The winning performance of a rival trainer’s horse has boosted Noel Mayfield-Smith’s confidence as he takes aim at Saturday’s $250,000 Inglis Nursery with two-year-old Standard Bearer.
The David Payne-trained Regimental Pride beat Standard Bearer by just a short half-head at Rosehill in October and reinforced that win with victory on Saturday to race into contention for the Magic Millions.
Standard Bearer won a barrier trial at Rosehill on Friday as a pipe-opener to the Warwick Farm race for two-year-old graduates of William Inglis sales.
“It was good to see Regimental Pride win again,” Mayfield-Smith said.
“People told me it wasn’t a very strong form race when he beat Standard Bearer but they may turn out to be wrong.
“I’m happy going to Saturday’s race although I would be a lot happier if the race was at Randwick rather than Warwick Farm because I think he would be better suited there.”
The colt was one of 15 youngsters nominated on Monday for the Warwick Farm race and is headed to the Inglis Classic (1200m) at Rosehill on January 19.
He is a son of Choisir, the most accomplished graduate of the Inglis Classic sale with his Group One wins in Australia and England culminating in a lucrative deal to stand at Coolmore Stud.
Mayfield-Smith isn’t looking that far ahead just yet with Standard Bearer whose $16,750 second prize money from his debut almost recouped his $20,000 purchase price.
“He’s entered for the Golden Slipper but that’s a long way off,” he said.
“The bar keeps getting lifted with the two-year-olds as they go on so he will show the way.
“The Inglis Classic is as far ahead as we are looking at the moment.”
The trainer liked Standard Bearer as soon as he saw him but was lucky to get him.
“We bought another colt by Sebring which took up my budget and then this colt came into the ring,” he said.
“He was at $18,000 and John Cannon who raced Landsighting with me was there and told me to put in one bid and see what happened and we got him for $20,000.”
Landsighting, rated by Mayfield-Smith as the best horse he has trained, was a dual dual Group One winner of the 2000 Stradbroke Handicap and 2001 George Ryder Stakes.