By Jonny Turner
Magic Mike can help Mitchell Robertson build on the successful start he has made to his training career at Addington on Sunday.
The Templeton horseman has just completed his first season in partnership with father, Peter, racking up eight wins.
Though pleased with that effort, Robertson is looking forward to building on it this season.
Magic Mike could set the platform for a successful twelve months if his debut third for driver Tim Williams at Invercargill three weeks ago is anything to go by.
The 4yr-old was caught three wide during a quickening of the race speed before working to the parked position and fighting on for third behind impressive debutante Maximus Prost.
“We were pretty pleased with that run because we sort of thought he still might one hard run away from full fitness,” Robertson said.
“And he didn’t travel or settle in down there as good as we’d have hoped.”
“So we’re pretty pleased with the run taking those things into account.”
The likely improvement from his debut they will see Magic Mike steps out from barrier 2 in race 4 has the Robertson stable hopeful of a big second up run.
“We are thinking – slash hoping – that he will have improved, so that should hopefully make him pretty hard to beat.”
Magic Mike goes up against his stablemate, Fomo, who was just fair when fifth for Williams at Ascot Park last week.
Though the performance may not truly reflect her ability.
“She has got her share of ability, but her gait is not perfect,” Robertson said.
“Tim said she was travelling pretty well at Invercargill, but she ran out up the straight and didn’t want to take the passing lane.”
“Hopefully the bigger track at Addington might help her.”
Williams will not drive either of the Robertson team, instead he will be behind Zambia for trainer Paul Kerr.
Blair Orange takes the drive behind Magic Mike and Robbie Close will steer Fomo.
Williams will drive Im Jimmy James for the Robertson stable in race 9.
The 7yr-old looks to have an ideal opportunity to get back to winning form after drawing barrier 2 in the 2000m standing start.
Im Jimmy James was third behind American Lightning at Ascot Park before running sixth behind Ideal Rule at Addington the following week.
“I am thinking the 2000m stand should suit him,” Robertson said.
“His run at Invercargill was pretty good behind a smart horse.”
“I was a little bit disappointed in his next run, but he was backing up for the third week in a row.”
“He has had a week off race, so hopefully he should be better on Sunday.
Ladbrooks trainer Dean Taylor has a key hand to play in race 2 with Jake and Spirit Of Arden.
Spirit Of Arden got things horribly wrong on debut early last month, but looked much better when second in a recent Ashburton trial.
“He has just got a few hang ups – he hit the footrests and he panicked completely in his first start,” Taylor said.
“He has trialled up quite good and done things right since, but if things go wrong he gets very stirred up.”
Spirit Of Arden is a 4yr-old half-brother to smart performers Bettor’s Strike, Southwind Arden and Rocknroll Arden.
Taylor is hopeful that in time the horse could do his dam, Winter Rose, proud.
“I am picking he is going to be a very good stayer one day.”
Jake has featured in the thick end of most of his 11 starts.
His last start fourth behind Ashes To Ashes, after sitting in the trail, may have disappointed his backers, but it did come after in a sharp step up in distance from 2000m.
“His last run was his first run over 2600m,” Taylor said.
“He did go hard early and it might have just caught up with him at the finish.”
“But, he is very genuine.”
Robbie Close will drive Spirit Of Arden and Ken Barron will steer Jake.