Brett Mathews’ transition from jockey to trainer at Kalgoorlie last season was an unqualified success.
13 winners, third place in the trainer’s premiership and a Coolgardie Cup with Western Blaze, capped a dream start to his training career.
Mathews shows no signs of slowing down and has carried his stables form over from the goldfields to Esperance this season.
He has prepared seven winners and one second placing from nine starts with only Rio Flyer to finish outside of the placings.
Headlining Mathews’ charge has been Cee I Ay and Ignite The Sky who have found a new lease of life under his tutelage.
After arriving as a maiden Ignite The Sky has struck back by putting together an unbeaten sequence of four straight wins.
His previous start on January 8 was rated his best by Mathews when he defeated Valmont by a dominant 1 ¼ lengths.
Mathews says he is confident Ignite The Sky can overcame a distance query in the XXXX Gold Handicap (1600m) on Friday.
The son of Husson Lighting has failed in two previous attempts over the mile when under the care of David Harrison.
“I don’t think it will pose a problem and I believe he will get over further ground,” Matthews said.
“I think he is learning all the time and I know David Harrison has a big wrap on him.
“It was just a matter of him finding confidence after that first win.
“I like the way he is finding the line at the moment.”
Cee I Ay can get the ball rolling early for Mathews when he meets a small field of five, headed by Hussars and Washington Square in race one.
Cee I Ay has bragging rights over Hussars after running over the top of the gelding on January 8, but the runner-up picks up 1kg on the winner.
Washington Square and Cee I Ay renew acquaintances and clash for the third time this season with the score line tied at one win each.
Cee I Ay took out their first encounter easily but suffered his first loss at Esperance when Washington Square turned the tables next start.
Mathews said Cee I Aye was desperately unlucky after a slow beginning and should also be holding an unbeaten record at Esperance this season.
“He flew home after messing the start and should have won,” Mathews said.
“He has done everything I could have asked of him and he is running times.
“If he is to get beaten Hussars looks the danger.”
Ignite The Sky and Cee I Aye will both be ridden by in-form jockey, Lisa Staples who rode four winners at the previous Esperance meeting on January 8.
Mathews said Cee I Aye and Ignite The Sky were on trial for a Perth trip if they ran to expectations on Friday.
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