Jeff Britton is hoping Sunday afternoon’s star-studded Winter Cup final (350m) at Healesville will lead to bigger and better things both up the straight and around the circle for classy duo Mr. Fix It and Mepunga Knight.
Mr. Fix It and Mepunga Knight both impressed on debut at Healesville last weekend as they head towards Saturday week’s (July 17) heats of the G1 Maturity Classic at The Meadows and the G2 Healesville Cup in September.
Mr. Fix It, the winner of 14 from 35, defeated 2020 Healesville Cup champion Zambora Lou in the first of two heats, clocking a smart 19.29sec.
Mepunga Knight (13 from 31) snuck through to the $5000 to-the-winner final when running a close fourth to fastest qualifier Dr. Tucker in 19.02sec (BOD).
Britton was pleasantly surprised with both performances but is far from confident heading into the final, acknowledging the enormous depth in the straight track showdown as Healesville’s Festival of Racing heats up.
“It’s an exceptional field – it’s like a Healesville Cup,” Britton said.
“It’s one of those races where you can’t be confident.
“I’m not expecting too much but it’s really a hit-out for the Healesville Cup and they’ll have had two runs on the track when the Cup comes around.
“The heat fields were very good and I didn’t expect Mr. Fix It to win.
“Mepunga Knight was in the harder heat and he actually went quicker in finishing fourth (19.26sec) than Mr. Fix It.”
Mr. Fix It has now won two in a row after a Brisbane campaign where he ran second in a heat of the G2 Flying Amy Classic, while Mepunga Knight has won four from seven since returning from two months on the sidelines.
Britton isn’t overly concerned about Mr. Fix It drawing box six for Sunday’s decider, while he says Mepunga Knight will be advantaged by the move from box seven to box one.
“They hadn’t been to Healesville before and I think they both should improve,” Britton said.
“They’re not badly drawn. Mr. Fix It has box six but he’ll run fairly straight and I think the ‘red’ will be better for Mepunga Knight because he drew wide last week and headed for the rails.
“They’re both Maturity dogs but with the big races coming up at Healesville I thought it was a good opportunity to give them a look at the track.
“I think we’ll have about dozen for the Maturity, not the superstars like Aston Rupee and Aston Fastnet but good dogs.
“Mr. Fix It loves The Meadows (eight from 15) but when he’s gone interstate he’s been a bit of a flop.
“Mepunga Knight has run 29.85sec at The Meadows. He had a couple of months off with an injury and his runs have been really good since coming back. He ran 22.22sec at Geelong in the Pink Diamond heats.”
Britton’s partner Angela Langton has two finalists in Sunday’s Vic Bred Mixed final (350m), worth $4250 to-the-winner, in heat winners Weblec Ranger (19.59sec) and Weblec Thunder (19.61sec).
WATCH: Mr Fix It (8) topples reigning Healesville Cup hero Zambora Lou (7), posting 19.29sec, in a Winter Cup heat last Sunday.
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