Gympie trainer Barry Gill is gradually getting his life back together after the death of his wife Desiree in a race fall four months ago.
Gill’s Doomben winner on Wednesday with Macho Valentino ($5.50) was his first metropolitan success since Nevada Gambler and Likazyrtec won in Brisbane seven-and-a-half years ago in 2006.
“We are just starting to build up gradually after Desi’s death,” Gill said.
“I have eight or nine horses in work and a couple of good kids, who Desi taught, riding work for us.”
Gill said Macho Valentino should have broken his maiden status well before Wednesday’s race.
“Desi rode him when we took him to Gayndah for a kill but he trod on a (30cm) log and did a hamstring but still ran third,” he said.
Apprentice Ruby Ride got her first city double on Macho Valentino after winning earlier on Hurricane Cassie.
Meanwhile, Perth rider Chanelle O’Grady made the most of a late call-up for the Racezone National Apprentice Plate (1350m), winning on Hopfgarten ($4.80).
Ben Paterson was to represent Western Australia but was a late scratching and was replaced by O’Grady who rode her 86th winner on Hopfgarten.
O’Grady was born in England where she cut her teeth riding ponies but after coming to Australia started her jockey apprenticeship in 2008.
“I gave it away after a year but resumed in 2012. I am currently apprenticed to Brett Pope and things have been going well,” she said.
Five of Hopfgarten’s owners are also in star sprinter Buffering who was loaded on the float for Sydney about the same time as the Doomben race.
“Let’s hope it is an omen,” said trainer Rob Heathcote as Buffering prepares for Saturday’s Challenge Stakes at Randwick.
Hopfgarten was suited by a break-neck pace set by Chantal Willis on Lonyx.