MISHANI Istana may head to Inverell for a New Year’s Day “mile” after the mare won Wednesday’s White Hart Hotel Murrurundi Cup over 2000 metres.
The Stephen Dixon-trained six-year-old daughter of Oratorio was given an armchair ride by jockey Daniel Northey to slot in behind the two leaders, Whakatane and Stirling Shadow.
Northey then popped Mishani Istana out turning down and around the home bend but had to work hard to beat Robert Knight’s Whakatane by a half length.
Sally Torrens’ Stirling Shadow was a length and three quarters away in third.
“She will back up,” Dixon said of a 1600m benchmark 66 handicap he has nominated her for at next Tuesday’s Inverell Cup meeting.
There were 12 nominations for that race with nominations extended until 11am on Thursday.
“She’s back to a mile up there,” Dixon added.
“[She] had it pretty easy today.”
Winning jockey Daniel Northey agreed.
The 28-year-old is relishing his return to the saddle in recent months after an horrific fall shattered his pelvis and severed his bladder.
The fall meant Northey sat on the sidelines for 12 months.
“It’s been pretty good,” he said of his last few months.
“Good to be back.”
The Murrurundi Cup win was his second race win in the HNWRA since his fall.
In the day’s other feature race, Quirindi trainer Geoff O’Brien claimed a personal honour by taking out the Cactus Wilson Memorial with Dominica.
The race held sentimental value for O’Brien being long-time friends with the late Wilson.
O’Brien had said in the lead up to Wednesday’s meeting he would “I'd give my right arm to win it”.
Dominica proved too strong for her competitors, finishing two lengths in front of Honour Your Offer in second and three lengths ahead of Freedom Fighter in third.
Rising apprentice star Wendy Peel proved the difference as she rod Dominica to victory, adding to her rich vein of form, which included a treble at Armidale recently.
O’Brien’s other hope for the race Mahlia also showed promise, finishing fifth in her second start at Quirindi.