Saturday, July 20, 2019
Local trainer Dita Mitchell, after success at the previous Thursday’s time-graded meeting at Tara Raceway with African Leopard, continued her good run last Thursday when littermates Red Hat Ruby and Bob Square Pants were both successful for the first time this year.
For African Leopard, a giveaway from WA where he won four races, the Mount Gambier win was his first for Mitchell who had taken over the 4½-year-old son of Dyna Nalin x African Wave in February this year.
In fact, the win had been the black dog’s first since August last year when he had won at Northam after three previous wins over a 12 month period at Mandurah.
Jumping from box four in the Swallow Drive Meats Stake (512 metres), African Leopard never looked like losing when leading all the way to defeat Ryben Bill by 2¾ lengths in 30.57 seconds, Mitchell conceding after the race that she had been just about ready to give up on him.
“Yes, I had been close to pulling the pin after a frustrating period when I had been unable to stabilise his racing weight – to the extent that on two occasions I received fines on a race day and had the dog scratched because of weight variation.
“Anyway, that problem seems to be sorted now and it was a terrific thrill to finally win a race with him,” said Mitchell who relocated from Victoria to Tarpeena 2½ years ago.
Red Hat Ruby, who last won at Tara Raceway in October last year, made up for a so-far frustrating 2019 when quickly railing through to find the front in last Thursday’s Metal Worx Stake (400 m), before running out a 6½ length winner in 23.57 seconds.
By Banjo Boy, Red Hat Ruby is out of Jeanie’s Wish, a winner of four Victorian provincial races for Mitchell, who picked her up as a five-month-old pup for $100.
Red Hat Ruby only returned to the track earlier this month after a four month break due to a toe injury sustained in March.
Later in the day, litter brother Bob Square Pants gave Mitchell her second winner when he finished full of running to defeat Maunganui Magic and the early leader Another Scenario in the Gordon Refrigeration Stake (400 m) in 23.50 seconds.
Bob Square Pants is the dog that created a huge impression on debut last December when winning at his first start in 22.96 seconds for the 400 metre journey – at the time the second-fastest short-course maiden winner ever at the track.
While Red Hat Ruby and Bob Square Pants are now rising four-year-olds, they have raced on only 13 and 10 occasions respectively due to their fair share of setbacks along the way.
As such, Mitchell’s first-ever double was certainly a worthy reward for her patience and perseverance.