Chief Of Staff marked his return to the stables of Mark Minervini with a return to the winner's circle at Clare last Sunday. "The Chief", an $100,000 yearling, justified his high price tag in the early part of his career, proving himself one of the leading juveniles in South Australian racing by winning 3 city races as a 3 year old.
As a 4 year old, The Chief struggled to recapture his best form. A combination of wet tracks, ordinary luck and a general loss of confidence saw The Chief endure his longest winless streak and connections shifted him to Victoria in the hope that a change of scenery would result in a change of fortune.
However, the Robert Smerdon stable had no joy in resurrecting The Chief's career as Chief of Staff could not manage a "drum" (place) in 5 Victorian starts.
At this time, clients of Mark Minervini (including a number of M&A professionals) made a successful takeover bid for The Chief, remembering his earlier form and taking the (educated) punt that Mark Minervini could once again extract the best out of his one-time stable star.
Minervini sought to capitalise on Chief Of Staff's exceedingly low rating by nominating him for an 'easy kill' first up – a 0-72 over 1200m at Clare. The race went according to script. Jockey Shayne Cahill handled Chief Of Staff perfectly and a soft win never looked in doubt.
If Chief Of Staff returns to anything close to his best, he is definitely worth following in the weeks and months ahead.