Her success with Our Sarastro ($9) in the Class 3 Handicap (1600m) was her first there since the 2010-11 racing year. Nicely ridden by apprentice Melinda Graham, Our Sarastro notched his third victory at his 21st start. He has also been placed on five occasions.
The Shamardal gelding began well and Graham allowed him to steadily roll forward, assuming the lead approaching the 1000m. He was never seriously threatened thereafter and had just enough in reserve to stave off the determined finish of $2.60 favorite City Of Justice.
Our Sarastro broke through for his first success in a 1400m Maiden at Kembla Grange in April, 2014 and then won a 1600m Class 1 at Gosford in February last year. He was having his fourth run on Monday following a break and had no problem handling the rain-affected ground. The track was downgraded to a “Soft 7″ prior to his race.
Above: Our Sarastro – notched Connie Greig’s first Taree win on Monday. Image by – Bradley Photographers
Greig, never afraid to travel with her horses, has raced on no less than 47 tracks throughout New South Wales. Her other runners at Taree were Return Journey (fourth at $10), first starter Malachi Crunch (fifth at $10), Millijule (sixth at $41) and Ritzy’s Boy (10th at $7).
Meanwhile, former harness racing trainer-driver Chris Gleeson ended the old year with his first success as a thoroughbred trainer. Gleeson won at Nowra on New Year’s Eve with $17 chance Dancing Magic.
With Jeff Penza aboard, Dancing Magic beat Southern Albatross ($5) and Louis’ Choice ($4.80) in the Benchmark 55 Handicap (1400m).
Previously with fellow Hawkesbury mentor Mitch Newman, the six-year-old gelding was having his fourth run this campaign. Gleeson took out his thoroughbred licence last year, and Dancing Magic was only his eighth starter from his Hawkesbury base.
News courtesy – Hawkesbury Race Club