Dean Mirfin will only be at Dubbo Turf Club for one race on Friday afternoon but he knows if his two mares fire it could be an extremely enjoyable trip.
Mirfin will saddle up both the returning Art’N’Ollie and Jetgirl in the Chiull-Rite Daikin Open Handicap (1010m), the standout event of the Dubbo club’s twilight Christmas meeting.
The in-form Bathurst trainer’s hopes bookend the field, with Art’N’Ollie to be ridden by Eleanor Webster-Hawes from barrier while Mathew Cahill will pilot Jetgirl from the extreme outside in gate 11.
“The open handicaps are hard to win because they’re all good horses so you can’t go in just thinking you’re going to win,” Mirfin said.
“But both these mares deserve to be there.”
Art’N’Ollie is first up from a spell, having not raced since August 29 and Mirfin is hoping this preparation can be as successful as the last.
The six-year-old won at a Mudgee showcase meeting last time out and also scored two wins from her last three starts before the near four-month spell.
One thing going against her before the event at Dubbo is the lack of a barrier trial.
“I’m happy with her and I’ve not given her a barrier trial before her first start, which is something I normally would do. She’ll be open to improvement early on,” Mirfin said, adding she was still “a bit burly”.
“I couldn’t find a trial that really worked in before this race but we had a jump out at home and she’s in good order for 1000m. I wouldn’t start her in anything longer.
“I don’t know if there’s improvement in her but we’ll try and get her to that good level again and then find some nice races for her.”
Jetgirl is another mare who Mirfin is a big fan of, the four-year-old having scored three wins and three placings in 11 career starts.
She’s had one win from three starts this preparation but Mirfin
“Her form has been really good. She missed the start in her first run (back from a spell) and then didn’t have much luck, and then at Bathurst she won easy,” he said.
“She wasn’t quite at her best (at Warwick Farm) and got beat by a nice little filly of Gai Waterhouse’s but now I’ve dropped her back to the 1000 (metres) and she’s more effective there than the 1200.”
Kenny Succeed, trained at Dubbo by Kody Nestor, is also first-up from a spell and will carry the top weight of 61kg.
Jake Pracey-Holmes has the ride from gate four for Nestor, whose fellow Dubbo trainers Garry and Lee Lunn also have hopes in the race.
Garry has Go Beau Jangles in action while Lee will saddle up Amaretto.
The race is the fourth in a rare twilight meeting at Dubbo Turf Club.
A massive crowd is expected, with the first race jumping at 3.17pm and the last going at 6.34pm.