By Glenn Davis
Caloundra trainer Natalie McCall is hopeful Winston Smurfhill can vindicate her decision to test the former Victorian in city midweek grade at Eagle Farm on Wednesday.
Winston Smurfhill has hit a purple patch of form and will be chasing a hat-trick of wins when the five-year-old tackles the Class 5 Handicap over 1400 metres.
A son of Mahisara, Winston Smurfhill is coming off a narrow win over the Trevor Miller-trained Better Lad in a 1400 metre Benchmark race on his home track at the Sunshine Coast on August 6.
“He was super tough last win and he tries so hard,” McCall said.
Winston Smurfhill in his second preparation for McCall after arriving in her stables 18 months ago from Victorian trainer Ben Brisbourne.
Since joining McCall’s stable, Winston Smurfhill has started 11 times for three wins and four placings.
“His original owner sent him to me but after his first preparation he was put up for sale so I bought him online for $12,000,” McCall said.
“We put some new owners into him and a few of his previous owners stayed in as well.
“He’s going well but I haven’t done much differently with him other than to ride him a bit more forward in his races.”
McCall has 25 horses in work at Caloundra and is best known for famous Stradbroke Handicap win with River Lad in 2014.
Winston Smurfhill – a Luke Tarrant mount – will be joined in the Class 5 event on Wednesday by stable-mate Fastconi who has struggled in all three starts this campaign.
James Orman will ride Fastconi on Wednesday afternoon for McCall.
“I think Winston Smurfhill deserves his chance in town as he’s going super,” McCall said.
“He was very light and immature when I first got him and he was hard to get going in his first campaign.
“He should run well although this is a step up in grade for him.
“He’s racing well, so now is the time to give him his chance.”
McCall plans to give Winston Smurfhill a short break after this assignment and believes he could measure up to Saturday class down the track.
Winston Smurfhill is a grand-daughter of dual Group 1 winner Lady Jakeo who won the 1993 Blue Diamond Stakes at Caulfield and Australia Stakes at Moonee Valley in 1994.