Mitchell heads south to Manawatu

By Brigette Solomon

Cambridge reinsman Todd Mitchell is certainly going to be busy as he returns to Manawatu Raceway today.

“It’s been a while since I’ve driven at Manawatu but (local trainer) Stephen Doody asked if I’d consider coming and with close to a full book of drives it’s worth the trip,” says Mitchell.

“Most of the horses I’m driving have reasonable form on paper and hopefully we get a bit of luck.”

Mitchell's last winner at Palmerston North was with Our Pegasus Pearl in March 2022.

In the feature trot (R2), the Cartown Country Cup Handicap Trot, Mitchell drives Johnny Who for Doody.

A four race winner, he starts off a ten metre handicap and meets some tough competition in the form of te consistent Boyz Invasion and Castana.

“Johnny Who has done a good job down here and while he maybe just lacks really high speed, I think he’s a good each way chance, says Mitchell.

In Race three, the Barry’s Tacky Tours Mobile Pace, Mitchell drives Narobi. The three-year-old filly has had three placings from just five starts, including a last start second behind Carolina Moon when she was narrowly beaten by a head.

“Narobi has been racing well and with a good trip should be an each way chance,” says Mitchell.

"We should also be thereabouts and starting from two has a good draw to work with.”

Million Dollar Chic starts in Race four, the Outback Trading Mobile Pace over 2000 metres. The three-year-old Bettors Delight filly has put in some consistent runs recently and has run three placings at Manawatu to date.

"We should also be thereabouts and starting from two has a good draw to work with.”

In Race seven, Mitchell partners with the Andrew and Lyn Neal trained Diamonds Are Forever. The mare was a winner here three starts ago and most recently raced at Alexandra Park in races won by Duchess Megxit and Jolimont.

“She wasn’t at her best last start but meets an easier field here today,” says Mitchell.

“She’s drawn well and should be able to go forward, she’s a good chance.”

Mitchell drives the Mike Berger trained Invisible in Race eight, the Papaioea Mobile Pace over 2000 metres. The gelding placed third on both occasions when he raced at Manawatu in February and although he starts from a less than ideal draw of 10 today, Mitchell thinks he’s capable of featuring amongst the placings.

“He’s been racing ok considering some of the draws he’s had,” says Mitchell, “the stronger the pace the better for him, and provided they are running up front he should go a good race.”

Mitchell is also engaged to drive Mr Monty (R1), Bettor Grunter (R5), and Baileys Pitch (R9) all trained by Doody.

“Bettor Grunter and Baileys Pitch both have a bit of form and have been racing well,” says Mitchell “Baileys Pitch has drawn three, so with a bit of luck and a good trip he’s an each way chance.”

The feature pace of the day, the T Market Fresh Country Cup Handicap Pace (R6) will be a hotly contested event with the likes of Bad Medicine, New York Minute, and Village Rebel taking part. All three horses have good Manawatu form and will be looking to earn points toward the 2024 Country Championship Series Final at Addington in May.

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