ECHUCA’S Newton clan descended on Warracknabeal races on Saturday to see their talented but injury troubled mare Annemiek swamp the field in the $20,000 Emmett’s/John Deere Warracknabeal Handicap over 1000m.
Then spent yesterday working at the Bendigo races – Micheal as a barrier attendant, wife Jo typing reports for stewards and daughter Kate acting as junior clerk of the course.
But it was Micheal’s lightly raced five-year-old mare that he was more interested in talking about after she notched her second win from just eight starts.
Annemiek was last out of the gate in the last on the card and maintained her grip on that spot even as the field rounded the bend for the run home.
As they straightened the only clear air was six wide, with every other horse in the field between her and the finish post.
With 50m to go jockey Madison Lloyd looked certain to run Annemiek into a place but pushing the mare along hands and heels saw a few massive strides put her up by half a length and running away with it – even though she must have almost run 1100m to get there she was so wide on the track for so long.
The five-year-old mare started at 13/2 but paid a handsome $8.80 on S-TAB despite being quoted much shorter in the early betting, where she was ranked equal favourite with Low Level Flying at 5/2.
Newton said she won well for an unsound horse, explaining her early career had been plagued with bone chips and a long recovery.
A first start winner on her home track back in June, 2018, over the same 1000m, she was immediately put back in the paddock for 50 weeks after treatment for her problem.
Her next outing at Swan Hill saw her beat home just one horse in a field of 12.
At her seventh run – back in September 2019 – she was stone cold last at Ballarat in a field of nine over 1400m.
And Saturday was her first start for almost eight months.
“I have really had to bring her along; she spent some good time at Peter Clarke’s Willowood, where she did a lot of work in his water walker, which helps fitness without the stress on legs – it was the same treatment Peter used for Black Caviar early in her career,” Newton said.
“Since she started racing again she has had a bit of bad luck in a couple of races but Saturday showed what she is capable of doing,” he said.
“We will still be careful with her; and depending how she pulls up and work this week we might look somewhere three weeks out.
“And will still keep her around 1100-1200m.”
Newton agreed it had been a frustrating experience training this talented horse with her injuries.
“But that’s racing; you’re on top of the world one minute and in a hole the next,” he said.