Mitch chases a ‘home-alone’ Cup

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Casino Cup 484m

Group 3: $25,000 to winner

Heats: November 20

Final November 27

By Mike Hill

MITCH Northfield is hoping he can win this month\’s Group 3 $34,000 Charcoal Inn Casino Cup (484m) in his own right with track specialist Kooringa Lucy.

Northfield shared in Cup glory way back in 1989 when Coomerang Chief was successful.

\”He was a very good dog and was trained by dad at the time,\” Northfield said.

The Dobies Bight-based (near Casino, northern NSW) trainer now has his own little champ, the exceptionally well-bred Kooringa Lucy (Fernando Bale-Mitcharlie Mia), and nothing would please him more than to win his \’home track\’ Cup.

The white and black sprinter has been in outstanding form of late and her record at Casino is highly impressive.

She has raced eight times at the track for six wins – four over the Cup distance. In her other two starts, she was runner-up over the 411m trip.

\”We\’ll be going to Casino for the Cup, everything going right,\” the trainer said.

\”She\’s a very good sprinter and has good track sense. But the job would be made a lot easier if she could jump in front. She was in several Group finals late last year and earlier this year.

\”She was still very young in those finals and she had no luck with the box draw. She\’s a more matured bitch now, but she still needs luck in running.

\”She\’s been in some tough races of late against some strong dogs. I also think she is a better sprinter with an inside draw.\”

Kooringa Lucy was a gallant fourth behind Shadow Mist in a semi-final of the Million Dollar Chase at Wentworth Park last month.

\”We gave it our best shot, but the winner was just too good on the night,\” said Northfield.

He said \’Lucy\’ was very strong at the end of her races and believes she will be able to go over a longer distance later on.

Her record so far is impressive with 12 wins, eight seconds and a third from 29 starts and her prizemoney currently stands at just over $50,000.

She has wins at Wentworth Park, Albion Park, Lismore and Casino.

Casino club manager Ron Herd said this year\’s Cup could be a battle of the litter mates.

He said many good judges would consider Kooringa Lucy and her brother, the Jeff Ahern-trained Burnt Ends, as the early local favourites for the $25,000-to-the-winner Cup.

Both kennels will be hoping for better results after Kooringa Lucy and Burnt Ends failed to qualify for last month\’s Lismore Cup.

Burnt Ends also has an impressive record of 10 wins and eight minor placings from 27 starts, but has found Kooringa Lucy a hard nut to crack.

In their first ever race over 411m at Casino in mid-October last year, Burnt Ends could only manage third to his flying sister and Kooringa Lucy has kept her record intact, narrowly beating the red-fawn dog (by three-quarters of a length and a length) in their two recent clashes over 484m at Casino.

Burnt Ends also followed his sister down to Wentworth Park for the Million Dollar Chase, finishing fifth in his semi-final behind Shetland.

Herd said there were strong prospects the Cup series could be strengthened with runners from the Sydney region and south-east Queensland.

He also paid tributed to the Cup\’s naming sponsor, the Charcoal Inn, for its enormous assistance over the years.

\”We must have one of the longest-running sponsorships of any club in the state,\” Herd said. \”The Charcoal Inn has been sponsoring the Casino Cup for almost 20 years.

\”It\’s been an extremely rewarding partnership, they\’re just great sponsors.\”

Recent Casino Cup winners: 2009: Within Site – Darryl Schafer; 2010: Bundanoon – Jeff Smith; 2011: Cawbourne Smash – Shane Ellis; 2012: Bralyn Midge – Brad Northfield; 2013: Glenreach Rocket – Gary Streatfield; 2014: Bralyn Stalker – Brad Northfield; 2015: Jack Kade – Anthony Azzopardi; 2016: Black Lee Bonus – Evelyn Harris; 2017: Terra Torra – Ryan Newstead; 2018: Fab Fit – Darren Russell; 2019: Fernando Blaster – Terence Jordan.

Caption: A happy group – trainer Mitch Northfield, his wife Cheryl and grandson Zac Northfield with talented sprinter Kooringa Lucy after one of her victories at Casino. (Photo: Lisa Vanderstok)

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