Central Coast Mare Our Winnie stretched her winning sequence to five at Newcastle Racecourse on Saturday, a far cry from early in her career when she failed to win in her first nine starts.
Trained at Somersby by former Australian cycling champion Greg McFarlane, Our Winnie faced her sternest task on Saturday as she had her first start over a trip more than 1600 metres.
It was the 1865m Newcastle Nobby’s Benchmark 70 Handicap and the mare was an easing $4.20 second favourite. Our Winnie likes time to settle in her races and jockey Christian Reith let her drift back to near the tail of the eleven-horse field. Reith revved her up at the top of the straight and Our Winnie courtesy of an uninterrupted run quickly gathered in the leaders and she looked set for an easy win, however The Iron Maiden used a late challenge and only failed by .18 of a length to snatch victory.
Our Winnie's winning streak started at Scone on July 23 and continued at Muswellbrook, Tamworth and Gosford. McFarlane was confident on Saturday, which was the Our Winnie’s 12th start this preparation.
McFarlane was confident prior to the race on Saturday and after twelve starts this preparation the mare won’t be seeing the spelling paddock just yet.
“This mare has shown no sign of needing a spell and after today she will step up to mid-week metropolitan class. I decided to run Our Winnie here today in preference to Randwick on Monday.
I know it took her ten starts to win a race, realistically she was a good thing beaten three times. I train on the 40-acre property at Somersby where John McNair trained until he retired. Horses thrive there as we have treadmills, swimming pool and an uphill track.
I have been there nine years and a lot of money has been spent. Shortly I will have 70 stables and I also have 12 stables at Gosford,” McFarlane said.
The trainer was a member of Australia’s 1999 bronze medal winning team at the cycling World Cup in Italy.
The only Newcastle trained horse to win on Saturday’s eight race program was the former Ben Smith trained seven-year-old Tabrobane in the final event the 1200m Benchmark 64 Handicap.
Recently transferred to Jason Deamer, the gelding was on a quick back up after a strong finishing fifth over a shorter trip at Scone eight days earlier.
Unwanted by punters, Tabrobane went to the barrier as a $16 chance and with 60 kilograms on his back, Reith allowed him to settle back in the field. Just when $3 favourite Cartel appeared to have the race won, Tabrobane stormed home to win by 1 ½ lengths.
Deamer was offered several Smith-trained horses but only accepted Tabrobane and Iron Duke.
“The owner, Scott Savala was keen to run him and he had done well since the Scone run so we accepted.
Tabrobane is no spring chicken but I think there is a midweek metropolitan win in him. I only got him 12 days ago and he had to be tested again before he could race.
Iron Duke runs at Warwick Farm on Wednesday.”
Reith rode the last two runners to take the riding honours.