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Image: Darren Winningham
Courtney Tyrell landed her first city winner with Collay’s Spirit at Doomben

In the nine horse opener at Doomben on Saturday, the Courtney Tyrell trained Collay’s Spirit started at a price of $31 … more than double the starting price of the next highest priced runner … but the two-year-old made a mockery of those odds by powering home under an inch perfect ride from Michael Cahill, to take the honours in the last stride by the narrowest of margins.

It was Courtney Tyrell’s first city winner.

Michael Cahill had ridden Collay’s Spirit in his only previous start, a seventh place finish at the Sunshine Coast, and the fact that the seasoned jockey stayed with Collay’s Spirit already gave a strong hint that $31 was not the right price.

“Michael (Cahill) trialled the horse for us and rode him in his first start,” said Tyrell, speaking after the win. We elected to take him to town off his work and how far he has come since his trial and Michael was more than happy to ride him again for us in town.

“In an ideal world we would have liked to ride him a little colder, but he jumped so well and Michael put him in the right spot. We had just left it up to Michael anyway. That’s why you have jockeys on like Michael … who can assess the situation quickly, have a plan in his head and execute that plan like he did today.”

After jumping well Cahill was keen to stay on-pace, even if that meant racing four wide in the early part, and when the field settled down Cahill had Collay’s Spirit in the perfect spot, second, one out and one back on the heels of the leader Mishani Scandal.

That left Collay’s Spirit perfectly poised to strike when the field turned for home.

The chase down the home straight was to be a long one though. Mishani Scandal had a kick and Callay’s Spirit determination was suddenly being tested. For most of the straight he looked to heading for a very gallant second placing but he simply refused to give up and he slowly inched into Mishani Scandal’s lead.

There is only one place that you have to be in front … on the line … and that was the only place that Collay’s Spirit was in front for the whole race, in that very last stride, giving Courtney Tyrell her a landmark victory as a trainer.

“He is a tough little bugger,” acknowledged Tyrell, “and he’ll come along nicely from that win today. He’ll take a lot of confidence from it,” … as, no doubt will Tyrell, who currently has seven horses in work.

Courtney Tyrell is perhaps better known as one of the two regular Clerks Of The Couse (with her husband Ryan) at the Sunshine Coast Turf Club.

The way things have worked out, the Sunshine Coast has a rare Sunday without racing this week, meaning Tyrell can will have time to take in the merit of her first city success … which is always a special moment in any trainer’s career.

 
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