Mickelson loves new home
By BRAD GREENSHIELDS
IT'S not just humans that are finding that the grass of Coffs Harbour is greener through a seachange but it appears horses are benefitting from the different scenery just as much.
The five year-old gelding Mickelson has had a hard time of it in the big smoke but is settling in well to the slower pace that life in this town offers.
Trainer Trent Greentree might have had Mickelson in his stable for only eight weeks but he can already see the improvement that a change in address has brought.
"He's loving it here, he's a totally different horse," Greentree said.
"When he came down he looked very skinny and he just wasn't right in the coat and you could see that he'd had a bit of a rough time in Brisbane.
"He was just a very scattery type of horse, he wouldn't relax and do anything and everywhere he wanted to go he was hyperactive at doing it but he's a different horse now, everywhere he goes he's a pleasure to do anything with."
When Raymond Spokes jumps on board Mickelson during tomorrow's New Year's Day picnic meeting at Coffs Harbour, he'll find himself on a much stronger horse that has put on 15 kilos of muscle since he came under Greentree's watchful eye.
But it was more than muscle that Greentree needed to concentrate on to turn his fortunes and behaviour around.
"It's just basically trying to get his head right, that's been the hardest thing," the trainer added.
"We're just trying to get him to settle down a bit now and just focus on being a racehorse but he's getting there, he's a hell of a lot better horse now to do anything with.
"We used to try to walk him anywhere before and he wouldn't walk for you but now he's got to the point where he's a gentleman to do anything with and he's really settled down now."
Mickelson missed the jump by nearly 20 lengths in his first start for the new stable but showed dramatic improvement with some gear changes to finish second a month ago behind Stashed Away.
Coming in a distant third that race was Frisco Bopper and Greentree admits that he along with the Paul Smith trained Frosty Boy are the main dangers that Mickelson faces tomorrow.
"He won't disgrace himself, I would've liked a bit more rain in between now and Sunday, it would've been a big help but we're not going to get it," he said of the gelding's chances.
"His work has been fine, he's come along in leaps and bounds since his run the other day when he ran second.
"He should be thereabouts somewhere with a bit of luck and if he gets a nice run throughout the race."