The Murrumbidgee Turf Club is a far cry from French group one racing but Mutual Trust finally delivered on his promise at Friday.
It’s been quite a journey for the seven-year-old, who broke a four-year losing streak to take out the Riverina Cup Prelude (2500m).
Imported to Australia as a middle distance runner following his win the Prix Jean Prat, he finished sixth in a Toorak Handicap before eventually finding his way to the Wangaratta stables of Daniel McCarthy.
Purchased as a tried horse, Mutual Trust ($11) had five races under his belt for McCarthy before delivering a shock victory at the MTC.
His first appearance at Wagga was a down the track effort in the Town Plate but he returned a transformed stayer.
With the feature sprinters far too slick in May he then put in three more ordinary performances across Victoria before turning it all around to defeat Equal Chance ($17) by ¾ lengths.
His form in France was over the 1600m as too was his early racing in Australia however more distance may be the key.
“Until recently it might have looked like we’d paid a bit much for him but we are really getting him up over these distances and think he will be able to go on a little bit,” McCarthy said. “It was great to get the win."
All three of his French wins were over the mile but he finished off well over the longer trip.
McCarthy thought as the gelding rises in age he’s appreciated more distance.
“He’s older and hasn’t got that real burst in his legs,” McCarthy said.
“To be able to relax, put his head on his chest and work his way into the race and get comfortable in his action and finish it off was really good.”
Apprentice jockey Mitchell Aitken was able to position the son of Cacique behind leader Equal Chance but he didn’t panic when the Kevin Hanley runner gapped the rest of the field.
Catching up as the field turned for home, Mutual Trust has able to balance up before finishing the better of his rivals.
Aitken’s four kilogram claim helped the top weight’s finish and McCarthy was once again impressed by the young hoop.
His father Ron Aitken is a former apprentice of McCarthy’s and he’s more than happy to keep the family association going.
“I’ve enjoyed giving him a little kick along,” McCarthy said.
“He’s a really nice kick and I think that was his third ride for me for a win and two seconds but he’s got real ability and is going to be a good kid.”
McCarthy will nominate for NSW’s longest race – The Riverina Cup (3800m) on July 24 – but also has options in Sydney.
Mr Sommerville ($3.20) never really got into the finish off the race but had enough points on the board to claim victory in the Wagga Stayers Series
Trevor Sutherland’s gelding has an unassailable leading into the conclusion of the year-long series but is headed to the paddock.
Winning four of his last seven starts, Mr Sommerville earned connections another $8000 for the series win.
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