Mikayla Weir knows a little bit about Country Championships success.
The 28-year-old rode in a number of the Newhaven Park Country Championship series heats last year and managed to finish in the top two twice.
The first two past the post in each heat progress through to the $500,000 final of the series at Royal Randwick.
She guided $1.70 favourite Tara Jasmine to the final in the Northern Rivers Racing Association heat at Coffs Harbour before heading to Scone a couple of weekend's later and doing the same with $16 chance Subtle Grey in the wild card.
The gun hoop will ride How's It Kev for Orange trainer Alison Smith. And the key to jagging a top two spot?
"You have to ride your own race," Weir said, coming into the fray with one of Smith's hopes as a late inclusion.
"I haven't done any form on the race yet, but I have ridden in a couple of these heats before.
"Obviously, it's great for the owners and trainers (when you finish top two). I made it through with one horse that was given absolutely no hope in the market last year, but then I had no luck on a favourite too."
Smith's other shot at a place in the country championship final is veteran Vaquero. Rachael Murray has the ride on six-year-old bay gelding and his first run back from an almost year-long spell.
The country championship heat - which is worth $150,000 - will be the end of a big weekend for the Smith stables.
She's on the road to Sydney on Saturday to tackle the $100,000 highway handicap at Royal Randwick.
She's taking Brief Statement to the Australian Turf Club. The three-year-old looks to be a classy filly having won her last start over 1000m at Orange before returning from a 21 week spell and winning a trial in Dubbo two weeks ago.
Saturday's TAB Highway Handicap is also over 1000m. That race jumps at 12.25pm on Saturday, while Sunday's country championship qualifier at Mudgee jumps at 4.45pm.
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