TALENTED Wyong apprentice Anna Roper will always remember her maiden home track success.
The 21-year-old rode the 82nd winner of her blossoming career, not only on her master Damien Lane’s horse Red Cobra, but also in front of a special cheer squad.
Riding to a plan devised beforehand on the backmarker, Roper got going early to clinch the gelding’s first win in the 1600m FREEMASONS ON THE CENTRAL COAST PROVINCIAL MAIDEN HANDICAP.
At his 14th start and following six minor placings, the Sebring four-year-old broke through after sustaining a determined run from the 700m.
“Anna hadn’t previously ridden a winner at Wyong, and said it was better than winning her first race in town (Lady Redwood at Warwick Farm early last month),” a delighted Lane said.
“She had family at the track to watch her, including her grandparents and a relative visiting from Canada.
“Anna rides Red Cobra work every morning, and really likes him, so it was a pretty special moment for her all round.”
Roper, who rode 42 winners in just under the first four months of last season until an after-race accident at Muswellbrook a year ago sidelined her for seven months, has hit the ground running since resuming her career.
She has ridden 25 winners (equal with Newcastle’s Dylan Gibbons) since August 1, and is only a half-win behind Zac Wadick in the NSW apprentices’ premiership.
A $30,000 yearling purchase, Red Cobra has overcome issues and is now starting to realise his earlier potential.
The manner of his performance suggests this first win won’t be his last.
Red Cobra was too strong over the closing stages for a gallant favorite Razella, who would have given her Hawkesbury trainer Steve O’Halloran the biggest day of his training career had she held out the local.
O’Halloran scored at Goulburn with Feel The Magic, and made it a double when Jaex took the RENTOKIL INITIAL SUPER MAIDEN PLATE (1300m).
The four-year-old daughter of Exosphere joined O’Halloran’s team earlier this year and was placed at her first three starts for him before shedding her maiden status with a win which never really looked in doubt once she took up the running.
Jaex beat local Aix En Provence, who ran on well, and heavily backed favorite Major Look, whose rider Keagan Latham afterwards told RacingNSW stewards the colt was making an abnormal respiratory noise throughout the race.
Whilst a post-race examination did not reveal anything, a veterinary clearance will need to be produced before Major Look can trial or race again.
Lane and The Big Dance winning trainer Sara Ryan kept the Wyong flag flying high with victories at one of the club’s few Saturday meetings of the racing year.
Ryan followed her $2m Big Dance triumph at Royal Randwick last Tuesday with Attractable by taking the opener, the GOSFORD MASONIC CENTRE BENCHMARK 64 HANDICAP (1600m) with Vegas Outlaw (Grant Buckley).
A lightly-raced seven-year-old who is thriving under Ryan’s care, Vegas Outlaw left his rivals with no excuses. He steamrolled his opposition, clearing out in the last 150m to score by nearly five lengths.
Vegas Outlaw has started only 12 times, and has now won two in a row, following on from an easy Provincial Class 1 Handicap (1600m) success at Kembla Grange late last month.
Three-year-old filly Prima Bella (Ash Morgan) got her career off to the best possible start when she won the GARY TURNER MEMORIAL – ABBEY TIMBER 3YO MAIDEN HANDICAP (1000m).
The Per Incanto filly quickly mustered speed to take up the running, gave a good kick in the straight and held on gamely over the concluding stages.
Damien Lane’s All Too Hard filly All Too Zatso came from last at the 600m to gain her first placing from only four starts.
Jockey Deanne Panya pleaded guilty to a careless riding charge on Winning Run (last of eight starters) in this race, and was suspended from November 20 until 25, on which day she can resume riding.
Alysha Collett notched a double on Eau De Vie (PETER MAC’S SERVICE CENTRE CLASS 1 HANDICAP, 1350m) and One Destiny (WIDELINE WINDOWS & DOORS BENCHMARK 64 HANDICAP, 1100m).
Collett took full advantage of Eau De Vie’s inside draw to give her the run of the race, and she moved up menacingly to join the tearaway leader Chesteray on the home turn.
After hitting the front on straightening, she responded gamely to hold out runner-up Emmadella’s late thrust.
One Destiny completed a successful day for his trainer Gary Nickson by running his rivals off their legs to post his fourth victory.
He never looked seriously threatened at his second run back and coming off a first-up fourth in town on the Kensington track.
Nickson also scored at Rosehill Gardens with Felix Majestic, who has now won three of his last four outings.
Critical Time was resuming for trainer Blake Ryan, and his strong finish into second placing behind One Destiny showed he is close to another win.
Only four horses contested the WYONG LEAGUES GROUP – THE ROOS FOUNDATION MIDWAY HANDICAP (1200m), but it developed into a thrilling two-horse contest.
Favorite Deceive (Keagan Latham) was seriously challenged by Struff (Andrew Calder) in the straight and it was a battle right to the line, with the former just nudging out her game rival.
Deceive did not help her chances by laying out from the 500m and also in the home straight, and stewards delayed posting correct weight to view the patrol films before deciding there were insufficient grounds to lodge a protest on behalf of the runner-up.