First-up win won?t surprise
By BRAD GREENSHIELDS
WHEN looking through the form for today's opening race at Coffs Harbour's Melbourne Cup meeting, don't be put off by the long spell that the Trent Greentree trained Spirit Of Shinko has enjoyed since his last start.
Greentree says the time away from the track was necessary but added that it had been a huge benefit to the four-year-old gelding.
"The reason that he's been out of action so long is because he had a chip taken out of one knee when he was in Brisbane," the young trainer said yesterday.
"He went out, had four or five months in the paddock, then he came into me and had a slight little preparation just to make sure everything was hunky dory with him. He went and had another little break after that and now he's been back in work for about 10 weeks."
"Everything is so far, so good. He hasn't shown any harm."
Looking at the breeding, it's easy to see how the Shinko gelding commanded a $60,000 sale price as a yearling and before his injury, there were some big wraps on Greentree Lodge's latest resident.
"He ran second in a trial in a really fast time and they had a decent opinion of him before his first start," Greentree added.
"It was a bit of a disappointing run in his first start but under the circumstances with the chip in his knee, you can write that off."
Running in today's Norco Maiden Plate, Greentree said victory wasn't all important but punters shouldn't raise any eyebrows if Spirit was first past the post.
"We just wanted to put a run out, it's more of a sound out thing, as long as he pulls up safe, sound and happy out of that, we'll look to the bigger fish after that," he said.
"It's basically along the lines of kicking him off on a non-TAB day and if he can get a kill it's an added bonus.
"We're basically using it along the lines of the trial, if we happen to pick up a cheque well it's more money off the training fees for a while.
"I will be disappointed if he doesn't get a placing."