STANLEY SALUTES: Grafton jockey back to winning form
RACING: Grafton jockey Kasie Stanley saluted on her home track for the first time since last October, but it was a win she was made to work hard for.
Stanley opened a new season of Grafton racing in fitting fashion when she made a late dash to the line on board Kevin King-trained Vivid Image.
She only narrowly got the nod after she edged out Joe Fujii on The Eulo Queen (Aiden St Vincent) in a photo finish in the CRJC Premiership Winners Race Day F&M Class 1 Handicap (1000m).
After leaving from barrier seven, Stanley quickly settled just off the pace in midfield before she swung wide at the turn for home as the mare stretched out over the final 400m.
It was only the second win for the mare by Northern Meteor in 19 starts for Grafton trainer King.
With race caller Anthony Collins on the fence about the result immediately after the race, Stanley quickly turned to her fellow jockey.
"I actually thought I got up there, but I got past the post and I asked Joe, who was on the inside of me, and he was certain he had gotten me so that left me pretty worried," Stanley said after the race.
"She is usually a non-speed horse and we had drawn the seven alley, we knew there was a lot of pace in the race.
"I was sort of happy through the race, even though I was three deep, I had a bit of cover and to her credit she dug deep in the final stages of the race and she got there."
It was the perfect timing of Stanley's move at the home turn that gave the mare every chance to find the winner's rug.
"She was travelling nice coming into the corner and as soon as I popped out, I knew she would be right in it," Stanley said. "I do all of her track work and have ridden her in nearly all of her race starts bar one or two, so it was really good to get the win on it.
"She is a lovely horse, and Kevin King and Judy are lovely people, so it is good to get the win for them."
It was a Grafton jockey quinella to start the first race meet of the season with Matt McGuren getting the nod in race two on board Stephen Bennett-trained maidener Toffee Drop.
Danielle Campbell also celebrated a win at the Grafton Racecourse with boom apprentice Kyle WilsonTaylor fighting to the line on six-year-old gelding Defence Witness.
Fellow Grafton trainer's Todd Fletcher and Shane Everson also joined the winners' circle with Dustman and Ilia getting the judge's nod respectively.