RIGHT from the start there was plenty for David and Desleigh Parish to like about Metro Mike.
“He did everything easy. He was a natural,” Desleigh said.
And it was this early development that laid the foundation for where he is now – running in group 1 company in Saturday night’s $120,000 PETstock Ballarat Pacing Cup, 2710m.
There is always a special satisfaction for owners when they are also the breeders and this has certainly been the case for the Parishes with Metro Mike.
The Coghills Creek couple had purchased filly Tuscan Skies as a yearling, but unfortunately a mishap meant she was unable to race.
The obvious move was to send her to the breeding barn. Not everything went her way there either, but her last foal hit the jackpot for the Parishes. It was Metro Mike.
The Parishes initially trained him as a two-year-old. He won on debut at Geelong and went on to take out two races in nine starts in that season before being transferred to the care of Bendigo trainer Tony Dillon.
He enjoyed a short, but highly successful stint with Dillon – winning five of eight outings as three-year-old.
Metro Mike’s time with Dillon ended when the horseman decided to step away from training to focus on shoeing and it was then that he joined Emma Stewart’s Smythes Creek team.
That was three years ago and the now seven-year-old has gone on to win another 13 races, as well as being placed in three listed races.
“He’s been as lot of fun,” Desleigh said.
David and Desleigh agreed that the Ballarat Pacing Cup was a significant step up for Metro Mike, but one they were confident he would more than hold his own in.
“Always gives his best.”
Metro Mike, with leading young reinsman Jason Lee in the sulky, has drawn ideally in gate one – a barrier Stewart believes the gelding can make the most of with his early speed.
David Parish said while this was their first starter in the Ballarat Cup – Metro Mike was an emergency for the 2014 edition of the race won by stablemate Restrepo – his family had bred 1984 runner-up Kallawarra King, which after being sold as a yearling went on to be a prolific winner in South Australia.
While the Parishes are seeking their first winner in the Cup, Emma Stewart and partner Clayton Tonkin are pursuing a third success.
They would with Safari in 2008 and then again with Restrepo.
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