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By Graham Potter | Saturday, April 8, 2023

The very smart Foxwedge gelding Mississippi Prince made a winning return to action when resuming after a five-and-a-half month layoff in a QTIS Class 6 Plate over 1350m at Doomben on April 8.

The four-year-old had struggled to make headway early in his career, having two unplaced starts during 2021 with those runs coming as far apart as May and November, but a dramatic turnaround in his fortunes came when he was transferred to Rockhampton based trainer Kerrod Smyth.

Mississippi Prince resumed in his first start for Smyth on June 3, 2022, winning a Maiden first-up and quickly moving on to add another two wins (and a runner-up finish) to his record in his next three starts.

The last of those win was in the $50 000 Magic Millions Whitsunday QTIS Three-Year-Old Guineas over 1560m in Mackay and, with the horse going so well, Mississippi Prince returned to the yard of trainer Brent Gray, who he had started out with, to test his mettle in South-East Queensland where he opened his campaign with two successive wins at the Gold Coast over 1200m and 1350m, both on heavy going.

That took his winning sequence to four straight wins ... and five wins from his last six starts ... after which he was spelled for those five months before being asked to step up to metropolitan company at Doomben with Mark Du Plessis entrusted with the task of guiding Mississippi Prince through his next challenge where he would start at odds of $9.50.

Du Plessis’s first task was to successfully negotiate the perils of a wide barrier draw (10 out of 12) and he did that in the required measured fashion doing enough to ease Mississippi into the lead by the time the field had covered 150m, without putting too much pressure on the Gray trained runner.

Once there it was a question of managing the speed and, again, Du Plessis ensured that Mississippi Prince was well enough rated to have something in hand for the run home.

And he needed to have that when the race went on in earnest on straightening.

The $2.90 favourite Astero, who had tracked Mississippi Prince throughout, was quick to move up to challenge the long-time leader, slipping up along Mississippi Prince’s inside in menacing fashion.

Astero actually narrowly headed Mississippi Prince as these two runners joined issue in a tough, stride-for-stride battle down the whole length of the straight ... and, with the $6 chance Alburg also joining in the fight after switching around heels and closing ground late, the race came down to a pulsating three-way go to the line where Mississippi Prince and Du Plessis were strong enough to prevail by a very narrow margin.

That’s five wins in a row for Mississippi Prince, and his race record now boasts wins over 1050m to 1560m on all types of going (from a good 4, to a soft 6 to a heavy 10).

Still one run shy of his tenth start, the $215 800 earned in prize-money looks pretty good in the ledger.

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Photos: Graham Potter
Photos: Graham Potter
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