“Dreams do come true”

Call Me Royal and Matt Cameron capping a memorable day for Tarissa Mitchell.

Call Me Royal and Matt Cameron capping a memorable day for Tarissa Mitchell.

When Tarissa Mitchell bid farewell to a couple of yearlings three years ago she never imagined they would return to provide her with her most memorable day in racing.

At Ellerslie yesterday Mitchell, a former successful apprentice jockey, saddled up the pair, Irish Call and Call Me Royal, to both win in the hands of Matt Cameron and the manner in which they scored suggests there are more celebrations in store.

Mitchell has just the two horses in work and Call Me Royal had credited her with her first training success when winning on a wet track at Tauranga last September and had picked up four placings, including three seconds, in six starts leading up to yesterday’s assignment, the Auckland Co-Op Taxis 2100.

Irish Call had also shown much promise before yesterday’s Pegasus Equine 1400, winning a trial at Te Teko last November then finished a long neck second in his debut at Tauranga on December 11.

“I was pretty confident they would both go well,” said Mitchell,” but you can’t be too confident in this game. I’ve been in it long enough to know that.”

Mitchell admits to feeling a bit of pressure leading into yesterday’s meeting. “But I was way more relaxed after the first win (by Irish Call),” she said. “I’m so proud of my boys. They try so hard and I love them to bits. Dreams do come true.”

Irish Call and Call Me Royal are both four-year-old sons of Civics, the under-rated sire who stands at Cambridge Thoroughbred Lodge, and it was during her time working at the Cambridge property for owner Ada Parnwell that Mitchell was first attracted to both horses.

Irish Call clearing maiden ranks in good style.

Irish Call clearing maiden ranks in good style.

“Jeff Lynds came up and was going to take two of Ada’s horses home to train,” said Mitchell, recalling the occasion in January 2013. “I took him around the paddocks and he ended up picking out these two. They were my two favourites and he took them.”

That’s the last Mitchell expected to see of both horses, but after Parnwell died in June 2014 the pair returned to Cambridge Lodge without being tried.

“Jeff had spent a lot of time with them but I don’t think he even got them galloping,” said Mitchell. “After Ada died they sat in a paddock for ninth months then I asked to train them.”

Mitchell has leased both Irish Call and Call Me Royal and races them in partnership with her mother, Robyne, who unfortunately missed the big occasion yesterday.

“Mum was in the Coromandel doing the markets so she couldn’t get to Ellerslie, but she wished she had come,” said Mitchell.

It hasn’t all been plain-sailing with Irish Call and Mitchell admits she was close to pulling the plug on a start at Ellerslie yesterday.

“He’s been shin sore off and on and I was so close to scratching him,” she said. “The rain helped, plus I’d done plenty of swimming with him. He got away with it and won well, but he did change his legs a few times in the straight.”

Mitchell now plans to give Irish Call a quiet week with a couple of days swimming toward the end of it and has her fingers crossed she will get him to Ellerslie on Karaka Million night (January 24).

“There are three $50,000 special condition options for him, over 1200, 1400 and 1600,” said Mitchell. “He’ll probably go for the 1200 or 1400, but I won’t run him unless he’s right.”

Call Me Royal has failed to pick up a cheque only twice in 10 starts and Mitchell plans to take it quietly with him.

“He can have three or four weeks out,” she said. “He’s done a lot in his first prep and I’ll look at having him back before the winter sets in.”

Call Me Royal put $12,000 into the coffers with yesterday’s win, while Irish Call picked up prize money of $5900, making it a profitable day for Mitchell.

“But with just two horses in work I can’t just rely on training,” she said. “I also ride trackwork for a few trainers and do some gardening jobs. It all keeps me busy.

“There are a lot of people to thank, especially Denise Venn. I keep my horses at her place and she’s a big help.”

Mitchell has been flooded with emails, texts and calls congratulating her on her training feat, but it wasn’t until after driving the float home last night that she could relax and toast her two “boys” on a day she will never forget.