PORT Macquarie owners, a Taree trainer and a Tamworth apprentice jockey celebrated a rare winning double at Manning Valley Race Club’s TAB meeting at Taree on Monday.
It was special for jockey Wendy Peel because one of the wins was on five-year-old gelding Tigers Image ($6 to $4.60) as it was in a heat of the Rising Star Series for apprentices. She showed positive judgement in taking the galloper straight to the lead from 10 barrier to score by 3.2 lengths in the Winning Post Function Centre @ Taree BM 58 Handicap over 1250m.
She was also on six-year-old mare Port Gold ($4.20), also trained at Taree by Michael Byers and owned by Sue and Ron Kirwan from Port Macquarie, in the Summer Beach Party 2 Jan F&M Benchmark 58 Handicap over 1250m, it leading all the way for a long neck win.
Byers only has three gallopers racing and his other one Casino Mondial scored by two lengths at Port on Tuesday.
All three participants were thrilled to have the strong wins, Port Gold backing up from a easy win at Taree on Melbourne Cup day and Tiger’s Image enjoying the step up from 1100m when it wasn’t disgraced with a fourth in a Highway race at Rosehill on November 17.
“I freshened up Port Gold and she had improved a lot in the last month to tackle this stronger class,” Byers said.
“The owners were going to put her in the paddock for a spell but then said keep her going after the cup day win.”
Peel was surprised at how easy Tiger’s Image got to the lead and how strong he was at the finish to score just over three lengths.
Ron Kirwan joked: “We can’t muck around…we’ve got to get serious.”
Connections are thinking about aiming the gelding for the rich Country Championships next year.
Leading NSW jockey Andrew Gibbons and Newcastle trainer Kris Lees also combined for a winning double with three-year-old filly Silver Melody ($2.80) in the Harrington Cup 2 Jan Benchmark 66 Handicap over 1000m and three-year-old gelding Bedivere ($9) in the Taree Races 17 & 23 Class 1 Maiden Plate over 2000m.
Bedivere wore blinkers for the first time and was only having its third start, its previous run being a fourth over 1600m at Newcastle.
“A good effort at its first start at the distance,” Gibbons said.
He said the ace barrier helped Silver Melody to lead all the way for a narrow win, the eye catching run being put in by Taree mare Valbeata, trained by Bob Milligan, it having its first start since May.
There were firsts all around when four-year-old gelding Bulseye Score ($3.10), ridden by Port apprentice Cejay Graham, scored by nearly two lengths in the XXXXGold CG&E Maiden over 1000m.
Owner Matt Momin was having his first start with his first galloper with neighbour Nathaniel Scott, a former Taree trainer.
Four-year-old filly Danger Woman ($21) gave Port trainer Steve Brewer his second win at Taree with his only two gallopers in the Buy A Race Day Package @ Taree F&M Maiden Handicap over 1000m.
It was a late minute pick-up ride for Port jockey Peter Graham who was chuffed he had a win.
Cessnock trainer Robert Davies would have been pleased to have a win with gelding Harry And The Duke ($41), ridden by Grant Buckley in the De Bortoli Wines Maiden Plate over 1600m as he had just got out of hospital and left race day duties to Troy Close.