Hawkesbury horseman Noel Mayfield-Smith believes Doomben Racecourse could be the key to unlocking better form from his honest mare Unequivocal who runs at the track in Saturday’s $100,000 Listed Just Now Quality Handicap (1350m).
Two black-type summer showdowns highlight the Doomben card in Brisbane this weekend including a field of 14 fillies and mares facing off in the Just Now Quality.
Jumping from barrier eight with ace interstate hoop Craig Williams booked for the ride is Mayfield-Smith’s four-year-old daughter of Not A Single Doubt Unequivocal.
To date she has had 14 starts for two wins, a second and a third but she hasn’t been seen in the winner’s stall since success in a Class 1 over 1200m at Kembla Grange back in early September.
Since then she has travelled to Warwick Farm, Randwick, Flemington and Rosehill.
This weekend she makes her maiden trip to the Sunshine State with Mayfield-Smith hoping for a return to form to help the mare add a black-type to her record and value to her potential value as a broodmare in the future.
“She is a nicely bred Not A Single Doubt mare so black type would add to her value,” he told AAP this week.
Two back she raced at the famous Flemington Racecourse on Melbourne Cup Day in the Group 3 Maybe Mahal Stakes (1400m) where she ran a luckless seventh beaten 5.7 lengths by the winner Scarlet Billows with Blake Shinn in the saddle.
That came on the back of a blanket finish at Royal Randwick on October 17 when she crossed under a length away sixth to Nayeli in the Group 3 Nivison Stakes (1200m).
Last time out she raced on November 21 back in Sydney and was out of the money beaten a similar margin again when ninth to Festivity in a fillies-and-mares’ Benchmark 78 over 1400m.
Mayfield-Smith is happy to excuse those three runs however believing his mare’s efforts better than they seem with the track and conditions not playing to suit in recent starts.
“She was only three-quarters of a length from the winner in the Nivison and then in the Maybe Mahal she was pushed into the worst part of the track when she was making her finishing run,” he said.
“Everyone was complaining about the section of track so her effort was pretty good.”
He also said that a fortnight ago at Rosehill, interference stopped her from finishing closer to the winner in a race where there was zero pace.
“They walked in front so she had no chance as she is a mare who likes to travel strongly and then finish on strongly,” he said.
While she is yet to race at Doomben, Mayfield-Smith believes Unequivocal will thrive at the track on Saturday as she steps back up to stakes’ company and drops notably in weight from 58kg last time out to a far more manageable 54kg minimum in the Just Now Quality.
“I would be a lot more confident with Unequivocal if it was at Eagle Farm but at least at Doomben they seem to run along in most races which will suit her,” he said.
He is also happy about securing the Melbourne-based Williams’ services.
“You might as well get him while you can,” Mayfield Smith said of Williams who is riding in Queensland for the State of Origin jockeys’ challenge.
Grant Marshall’s Newcastle-trained Slots leads Just Now Quality betting at Ladbrokes.com.au after a brave second over 1200m at Rosehill only seven days ago on Saturday.
The bookmakers are backing the Sydney form to stack up too with Peter & Paul Snowden’s Typhoon Jolie, unplaced in the same lead-up, also up the top of the markets for the Brisbane rematch.
Unequivocal is just outside the best in betting paying around $10.
While his mare hasn’t been around Brisbane, Mayfield-Smith is no stranger to Queensland racing.
He won the state’s richest race, the Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap at Eagle Farm back in 2000 with Landsighting and last year made it an elite level double in Brisbane when Famous Seamus took out the Group 1 BTC Cup in a boilover as a 20/1 outsider in betting.