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Back to basics for Famous Seamus
01 Jun 2017

Famous Seamus' (Elusive City x Clinique) recent form doesn't really inspire but sometimes a small change in an older horse's training regime can yield big results.

The veteran of 58 starts is fast approaching his ninth birthday but has won at least one stakes race in the past six seasons.

Despite finishing unplaced in his last five starts, Trelawney Stud graduate Famous Seamus is set for a welcome drop in grade when he contests the Octagonal Handicap (1400m) at Rosehill this Saturday.

The last time the gelding ran in a non-stakes race was on June 16, 2012 – almost five years ago to the day.

But perhaps more importantly, trainer Noel Mayfield-Smith has reverted to preparing Famous Seamus as a sprinter after briefly experimenting him at a mile.

"In his older years, he's given us the indication that he might be looking for a mile but he hasn't really been effective," Mayfield-Smith said.

"I had his half-brother and he got over 2400 (metres) so there's plenty of stamina in the family and his riders recommended we try him over a mile.

"He handled all the work well but it just wasn't for him.

"Since I've taken him back in distance and sharpened him up he's enjoying it a lot more."

Mayfield-Smith described Famous Seamus' Tuesday morning gallop as "enormous" but remains concerned about starting from a wide gate with the rail out seven metres.

"He's going terrific but a bad gate with the rail out makes it tough," he said.

"So we'll just have to hope for a bit of luck. The good thing is he's at his peak - being an older horse, once you get them fit you don't have to really work them."

Mayfield-Smith concedes that retirement for his stable stalwart is "getting closer all the time".

"If he didn't fire in his next few runs he'll be retired. We wouldn't push on," Mayfield-Smith said.

"He was very good to us during a very difficult period of my career so I owe him and I'll make sure that he gets looked after.

"If I don't find a good home for them they don't leave. I'm a bit of a softie in that way.

"I've still got Landsighting who won the 2000 Stradbroke and he's been with us all the way through. He's 21 now."

Beyond Saturday, Mayfield-Smith has the Listed Civic Stakes (1400m) back at Rosehill in his sights, a race in which Famous Seamus finished runner-up in 2012.