Shannon Fry happily goes the extra mile with Sofin, the mare who convinced the Bowraville farrier to persevere as a small scale bush trainer.
The pair took their trip at Nambucca Heads on Tuesday, where the beach time is about business and pleasure ahead of Saturday’s Listed Lord Mayor’s Cup (2000m) at Rosehill.
Fry used to have up to eight in work but when the training facilities at Bowraville closed shortly after the now seven-year-old joined his stable, he was close to shutting up shop.
He could not commit to taking horses on the 120km round trip to Coffs Harbour for track work.
Fortunately Sofin took to beach training and swimming in the Maxwell River.
“I thought I’d try her down the beach and swim her. She kicked off pretty good in the first few races so we haven’t changed it,” he said.
Fry said the Bowraville’s relative isolation on the NSW mid-north coast hinterland made it impractical to manage more than the two horses he has in work – four-year-old gelding He Zoffan Gone completes his team.
“It makes it hard to have a lot of horses in the stable but you don’t mind doing that extra time and miles when you’ve got a horse like Sofin,” he said.
“Luckily she’s a joy to train.”
Sofin, a $6000 purchase by Fry’s long-term supporter Byron Fegan, has had five attempts at adding black-type to her record since stepping up in grade after winning the Port Macquarie Cup in 2016.
Fifth placings in last year’s Group Three Belle Of The Turf and Epona Stakes are her best results so far.
Fry admitted his fourth trip to Sydney in search of black-type with Sofin was not the original plan.
“I put a late nomination in because we’re right down in the weights and I think she’s got enough of a motor to stick it into them,” Fry said.
Barrier four in the 10-strong field was irrelevant, though booking a jockey capable of riding at 53kg could be an issue.
“The weight will be take a few jockeys out of the pool but the beauty of Sofin is she’s not a hard to ride,” Fry said.
“You don’t have to a Hugh Bowman on or anything like that to really capitalise on her.”
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