‘Catch me if you can’ plan proves a winner

SHADOW In The Snow could be headed to the provincials after the Newcastle mare cruised to a comfortable win in yesterday’s Cactus Wilson Memorial Class 1 Handicap (1100m) at Quirindi.

The Rodney Ollerton-trained mare secured her second career win when she beat Ahbelle with New Player a close up third.

“She’s no superstar,” said Ollerton.

“But she’s improved, matured and not far off being a provincial horse.”

Tamworth apprentice Matthew Powell, 20, combined with the daughter of Dane Shadow to make it a good day for the Ollerton family after Rod’s father, Tom, had won the first race of the day with Strongman.

Matthew Powell overcame an early problem too.

“She had her head sideways in the barriers,” Powell told Ollerton after the win.

“She missed the jump a bit but I just let her cruise.”

Powell celebrated his 38th win yesterday too. “Things are going well  now, starting to click,” he said.

“That’s two winners in a week.”

The race was sponsored by the Wilson family in memory of Anthony Allan “Cactus” Wilson.

They have been sponsoring the race for more than a decade since his untimely death in 2000

“Good to see Rod and Tom today too,” said Marcus Wilson.

“They carried our horses round a lot for us.”

Earlier in the day Strongman broke through for a maiden win via a stroke of luck and a good ride and hand Tom Ollerton a victory.

The four-year-old gelding was having his 22nd start in the Howard Coaches Maiden Plate (1600m) but with just nine jockeys and 12 horses it didn’t look like he’d get a run,  Ollerton said.

“One was scratched this morning, so we got lucky and put the young girl on,” Ollerton said of Tamworth apprentice Taylah Gray.

“We weren’t going to start but then when you get the chance you make the most of it. He had plenty of weight but her 4kg claim helped. It’s like a train too, once they get going they take a bit of stopping.”

 Gray adopted a “catch me if you can” policy, racing to a good lead nearing the turn, having a bit of breather and then balancing up for a good surge home which resulted in a six and a quarter length win from Spaghetti Junction while Blinkin Spinning was another half length away third.

It was Gray’s fourth winner and while she claimed 4kg for the rest of the day she will now ride with a 3kg claim.

“She’s a good little girl,” Ollerton said.

“Doesn’t weigh much, probably 41kg because she turned up with a big leather saddle, a bag full of lead, two towels and a rubber mat. And still only weighed 48kg.”

Strongman, he said, had run a good second at his previous Quirindi start.

“He was last on the turn but that was a 1200m race too. Don’t know what happened at Muswellbrook, he didn’t put in at all.”

Gray then made it a double when she partnered Subic Bay to win the White Hart Hotel Benchmark 50 Handicap (1450m) for Cessnock trainer Alan Smith.

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