West Australian trainer Lindsey Smith has claimed the first feature race success from his new Warrnambool base, with Reykjavik a convincing winner of the Winter Championship Series Final at Flemington.
Smith recently opened the stable while maintaining his West Australian base and produced the first winners from the Warrnambool operation with a double at Ballarat earlier this week.
Reykjavik followed that up with his 2-3/-4-length victory on Saturday at Flemington in the Listed 1600m race, one of three on the program.
“It was really nice to get one in town on a Saturday,” stable representative Maddie Raymond, who oversees Smith’s Victorian operation, said.
“The team is going really well. We’ve got some really good support so we’ve got some really nice horses. We’re confident we’ll make an impact with them.”
Four-year-old Reykjavik was ridden by Linda Meech who brought up a stakes race double after earlier taking out the Listed Taj Rossi Series Final on the Robbie Laing-trained two-year-old colt Fabulanski.
Already a Listed winner in WA, Reykjavik ($9) was having his third Victorian start after a fifth in the Golden Topaz at Swan Hill and third in a heat of the Winter Championship Series at Flemington two weeks earlier.
Meech had him midfield in Saturday’s $160,000 race and the horse burst clear in the final 200m to beat Romancer ($5.50).
Holbien ($16) was another half-length away third.
“He’s been running some good races and that was a terrific win,” Meech said.
“I was surprised how good a turn of foot he had at the end of a mile and he sustained it right to the line.”
Meech leads the Victorian jockeys’ premiership and only recently returned to race riding after nine weeks recovering from a collarbone and shoulder injury suffered in a fall at Geelong in April.
Saturday was her first meeting back in the city since the lay-off and she said it was terrific to get the stakes double, which took her statewide tally of wins this season to 123.
It was also Meech’s third Winter Championship Series Final win after success in 2011 and 2012 on Glaneuse.
Damien Oliver also rode a winning double aboard Second Bullet and Buffalo River but was suspended for 10 meetings for careless riding aboard All Victorian Sprint Series Final runner-up Milwaukee.
His penalty begins straight away and rules him out of two city meetings.