramosa.

"Now with the Oaks in New Zealand in the bag if I can win the Oaks here in Sydney that would be something of a record. It's certainly never been done before."

Given timing is one of the all important elements of the racing game, there is the sense of the moment about Miss Mossman.

Even if it relies in part on hindsight, there was a lot to admire about the final 100m of Miss Mossman's second to Oaks favourite Miss Selby at Hastings in her final lead-up. It showed clear staying ability and Saturday's 2500m was ideal.

"She is peaking at exactly the right time," says Sargent.

"The owners have yet to make the final decision about the trip, but I'm confident she'll be coming here and I'd look at running her in the Arrowfield as an Oaks lead-up.

"Obviously Donna's [Logan] filly [Rising Romance] is going to be tough to topple, but our filly has earned a crack at Randwick."

Miss Mossman is owned by veteran racing identity Bruce Clothier, whose blue, yellow and black colours have graced the New Zealand turf for more than half a century, many of the horses carrying them prepared by Jim Gibbs. Clothier races the filly with his seven sons.

"Bruce used to breed a few of them then realised that has become tough and now buys one every year to have them coming through," said Sargent.

"I bought this filly for Bruce for $26,000 out of the Westbury draft."

The last time Clothier's colours were successful at Trentham was when he won the Anniversary Handicap in 1959.

Sargent says he is steadily perfecting his Australian operation to best tackle what he says is Australia's toughest racing opposition in Sydney.

"I've got 26 horses, because that's the number of boxes I've got at the moment and I'm waiting for more to come up, which is always the issue here. To be competitive at the top level you have to have a team of 50 horses - that's my aim.

"At the moment, a lot of my horses are provincial grade and you need good-quality stock here. I'm gradually evolving my team and like everyone before me has found, that takes time."

Sargent was keen to place a decent slice of the credit for the group one victory with his New Zealand training partner Hayden Allen.

"I don't get back to New Zealand too often so Hayden has done a lot of the work."

Winning rider Johnathon Parkes had his thrill moderated somewhat when stewards relieved him of $1000 for excessive use of the whip on Miss Mossman.

- NZ Herald

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