In AFL parlance, talented apprentice Aaron Mitchell has reached the grand final and is ready to play the game of his life.
The young jockey won’t be performing in front of 100,000 fans at the MCG, but for Mitchell the stakes are just as high at Ascot on Saturday.
Mitchell is days away from competing in the biggest race of his career in one of the state’s most prestigious races.
Mitchell will partner gun filly Seannie in the Group 2 $500,000 Karrakatta Plate (1200m) and the pressure is right on.
Seannie and Mitchell are out for redemption after they suffered a shock loss in last Saturday week’s Gimcrack Stakes (1100m).
The daughter of Sebring flashed home for an eye-catching third to Kiss Bang Love, but her hopes were cruelled at the barriers.
The Simon Miller-trained juvenile was slow away and lost vital ground, a trait she also performed in her first two races.
Suffering her first career defeat, the daughter of Sebring simply had too much ground to recover from the tail of the field.
Mitchell concedes in a high intensity race that Seannie cannot afford to have another slow start in the Karrakatta Plate.
But Perth’s leading apprentice is confident with barrier assistance and from barrier two, he can have Seannie prominently placed.
“We are going to get a barrier attendant on her tail and just have her switched on in the gates,” Mitchell said.
“If she can jump cleanly and position up a bit closer than what she has been racing she is going to be hard to beat.
“I’m sure there is going to be plenty of speed and if I could be fifth or sixth and one off the fence it would be perfect.
“The way she is racing she is definitely looking for 1200m and fingers crossed all goes well with her.”
Mitchell has wasted hard during the week to ride Seannie at 54.5kg, his lowest riding weight in four years.
If successful he joins his grandfather, Wally Mitchell, who trained Daney Boy to win the Karrakatta Plate in 1995.
Meanwhile Peter Knuckey believes Seannie is the biggest threat to his chances of claiming back-to-back Karrakatta Plate wins.
Knuckey, who last year steered home Whispering Brook, teams up with Seannie’s stable mate, Achernar Star.
He won his opening two starts and ran second to Lucy Mae when favourite in the Magic Millions WA 2YO Classic (1200m) at Pinjarra in February.
Achernar Star warmed up for her Karrakatta Plate assault with a warm up trial and Knuckey said with blinkers he worked to the line strongly.
“He is going good and trialled really really well with blinkers on,” Knuckey said.
“He has actually improved but Seannie who has drawn well is the one to beat.
“Of the two she has probably got the bigger engine and I’m going to have to be three or four lengths in front of her when turning for home.”
Seannie is a firm $2.75 favourite with the TAB. Achernar Star is at $8.
RWWA: Julio Santarelli