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  • Provincial Racing NSW


SATISFACTION in winning a race arises from a variety of reasons!

But it has to be right up there with the best when you train the first winner from a mare who provided you with your first city winner.

And whom you were determined to buy as a broodmare when her racing career was over.

Gosford trainer Nick Mitchell’s breakthrough metropolitan winner was $10 chance Dream Lane in a Benchmark 78 Handicap (1200m) at Rosehill Gardens on November 19, 2016.

Dream Lane had been injured before she began her racing career, and Mitchell took her on after she had been rejected by a couple of other trainers.

So obviously fond of her, he made what he considered a reasonable offer for the Al Maher mare when her racing days were over – but it was turned down.

He wasn’t about to miss out the second time around though.

“Dream Lane was a terrific mare to us,” Mitchell said. “She was placed at four of her first six starts, won five races and qualified for two Provincial Championship Finals.

Noticing the mare who gave him a breakthrough city success was being offered at a broodmare sale at Scone in May 2018, he wasn’t giving up on getting her back this time.

“I left the stable the morning of the sale towing a float,” he recalled. “I wasn’t coming home without her.”

Dream Lane was in foal to Mulaazem at the time, and Mitchell was able to buy her for $2000.

“Unfortunately, that foal (who raced as Changing Lanes) was retired after only two unplaced starts at Hawkesbury and Taree,” he said.

“Her second foal (the now Headwater four-year-old Headstart) has had only a few runs and was placed at Port Macquarie last year.

“He is back in work, and I think he will be okay.”

Dream Lane’s third foal, a three-year-old gelding by Smart Missile who races as Smart Serenade, had only his second start at Wyong last Thursday and upset a couple of fancied runners when he won a Provincial Maiden Handicap (1350m) at $13.

He had run fourth at $61 on debut in a Taree Maiden Plate (1250m) on April 2, sufficient to give his trainer hope that a win was just around the corner.

“Smart Serenade did a lot wrong at Taree, and I was happy with his performance in the circumstances,” Mitchell said.

“I gave him a good chance at Wyong, especially when the pre-post favorite hadn’t won in 10 starts.

“Smart Serenade is a bit nervy, and that’s why I gave him time between his two runs.

“He’s a big boy, and I’m no hurry to select his next race.

“I’m sure with maturity he will be better next preparation.

“The best part about Smart Serenade’s win was that four of our clients who raced Dream Lane came in with my partner Katie and myself when I bought Dream Lane.

“It was a very satisfying result for all of us.”

Mitchell, who won two races in town (at Warwick Farm and Royal Randwick) with Miss Checkoni last December at $6.50 and $26 respectively, relocated from Hawkesbury in the spring of 2017.

. HOOFNOTE: Mitchell also has a two-year-old colt from Al Maher (by Dissident), who is as yet unnamed.

“We haven’t bred with the mare for the last couple of seasons, but might go back to Smart Missile if Smart Serenade keeps going well,” he said.

Story John Curtis, May 5, 2024 - Pics Steve Hart Photographics

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