When Gold Coast co-leading premiership jockey Dale Missen moved from Victoria to Queensland some years back, little did he know a break into bigger races could come from an Adelaide trainer.
Missen, 31, has obtained the ride on the Tony McEvoy-trained Little Critter in the $100,000 Magic Millions Tickets Online Now Handicap (900m) at the Gold Coast tomorrow.
It is a week out from the two-year old’s likely engagement in the $2m Magic Million Classic (1200m) at the Gold Coast.
Missen is currently level with Daniel Griffin at the top of the Gold Coast premiership with 24 winners.
He will need to show all that local knowledge to give the Adelaide colt a sweet ride from barrier 10, just one in from the outside.
“Good barriers win races – that’s for sure,” Missen said.
“But I’ll just have to do what I can to overcome it and hope for a bit of luck.
“I rode a bit for Tony without success when I was apprenticed in Melbourne so this is a great opportunity for me and I am grateful for it.”
The former champion Victorian country apprentice moved to MacKay in 2007.
He won Racing Queensland’s Provincial and Country jockey award in his first season.
He switched to Brisbane then moved to the Gold Coast a year ago to good effect.
“The Gold Coast is very competitive but I’ve been happy with how I’ve been going since I moved to Brisbane last year and concentrated on the Coast.” Missen said.
Little Critter is on the border of a Magic Millions Classic start presently 16th in the order of entry.
Queensland’s richest race will start a final field of 16 and the worry is Little Critter could be leapfrogged in the 11th hour.
Extra prizemoney should ensure him a Classic start even if it is just the $1000 prizemoney for fifth.
He is currently just $900 away from 15th position held by Pure Whisper which may in the end prove decisive.
The son of Court Command last start finished fourth to Hoss Amor in the $200,000 Wyong Magic Millions Classic (1100m) on December 22.
He lead, dropped out before the turn but came again in the straight when beaten four lengths.
It appeared his first start in the clockwise direction didn’t suit him that well.
McEvoy, equal Adelaide premiership leader with old boss David Hayes on 15 wins, is being wise by getting some Gold Coast track experience into his youngster.
Missen’s only other ride at tomorrow’s meet is again for McEvoy on Sky Raider in the Pamper Parties Gold Coast 1800m.
Sky Raider has been the big improver in Adelaide racing.
He is coming from a win in the unheralded Jamestown Cup in October to possible Magic Millions glory in Saturday week’s $250,000 Magic Millions Stayers Cup (1800m).
McEvoy is in his full first season since taking up training at Kildalton Park, formerly part of Lindsay Park.
Earlier this decade he took over the running of Lindsay Park when David Hayes relinquished the position to take up training in Hong Kong.
McEvoy was successful but stood aside when Hayes came back to Australia in 2005.