Strolling to third local win
TO THE tunes of country music Casino-trained Moringa's Stroller showed his liking for the open spaces of Grafton with a late-finishing win in the Anne Hunter Accountant Coutts Crossing Cup (1415m) on Saturday.
Trained by Michael Trihey and ridden by local jockey Matthew Paget, the five-year-old bay gelding's only three wins from 34 starts have come at Grafton.
"He loves Grafton," managing part-owner John Haw said.
"All his wins have come at the track.
"He likes the big open spaces. He's a big horse and gets plenty of room here."
Haw, a university lecturer in gaming management at Southern Cross University, added Moringa's Stroller had been 'a difficult horse to get a handle on'.
"It's taken time to work him out," Haw said. "After his last run at Casino when he was a bit unlucky, we knew he was right.
"It was a good win today. Everyone is happy."
Trihey, who has just two horses in work, is Haw's uncle. The trainer was somewhat nonchalant after the win.
"I'm that far behind, I think I'm in front," he joked.
In a driving finish, Moringa's Stroller got up on the line to beat Rigamarole and the John Shelton-trained Strada Hill.
However Shelton figured in the biggest cheer of the day on Saturday.
He was in Brisbane with Lucky Meteor, who led throughout to smash his rivals at Doomben.
When the Brian and Betty Paine-owned galloper crossed the line an almighty cheer went up in the grandstand, such is Shelton and the horses following among locals. And it was a juicy result for all concerned, Lucky Meteor starting at $9 and paying $10 on the NSW Tote.
Clarence River Jockey Club CEO Michael Beattie, who has done a marvellous job turning around the club's fortunes adding vibrancy to often mundane meetings with deft management, also had a Shelton connection.
Beattie is the owner of Jewels Of Ava, winner of the Coutts Crossing Tavern F & M's Class 2 Hcp (1215m).
The five-year-old mare, trained by Cathy Chapman, was formerly trained by Shelton and owned by a syndicate headed by former Daily Examiner sports editor, Pat Allen.
"I initially looked at the horse for a friend of mine in North Queensland," Beattie said. "In the interim, he bought another horse and I decided to buy Jewels Of Ava myself with a view to selling her on.
"She came to us in great order and the turnaround in form (it was the mare's second successive win) probably came about to being trained in a rural atmosphere at Cathy's.
"She's had four runs for us and won two in a row. I'm sure this is the first time I've ever owned a horse that has won two in a row. You beauty. If she pulls up alright we'll probably go around at Armidale, then I'll look to sell her on."