Lost in translation: Nick Mitchell set for first ever runner at Randwick, via Newmarket and Japan

Adding to the international flavour: French jockey Thomas Huet will partner Real Impact on Saturday. Photo: Greg Totman
苏州美甲美睫培训学校

Adding to the international flavour: French jockey Thomas Huet will partner Real Impact on Saturday. Photo: Greg Totman

Adding to the international flavour: French jockey Thomas Huet will partner Real Impact on Saturday. Photo: Greg Totman

Kris Lees has six runners, Bede Murray three … and Nick Mitchell is just rapt to have his first ever runner at Royal Randwick.

Except this time don’t expect the subtitles to be needed for any pre-race interview, like the ones Japanese television producers thought were required.

“I can speak to Japanese people and they understand me fine, but if I do an interview on television in Japanese they’ll put subtitles up,” the little-known Hawkesbury trainer said of a near decade-long stint in Japan.

While he might be conceding plenty in terms of numbers to the likes of Lees and Murray in the inaugural Provincial Championship final, few can boast of such a diverse education.

Having spent time under his father Pat, who trained out of Newmarket in the United Kingdom, and later with Darley, Mitchell then spent the majority of his education in Japan.

Foreigners, or gaijin as the Japanese refer to them, aren’t allowed to have thoroughbreds under their name in the land of the rising sun. Needless to say, Mitchell was pulling the strings with a lot of horses which raced over there.

“They’ve got some of the best horses in the world,” Mitchell said. “It kind of felt at times you had to drag them kicking and screaming into the right century at times with some of their methods pretty drastic and Jurassic. I’ve got no regrets and there’s no right way or wrong way to train any horse. Every horse you have can teach you something.”

Having returned home to Europe, in his own words Mitchell “didn’t like” being back. On a whim he set off to Australia and landed as a foreman for Tim Martin. “I was just waiting for my visa so I could start up on my own and finally the right visa came through,” Mitchell said. “As soon as I did I started on my own.”

Starting on his own meant just two horses – one a horse he said was “a mess” and needed a year in the paddock to overcome a multitude of knee and feet issues. The horse was Radical Impact, which Mitchell affectionately describes as an “airhead” and “wired to the moon” as a typical Snitzel.

The trainer has taken on a highwire act of his own in trying to qualify Radical Impact for the Provincial Championship final, first making sure he didn’t exceed the amount of starts to fit the criteria and then ambitiously running first-up in the Wyong heat, where he finished third.

“He is hard work and high maintenance, but he’s one of these horses that can be really cheeky one moment and then real scared the next,” Mitchell said. “I’ve just tried to build up his confidence and make him happy. It was a real good effort to qualify there and I thought we might have to go to the Hawkesbury heat. After that I’m left with a horse that is 95 per cent fit all dressed up with nowhere to go.”

Mitchell will be able to dress up on Saturday before saddling up his first runner at Randwick. First one in his own name, anyway.

And with French jockey Thomas Huet on board, there will be no more international flavour than that attached to Radical Impact against the might of quintessential Australian trainers in Lees and Murray.

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