WHIRLWIND Ascent begins his tilt at a Country Championship when the Muswellbrook gelding runs in Friday’s $20,000 Preview Class 4 Handicap (1300m) at Scone.
The Mark Schmetzer trained four-year-old is the lone Muswellbrook entrant for a race the trainer is hoping will be a launching pad to the March 5 Country Championship Qualifier at Scone.
“That’s the plan,” Schmetzer said.
“It’s been the goal since his owner bought him.”
Sydneysider Doug Mullins bought the lightly raced four-year-old gelding specifically to race in the Country Championships and gave him to Schmetzer to train.
He had won his maiden at Mudgee for then trainer, former Muswellbrook horseman Mack Griffith, but has had five runs now for Schmetzer, winning one and finishing an unlucky third at Canterbury.
“He was unlucky there too,” Mark said of a half length third.
“Unlucky not to win. He’s still doing a bit wrong too, still immature. Once the penny drops, though, he will be a nice horse. “
Schmetzer tasted success with him at Tamworth before his third to Sunny Fame at Canterbury last preparation.
After a three-month spell he trialled at Newcastle and then ran a 5.8 length eighth to Dubai Sights at Port Macquarie.
“You can forget that run,” he said.
“He can only improve.”
That Whirlwind Ascent has had just the eight starts means he might be able to have a double dip at the Country Championships.
“Whether this year or next, or both, it would be good,” he added.