Dougherty weathers the storm in a photo finish
RACING: A final burst of extra energy on the line from maiden challenger Jameslea Worlds gave Grafton trainer Alan Ryan plenty to smile about after the first race at Grafton yesterday.
It was a determined ride from local apprentice Carla Dougherty as she battled inclement weather and a lack of visibility to clinch the win in a head-bobber from Bryan Dais' Aultbea ($4).
With the track downgraded to a Heavy 8 rating at the running of the first, the $71 outside chance broke strong from the gates establishing an early lead around the 1000m as Dougherty aimed to keep herself in front of the field and out of the mud.
The three-year-old gelding managed to overcome a
wide push at the final turn
to match it pace for pace with Aultbea, narrowly edging the exciting filly to break his maiden status on what was his second run for Ryan.
The win took Dougherty's record to 14 for the season and her first since riding Ensign to the post at Kempsey last month.
"He went really good, at his last start his shins were sore so you couldn't really go by the form of that,” Dougherty said.
"I think the track was a little bit better at the start there, he got out in front and just kept going.”
After only two runs on track, Dougherty said there was plenty of improving for the young gelding.
"He definitely has some room to improve,” she said.
"It is only his second start and he has got some maturing to get done.”
Meanwhile Grafton trainer Dan Want got a small sliver of hope in what has been an otherwise tough week for the embattled trainer when the latest addition to the stable Central Witness ($6.50) stormed home to win by half a length from $1.50 race favourite Sornja (Steven O'dea) in the second race, the Allcare Grafton Maiden Plate (1406m).
Grafton jockey Ben Looker claimed another Cup win on his home track when he steered Steven Phelps trained My Cousin Bossy ($3.80 fav) to a strong win in teh Brushgrove Cup despite the track being downgraded further to a Heavy 9.
Then in the last Scott Henley rounded out the home winners as exciting mare Baroque Girl ($11, Luke Dittman) stormed from the middle of the field down the outside to claim a length win over Steven O'dea favourite Cool Sequence.