Mighty Lucky seeks to repeat golden summer

Jockey Chris O’Brien is confident Mighty Lucky can return to winning form in the Festival Stakes.

Fred and Irene Cowell are hoping to roll back the years over summer with the best horse they’ve ever had.

Mighty Lucky provided the highlight of the Gosford husband and wife’s long-standing association with racing two years ago when he won the Festival Stakes and Summer Cup.

He won the Group Three Lord Mayor’s Cup at Doomben in the winter but was below par this time last year.

But part-owner Irene Cowell and the eight-year-old’s regular jockey Chris O’Brien are confident he can replicate his 2015 successes, culminating in the Summer Cup on Boxing Day at Randwick.

Mighty Lucky is among 12 nominations for the Group Three Festival Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill on Saturday.

The gelding began his preparation in the Group Two Theo Marks Stakes in which he ran last of seven but bounced back to finish second to Washington Heights in the Group Two Shannon Stakes (1500m) a fortnight later.

“He’s going along nicely and he’s as fit as we can get him for Saturday. He’s working well and he’s healthy,” Irene Cowell said.

Mighty Lucky heads back to Sydney after experiencing misfortune when fourth in the Listed Ladies Day Cup (1400m) at Hawkesbury on November 9.

“He got screwed around probably five or six times,” O’Brien said.

“All his runs have been pretty good. He shot through in the Shannon like he was going to win it and he just ran into an in-form horse.

Mighty Lucky again faces a tough field with the Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott-trained Cabeza De Vaca aiming for his sixth consecutive victory.

But O’Brien felt Mighty Lucky was mirroring the form that enabled him to win the 2015 Festival Stakes and Group Three Summer Cup (2000m) either side of a fifth in the Group Two Villiers Stakes (1600m).

“He’s back in the same frame that he was when he was winning in town,” O’Brien said.

“Last year Fred could never quite get him right. We couldn’t find out what it was.”

Fred Cowell has been plagued by leg ulcers for two years but the 77-year-old trainer still takes a keen interest in Mighty Lucky and his seven stablemates.

“He gets up and about and gives us the instructions and then he doesn’t mind getting in the little electric car (wheelchair) to zoom round the neighbourhood,” O’Brien said.

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