Noel Mayfield-Smith’s rehabilitation plan to return Romney’s Choice to racing after a last-start fall only has one element outside his control.
Unfortunately for the Hawkesbury trainer, the mare has drawn precisely where he didn’t want her to be when the 11-strong field for a Benchmark Handicap (1200m) jumps on Saturday at Rosehill.
After such a traumatic incident at Warwick Farm in late May, Mayfield-Smith was anxious for the four-year-old to be allocated a wide gate out of harm’s way so she could work back into racing without feeling cluttered.
“I’ve put in her in this race because it’s a beautiful big track, roomy, nice running, no need to bustle and I’ve drawn barrier one. The last place I wanted to be was on the rail,” Mayfield-Smith said.
Romney’s Choice was in exactly that position as she rounded the turn at Warwick Farm before she crashed into the barrier and toppled over.
Luckily Romney’s Choice and apprentice Nick Heywood were not seriously injured and Mayfield-Smith will soon learn if she suffered any lasting psychological damage.
“That’s the unknown. She’s still as aggressive in her work as she always has been so it looks like nothing’s worried her,” he said.
Mayfield-Smith said Romney’s Choice suffered deep bruising but sessions with masseuse Jenny Carroll eased the pain.
“She had a lot of fluid in the muscle at the top of the off-side shoulder,” he said.
“She wasn’t excessively lame. She was just a bit stiff. Jenny got it all out of there.
“I want to put her through her grades at this stage and see if she keeps lining up then see if she can possibly measure up to something a little bit better later on.”