VIDEO: Lucky Meteor strikes back at Grafton
RACING: John Shelton's stable star Lucky Meteor struck back from a 19-month drought in explosive fashion at his home track.
The 2014/15 Clarence River Jockey Club Horse of the Year hadn't won since March 15, 2015 in a run outs stretching seven starts. The six-year-old gelding also hadn't raced at Grafton since clocking an 1106m track record 1:02.53 a month earlier.
Lucky Meteor smashed that record yesterday with a time of 1:02.16 on the good (3) surface of the Grafton racecourse in the Bloomer Transport and Warehousing Jacca Prelude.
"He's had an injury prone 12 months and surgery and it took him a few runs to get back," Shelton said.
"It's good to see him back as good as he was today."
Asked whether Lucky Meteor was back to his best form that saw him win eight in a row in 2014, Shelton said "I'm hoping so".
However, it appeared today would become another frustrating day at the office for Shelton when an agitated Lucky Meteor came into contact with a fence upon leaving the parade ring.
But apprentice jockey Eric Cheung regained control of his charge, the vets gave the all clear, and then Lucky Meteor ($3fav) took full advantage of the inside run to lead Toby Edmunds trained Flaming Aces ($5.50, Luke Rolls) all the way and romp home by two lengths, with Stephen Lee trained Hydrazine ($7, Jarrod Woodhouse) another length away third.
"He had a bit of a bee in his bonnet," a relieved Shelton said post-race.
The CRJC will be hoping Shelton nominates Lucky Meteor for the Jacaranda Cup in the club's traditional Racing NSW stand alone Wednesday meeting after the Melbourne Cup on November 2.
"He might get weighted out," the trainer said. "But see what happens when the dust settles."
Earlier Shelton had hoped Madam Fran ($4.20, Eric Cheung) could record back to back wins at Grafton in the opening race of the day, the Bloomer Transport Class 3 Handicap (1006m). But the five-year-old mare was held off by $4 favourite Aimalac Millie - the second win for Grafton trainer-jockey combination Danielle Cunningham and Carla Dougherty.
Meanwhile Grafton trainer Alan Ryan celebrated his first win in more than 12 months and 50 starts in race four. The custodian of 2014/15 NRRA Country Championship winner Redwolf had Pat's Destiny ($7.50, Matthew Paget) emulate the stablemate with a flying outside run to chalk up a Fillies and Mares Maiden Handicap win by 1.5 lengths from Jenny Graham trained Bettchally Miss ($6, Terry Treichel) and Matthew Dunn trained Mia's Got Class ($7, Matthew McGuren).
Grafton hoop Matthew McGuren kept his brilliant strike rate going with