Gary Harley – Herald 23.05.20

Warwick Farm trainer Matthew Smith is hoping for a change of luck when he sends talented mare Joy And Mirth to the Newcastle race meeting on Saturday.

The four-year-old will contest the 1300 metre Benchmark 64 Handicap and she will have weight relief with two-kilogram claiming apprentice Tom Sherry booked for the mount.

Joy And Mirth has had three starts this preparation and all three performances have been full of merit, albeit she is yet to win. The mares first up run was on a bottomless heavy track at Wyong on March 28. She was last in a field of fourteen at the top of the straight before a powerful finish carried her to within one and a half lengths of the winner.

Such were the poor conditions the rest of the meeting was abandoned after jockeys complained of poor visibility. Second up was at Newcastle on May 2, Joy And Mirth was again at the tail of a big field on the home turn before storming home to go down by a head.

Last start at Warwick Farm on May 13 it was the same story at the tail of the field of the thirteen on the home turn. She made up an enormous amount of ground. Smith speaking from the Hawkesbury race meeting on Thursday said he hopes Joy And Mirth can race closer from the three barrier on Saturday.

“Newcastle is the ideal track for her with the long straight and up to 1300 metres and the good barrier she should be more prominent in the run. All three runs this preparation have been outstanding. Joy And Mirth can handle wet or dry tracks.

Last prep she won two consecutive races at Canberra by 4.8 and 2.6 lengths. She has the talent but is fragile. We bought her at the Magic Millions Yearling Sale and she has had surgery and other issues. I can’t have the mare any fitter and this is a lovely race for her,” Smith said.

Kris Lees promising colt Meadow Land resumes on the back of two impressive barrier trials. The Queensland owned two-year-old runs in the 900 metre Two-Year-Old Maiden Plate. He was well backed in his only start at Gosford in February when runner up to the smart Harmonium. Meadow Land has drawn wide but he has speed.  The colt has not been let off the bridle in both recent trials.

The Snowden training partnership are hoping a gelding operation will see their regally bred three-year-old Garrison break through for his first run in the opening event a 1200 metre Maiden Handicap. A son of champion sire I Am Invincible, the gelding is owned by his breeder John Camilleri who bred the great Winx.

Garrison debuted in March last year with a close second behind Cardiff at Warwick Farm. He was then spelled and unplaced in three starts in his recent prep. Since the gelding operation, Garrison won a recent Randwick trial by five and a half lengths. Andrew Gibbons has the mount on Garrison and Newcastle’s Premier jockey has seven rides as he goes into the meeting with 95 winners for the season.