While Sydney’s leading trainers are focused on the Queensland winter carnival, Kelly Schweida sent Stella Ombra in the opposite direction and the gelding’s Randwick debut justified the trip.
The four-year-old claimed the Leith Group Handicap to give Sydney premiership-leading jockey Brenton Avdulla belated success on Saturday.
Eagle Farm-based Schweida stayed in Brisbane but Avdulla will convey a positive report after Stella Ombra ($11) wore down Clear The Beach ($5) to score by a neck.
“He really towed me throughout, he got through the ground really well. I took him to the centre and saved something up there for the furlong.
“I knew they’d they come at me, I really got stuck into him and he lifted,” Avdulla said.
“Kelly’s kept him fresh and on that sort of ground (heavy 10) he might have felt the pinch late but he’s a nice horse going forward.”
Avdulla, who leads Tim Clark in the premiership by 13-1/2 winners, was pleased to finish with a flourish
“It’s been a frustrating day, six rides for three seconds so it’s nice to win the last.”