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Farrier, endurance rider, horse breaker, jockey, accomplished horsewoman. Now you can add successful trainer.

Kirsten Melis celebrated her first winner at Northam today (Thursday) after Oceanzara won the Wheatbelt Winterama Maiden (1300m).

With emerging apprentice, Holly Watson aboard, the four-year-old mare finished full of running and defeated odds on favourite Better In Kit by a half-length with Lucie Manette third.

Oceanzara posted her first win from 11 starts and broke her maiden status after four previous placings for Melis at Pinjarra, Ascot, Bunbury and Northam.

Melis said she was thrilled to share a landmark victory with a mare that helped launch her training career at Ascot last December.

“I’m very excited and very happy,” Melis told The Races WA.

“I’m on a bit of a high.

“I thought I might have got it earlier with this horse, but curve balls get thrown at you.

“You don’t always get the runs that you want, but it’s finally come.

“She’s shown us she is a tough little pocket rocket.

“I couldn’t be more happier.”

Melis underlined her versatility in 2013 when she took part in the Mongol Derby, an equestrian endurance race.

The race extends 1000km through the Mongolian Steppe and is recognized as the world’s longest race.

Melis was born in Holland and her upbringing fostered a healthy appetite for adventure and travelling.

In 2007 that wanderlust led her to Australia and New Zealand. She loved the Australian lifestyle so much she decided to stay.

A winner of the Kojonup Cup as a jockey, Melis somewhat reluctantly turned her hand to thoroughbred training around six months ago.

With a love of horses, she wasn’t opposed to the idea, but with a busy and hectic workload, where would she find the time.

If she needed encouragement and prodding, Melis didn’t have far to look. In stepped in partner and former top jockey, Paul Dyson.

“Paul drove me insane to get my license,” Melis said.

“I got offered a couple of pre trainers and then he said why not give it a go and take out a trainer’s license.

“I gave it some thought and said why not.”

Dyson enjoyed a successful career in the saddle and won over 50 black-type races including the Group 1 WA Derby on Firing Range (1993).

He says he couldn’t be any prouder of Melis.

“She’ll make the grade,” Dyson said.

“She’ll never have intentions of having a lot of horses, but I can guarantee you her strike rate will always be good.

“I’m super proud and she has done it all on her own.”

Melis and Dyson were in unison praising Watson’s ride on Oceanzara.

The promising apprentice is riding the crest of a wave and celebrated her first metropolitan double at Belmont on Wednesday.

“She did a great job,” Melis said.

“She can really read a race and put them in the right spot.

“She makes sure she doesn’t get into too much trouble.”

 
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