Tassie trainer Adam Trinder won’t be disappointed if his stable star Mystic Journey gets beaten first up but admits that she is in good shape for her return to racing in the Group 2 $200,000 P.B. Lawrence Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on Saturday.
Mystic Journey arrived at Tony McEvoy’s Flemington stables on Thursday after travelling from her Spreyton base in Devonport in Tasmania by ferry across the Bass Strait and her presence was immediately felt around the stables.
“The team at Tony McEvoy’s, who obviously haven’t seen her since March, as soon as she walked in this morning, their comment was ‘Wow, gee she’s strengthened out since she was last here’,” Trinder told racing.com.
“Just the way she’s developed on the back of a spell as a four-year-old mare, I feel she’s physically stronger.”
“I definitely think she’s come back at least the same level as what she left the autumn.
“I wouldn’t dare suggest she’s improved but her trials have probably been better than they have in the past. She’s run good time so she’s definitely in pretty good order I trust.”
Mystic Journey took all before her during the 2019 Melbourne Autumn Carnival and was installed as the early $4.50 favourite for the Group 1 $5m Ladbrokes Cox Plate (2040m) at The Valley on October 26.
Mystic Journey was undefeated from four runs during the Autumn as a three year old filly and gained everybody’s attention with wins in the Group 1 $1m Australian Guineas (1600m) and in the $5m All-Star Mile (1600m) at Flemington.
The Cox Plate is Mystic Journey’s main 2019 Spring Carnival and Trinder said that a first up defeat in the P.B. Lawrence Stakes won’t be a great deterrent.
“We’re definitely not scared of defeat,” Trinder said.
“We have an objective that we’d like to be able to obtain and that’s moving forward to a Cox Plate in October.”
“If she runs top three, that’s good enough for me. We’d obviously like to protect her record, but we’re not scared of defeat.”
Mystic Journey has drawn barrier two in the eleven horse P.B. Lawrence Stakes field with regular rider Anthony Darmanin in the saddle and Trinder can see the new season mare settling in the middle of the pack securing a nice run.
“I think she’d be away on the rails with half (the field) in front of her and half behind her, just getting an opportunity to relax and build,” Trinder said.
“We’ve seen her be wide in her races and be so dominant, which has probably been more of a momentum thing, but she is actually unbeaten from inside barriers.
“The inside barrier is no knock. I’d rather see her back away resting on the inside as opposed to having hard runs.”
Mystical Journey is the short priced $2 favourite at Ladbrokes.com.au for the P.B. Lawrence Stakes and Trinder agrees with the bookies that the $4.40 second pick Hartnell is the one to beat.
“I think he’s a champion. He’s just a beautiful horse, who has done it in different countries and over different journeys,” Trinder said.
“He’s got a really good record over 1400 metres at Caulfield so he’s the benchmark horse for the race.”
Hartnell is also going into the weight for age P.B. Lawrence Stakes first up and has a good record in the race with a win in 2017 and a second last year to Showtime.
The James Cummings trained Hartnell has drawn barrier five with Hugh Bowman taking the ride.