A well-judged ride from apprentice Zac Spain has helped Shenandoah to an all-the-way win at Caulfield.
Shenandoah ($6.50) crossed to the front early in Sunday’s Mareee Madden-Melder Handicap (1800m) and after rallying in the straight the four-year-old mare lasted to win by a half-neck.
Addison ($5.50) and So Splendid ($5 fav) made late lunges but in a tight finish that pair had to settle for a dead-heat for second, with another short half-head to Royal Applause.
Spain moved to Victoria from Adelaide on loan to the Trent Busuttin and Natalie Young stable in mid-2017 and made the move official after three months.
Sunday’s win was his fourth city victory in Melbourne this season and 19th in Victoria.
The 21-year-old said the Busuttin and Young-trained Shenandoah, who carried 53kg after Spain’s 2kg claim, was a bit keen early but then settled well in the lead and got into a good rhythm.
“She had it pretty easy in front and then Royal Applause put a bit of pressure on her from the 600 metres, which was a bit earlier than I would have liked, but to her credit she dug deep,” Spain said.
“I think with the light weight it helped. Once she steps up over 2000 metres she’s going to go through her grades nicely.
“I wasn’t sure on the line if she had won or not because they were coming at me pretty quick.”
Sam McLeod, assistant trainer to Busuttin and Young, said Spain had been putting in a lot of work at the stable and deserved the rewards.
“He’s always there at four o’clock in the morning doing the hard yards,” McLeod said.