LEANNE Henry “made a bird” of the first race when she surged home on the race favourite, The Early Bird, to win the Plumthorpe Pastoral Class 1 & Maiden Plate (1720m) at Barraba on Saturday.
Five-year-old gelding, The Early Bird, had placed at four of his previous five starts for Gunnedah trainer Gavin Groth and notched win number three when he flew to a length and half win over Martin Fernando’s Sutton Express.
“He travelled a treat,” Henry said after the victory.
“He came back under me beautifully, went super.”
Gavin Groth was delighted.
“We rode him a bit further forward today,” Groth said.
“We wanted to make a bird of it so to speak. I just left it to Leanne.”
Little Rock Star was hampered when she missed the start by about two lengths, but the little four-year-old flew late to win the GW Bucknell Memorial Allertons Transport Maiden Plate (1000m) by a neck.
Trained by Trevor Smith at Barraba, she was having her first race start and overhauled Walcha gelding, Minimos, for a neck win.
Darren Jones rode the mare and said the mare stepped back in her stall at the start when a few other horses also played up.
She also collected the starting gates as she bounced forward.
“We didn’t get out that well,”Jones told connections after the win.
She is raced by a syndicate including Ann and Andrew Smith, Steve Watkins and Greg Smith.
“She’s a beautiful little thing,” Ann Smith said of the daughter of Zariz.
She is also Smith’s first horse while Steve Watkins said she was his first
“I had two that didn’t even make it to the track,” he said.
Veteran trainer Trevor Smith prepares the mare and said the owners bought her at the Dubbo sale “for about $4000”.
“She’s only small but she’s got some ability,” Trevor Smith said.
Darren Jones then made it a running double when he won the Burundi & Linton Stations/IGA Barraba Benchmark 55 Handicap (2450m) with the Mack Griffith-trained Shady Days.
As veteran course announcer and racecaller Brian Baldwin said, it was a masterful display of frontrunning riding by Jones.
He stacked the field up allowing his mount to almost jog the first lap before powering home for a length and a half win.
The win was Griffith’s second victory in three days after Binalong Road had won the first race at Newcastle on Cup day last Thursday.
The Muswellbrook trainer also has two runners in today’s Hygain Romantic Dream 2YO Plate (1000m) at Tamworth – Cool Gold and Sutton Oracle.
Both are unraced, Cool Gold a gelding by Magic Albert and Sutton Oracle a colt by Olympus.
ROMANTIC DREAM 2YO BETTING: 3-1 Dropper Crystal, 4-1 Murtaphoenix, 5-1 Lady With Spurs, Murtajack, 10-1 Don’t Mean Maybe, Miss Ubiquity, Velocity Miss, 16-1 Cool Gold, Coop ‘n’ Demp, 20-1 Sutton Oracle.