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Mitchell gives progressive Lady Cherokee her chance in the Oaks

Sir Lincoln filly Lady Cherokee is impressing trainer Todd Mitchell so much he has thrown in a nomination for the $125,000 Northern Oaks at Auckland on March 1.

And Mitchell plans to give Lady Cherokee her first look at Alexandra Park on Friday night in an up to rating 70 race for fillies and mares.

“I know the Oaks is a big ask but she continues to impress me,’’ says Mitchell who believes with the paucity of fillies seen out lately she deserves her chance in what could be a depleted line-up.

Lady Cherokee hardly had the ideal preparation for her latest win at Cambridge last Thursday night when she led all the way over 1700 metres.

It had been five weeks since her debut win on the course and in the meantime Mitchell had scratched her twice after not being happy with her work.

“Her blood was out and took three weeks to a month to come right.

Todd Mitchell … continues to be impressed by Lady Cherokee.Todd Mitchell … continues to be impressed by Lady Cherokee.“She hadn’t had a workout or anything and I was a bit worried before the race because she looked a bit burly.’’

Mitchell need not have worried, however, as Lady Cherokee left the gate fast to take the early lead.

But when Mitchell made the front Lady Cherokee’s ignorance of pacemaking soon became evident and he constantly had to shake the reins and flick her with the whip.

“She’s never been a front-runner at the trials. She was looking around the whole time and noticing everything going on around her.”

Mitchell thought the filly was even going to pull up on him before the winning post a round from home when she spotted someone on a quadbike inside the track 100 metres away.

“She just doesn’t concentrate and it’s not ’til you ask her to get serious that she knuckles down. It looked like that horse (Hezaluckygrinner) was going to run past her up the home straight, but when she saw it, she picked up again.’’

Lady Cherokee went away by three-quarters of a length to win in a mile rate of 1:58.8 for the 1700 metres, home in 57.7 and 27.4.

Mitchell says Lady Cherokee is the same in her work at home, only doing what she has to.

“She’s not a good trackwalker but she has a nice heart rate.

“But I’d rather one like her that improves at the races than the ones that work really well at home and don’t reproduce it on the racetrack.’’

Race Images - Gallops

Sir Lincoln Top 10

Did you know…

1. CUP DAY BIRTH: It was preordained Sir Lincoln would be a headliner when he was born just hours before the 2006 New Zealand Trotting Cup at Addington. Three years later to the day, and almost the hour, he annihilated his rivals on the same course in the Sires’ Stakes Final.

2. AGE NO BARRIER: In his second last race start, at the age of six, Sir Lincoln paced the fastest 1700 metres in New Zealand history, 2:00.5, beating Gold Ace and clocking a mile rate of 1:54 at Alexandra Park. Champion pacer Elsu held the previous record at 2:01.1.

3. ON THREE LEGS: Sir Lincoln ran his last race virtually on three legs, when second to Terror To Love in an Interdominion heat at Auckland. He had to be pulled out of the Melbourne series, and retired, when found to have a subluxated pastern joint - basically his ankle joint was dislocated.

4. SWIFT GOLDEN MILE: Sir Lincoln’s fastest mile was recorded in the 2012 Group III Golden Mile at Menangle in Sydney when he was nosed out by Captain Joy in 1:51.4. He was known by the name Lincoln Royal in Australia.

5. AT THE REINS: One for the trivia fans - how many drivers did Sir Lincoln have in his 57-start career? Maurice McKendry was Linc’s pilot throughout his career but he was MIA four times when the horse was handled by James Stormont, Ken Barron and Blake Fitzpatrick (twice).

6. WINNERS KEEP COMING: In only his third season with runners on the track, Sir Lincoln has already sired the winners of 30 races despite having limited numbers to represent him. Last season in New Zealand alone he had 16 winners from only 39 starters and this term he already has six winners from just 18 starters.

7. SOMEBEACH SOME RAP: Breeding buffs made a beeline for Sir Lincoln after superstar racehorse and stallion Somebeachsomewhere had to be put down with cancer. Sir Lincoln is 7/8th bred on the same cross as Somebeachsomewhere - by Mach Three out of a Beach Towel mare who is in turn out of a Cam Fella mare.

8. DISCOUNT FOR LOYALTY: Broodmare owners are returning to Sir Lincoln in droves. Taken by the attractive foals he is leaving, many book straight back to the Alabar-based sire and take advantage of Lincoln Farms’ loyalty scheme which cuts his service fee in half to just $1250 plus GST.

9. TIME BEST FRIEND: Sir Lincoln’s progeny are mirroring the sire’s own start on the racetrack, benefitting from a little time to mature. The best the horse himself could manage as a two-year-old was one third from four starts but he was a different animal at three, winning four of his first five starts.

10. MEGASTAR’S FREAK DEATH: A freak accident claimed the life of valuable broodmare Lincoln’s Megastar, a full sister to Sir Lincoln. The mare, who opened her career with a nine and a half length walloping at Auckland, was retired after six wins, but left only one foal. She was killed when crushed by a fallen tree in a violent storm. Woodlands Stud has another full sister in two-year-old Moonlighting who is in training with Ray Green.