GREAT RUN: Winona Costin rode in on board race one winner Stephen Lee-trained Camayoc.
GREAT RUN: Winona Costin rode in on board race one winner Stephen Lee-trained Camayoc. Matthew Elkerton

Costin’s wild return to the Grafton track

SIX-YEAR-OLD gelding Camayoc has been a gay deceiver for a long period of time, frustrating and testing the patience of Ballina trainer Stephen Lee and punters alike.

Lee admits to giving up on the gelding on more than one occasion. In fact if he didn't perform soon he may well have been looking for a new home.

But at Grafton yesterday Camayoc finally broke through for a long overdue win in the 2016 Kensei Club Closing Soon Benchmark 62 Hcp (2210m) with a well-timed run late under the confident hands of top Sydney apprentice Winona Costin.

It was the gelding's first win since October 2013.

That's a long time between drinks. Too long as far as Lee was concerned.

"I'd given up, sacked him a few times," Lee suggested. "John Lawler (part-owner) said don't give up on him.

"He's been looking for a kill (win). This should do him the world of good.

"He's always showed ability but he's been a hard horse to handle.

"He just hasn't been finding the line. He just hadn't been putting in."


There was relief written all over Lee's face after the long overdue win.

"I took the winkers off him and told Winona not to hit him with the whip," Lee said referring to the possible form turnaround. "He's been resenting the whip.

"It seemed to work today.

"It was a great ride by Winona."

Costin, a gifted rider with plenty of experience, bided her time in the early stages saving Camayoc ($9) for one closing burst out wide with the gelding sweeping down the outside late to beat Rapidus ($10) and Wollartant ($6).

Camayoc has received short term redemption. How he performs in coming weeks will be the testing period to his longevity under Lee's care.

Three races later triumph turned to tragedy for Lee and Costin.

On the home turn of the T A & R J O'Keefe Builders Maiden Hcp Costin's mount Street Serenade suddenly snapped a shoulder rounding the home turn.

Costin was trying to bring the three-year-old to a halt but, due to the injury, Street Serenade, faltering in his stride dipped badly and tipped the apprentice out of the saddle.

Costin was shaken and arrived back in an ambulance at the mounting enclosure looking pale and complaining of a headache and dizziness.

"It was a shocking thing to happen," the shaken apprentice said of the misfortune.

Unfortunately the expensive gelding who was purchased for $550,000 as a yearling had to be humanely put down.

"He was a lovely quiet horse. You never want to see these sorts of things happen," Lee said of the loss.

Costin was stood down from any further racing on the program at doctor's orders.

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