High fives from Havasay jockey Matt McGillivray after winning the 2018 Ramornie Handicap.
High fives from Havasay jockey Matt McGillivray after winning the 2018 Ramornie Handicap. Adam Hourigan

WINS OF CHANGE: Ramornie win surreal for young jockey

RAMORNIE HANDICAP: HAVASAY returned to Grafton 12 months on from a win in a Class 6 to win the $160,000 GDSC Ramornie Handicap (1200m) with a new trainer.

Liam Birchley had trained Havasay and celebrated a win last year but with his horses refused entry to NSW races, Havasay's owners transferred their five-year-old gelding to the Toby Edmonds yard on the Gold Coast.

"It's Liam's horse," Edmonds said after Havasay arrived to beat Grafton gelding Belflyer (John Shelton) with Toby's second of three runners - Tyzone - third and race leader The Monstar a gallant fourth.

"He deserves all the credit.

"I guess it was bitter-sweet for him but I'm also happy for him. He did a good job."

For Edmonds the feature race win is the realisation of a long-held dream.

He started his training career at Scone in 1988 when he dreamed of winning races like the Ramornie.

"It's been a dream of mine since I started training," he said of the Ramornie.

"Winning feature races on big days is what you dream of. I'm just glad Mark McLean asked me to take him."

Edmonds won the Grafton Guineas last year, the Ramornie today and what about a Grafton Cup next year?

"I haven't got a Cup horse," he admitted while also advising both Havasay and third-placed Tyzone could now spell.

For young jockey Matt McGillivray, who only finished his apprenticeship last season, it was a thrilling first time to the Grafton racecourse.

"It is quite surreal really, it is my first year out of my apprenticeship and to win a big race like this on one of my favourite horses is massive," he said.

"I didn't think I would look at the picture of coming here, even the support of trainers, I don't usually ride for the trainers that come to Grafton.

"In saying that I do ride for Toby a lot, so it was lucky I kept the ride on Havasay."

McGillivray was punching the air down the straight and then back again after the 0.65 length win before he was embraced by the horse's connections.

"It was a surreal feeling, they are really good owners. They have been my biggest supporters, They supported me from the day I started my apprenticeship, even when I put a bad ride in they never gave up on me."

Shelton's Belflyer put in the run of its life, and for a slim moment looked likely to win, despite a late change in jockey after Ben Looker's earlier race fall.

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