Age will be no barrier for Hirokin at Mudgee tomorrow, with the nine-year-old aiming to win his third Gooree Cup in four years.
The top weight in the $36,000 feature event has a strong affinity with the race, having won in 2017 and 2019, whilst finishing a very close second to Penske in 2018.
The Jarrod Austin runner is certainly a Mudgee track specialist, only getting beaten 0.05 of a length in the 2019 Mudgee Cup, when pipped by Hammond Lane on the post.
“When they get a liking to a certain track, you just have to keep going back there and he (Hirokin) certainly likes Mudgee,” Austin said.
“We have had a lot of fun up there the last three years.”
The Warwick Farm trainer has always had this race in mind for Hirokin’s return this preparation and said that the Dubawi gelding was working well enough to go back-to-back.
“He took a little longer to get up this time around but his last trial was really good and I’m quietly confident he will go well,” Austin said.
“It is a little tricky when they are fresh like this, but he has won first up, not last prep but the prep before at Newcastle over the 1400m, so we know he can definitely go well fresh.”
This will be a tough task for Hirokin though, with this year’s Gooree Cup shortened from 1600m to 1400m and the race attracting full field and reserves.
“It was a little disappointing that they changed the distance from 1600m to 1400m for this race but we will just go a little further forward than we normally would first up,” Austin said.
This will likely be Hirokin’s last trip to Mudgee, with the old stager commencing his last preparation before a well-deserved retirement.
The consistent performer has started 72 times for 11 wins, 19 placings, earning connections $276,025 in prizemoney.
“He has been a great old horse for us and he has such a good record and we thought we would give him one more chance at Mudgee before he bows out,” Austin said.
“It will be tough but he has a couple more good runs left in him.”
The in-form Brodie Loy will take the ride on the Sydney runner, after a small mix up led to last year’s winning jockey, Matt Cahill, being told he wasn’t needed.
“It’s hard to place these horses, they have such a high country benchmark and low city benchmark and to be honest I thought he would get more weight,” Austin said.
“I actually had Matt Cahill down to ride but I told him to find another ride because we planned on putting an apprentice on.
“We now have Brodie on, he is a great jockey and in good form and we have had some success with him before and couldn’t be happier to him take the ride.”
2020 Gooree Cup Fiield
1 64070x029x HIROKIN 6 Jarrod Austin B. Loy 61kg
2 x1210x7306 OAKFIELD CAPTAIN 11 Damien Lane A. Layt 59.5kg
3 6942x2450x OUR WINNIE 9 Gregory McFarlane G. Ryan 59.5kg
4 x37330x030 OVER AND ABOVE 12 Cody Morgan N. Heywood 59kg
5 943606155x CLEVANICC 16 Kris Lees S. Guymer 58.5kg
6 312x24x886 LIFETIME QUEST 14 Mack GriffithJ. Ford 57.5kg
7 6×62637336 HERZEGOVINA 8 Stephen Jones K. Jennings 56kg
8 x21218530x CULLINGWORTH (IRE) 7 Kris Lees C. Lever 55.5kg
9 455x1967x7 STOCK UP (NZ) 15 Scott Singleton B. Cray 55.5kg
10 1124111578 THE LONG RUN 13 Peter W Stanley A. Stanley (a2) 55kg
11 5412831706 MR EPIC 10 Darren Hyde A. Banks 55kg
12 8460×18040 DISTINCTIVE LOOK 5 David J Smith J. PraceyHolmes 55kg
13 1446490855 VEGA DE LAGO 4 Geoff O’Brien M. Cahill 55kg
14 91698×4797 ATTALEA 1 Brett Thompson R. Simpson (a3) 55kg
15e 0170057×01 ZOUTENANT 3 Dar Lunn T. Wolfgram 55kg
16e 80×0080635 KING KESTREL 2 Les Roberts 55kg