Manhattan Rain mare Irish Mist carried colours familiar to WA punters when she took a short-cut to score at Pakenham on Thursday.
The black silks with pink spots and hooped sleeves are registered to Barry and Barb Saunders who raced Voile D’Or (Dieu D’Or) to Group 1 classic victories in the 1999 WATC Derby and 2000 South Australian Oaks for trainer Joe Miller and jockey Jeff Noske.
Irish Mist (pictured) isn’t in that league but her will-to-win was evident in the Bunyip Equipment Hcp (1400m) when she took a rails run to put the race to bed.
“We haven’t had her for long and I wasn’t sure whether she would see out the 1400m,” trainer Matt Smerdon said. “That was her second start for us and we decided to ride her conservatively.
“She is coming on week-by-week and is working well. Her condition held today and she picked them up late.”
Smerdon, a former rodeo rider, prepared his first winner with Cassidy (NZ) at Donald in September. He’s based at Denistoun Park, a 70-acre Mornington facility owned by the Saunders. His father John trained at Geelong before moving to the Sunshine Coast with Sheila Laxon.
Irish Mist (4m Manhattan Rain – Cahira by O’Reilly) won a Cranbourne juvenile on debut in March 2021, however, her form tapered off in the $250,000 VOBIS Gold Rush (1000m) at Bendigo and $950,000 VOBIS Showdown (1200m) at Caulfield.
Previously with Nick Ryan, Irish Mist is back on track after being sidelined for most of 2022. She’s from a burgeoning family developed by Barry and Barb going back three generations to USA-bred mare Star Of Amarissa (Assert).
Geisel Park stands Manhattan Rain (Encosta de Lago) and the Myalup stud can notch a winning update for its draft to the Perth Magic Millions with Westriver Miracle in the Ascot Mile (1600m) on Sunday.
Fellow Geisel Park sire All American has the full-sister to Westriver Miracle (Lot 188) entered for the Swan Valley Sale. He was placed behind The Velvet Queen first-up and is priced at $11 to upstage the odds-on favourite this weekend.