FAST FILLY: Stephen Bennett trained filly Northern Star dashed home to win the first race at the Ballina Jockey Club on Thursday July 23.
FAST FILLY: Stephen Bennett trained filly Northern Star dashed home to win the first race at the Ballina Jockey Club on Thursday July 23.

Northern Star gallops to $22,000 victory at Ballina

STEPHEN Bennett might have a Country Championship hope on his hands after Northern Star ran away with the $22,000 Paradise FM Maiden Handicap (1600m) at Ballina on Thursday.

The three-year-old daughter of Zoustar with jockey Kirk Matheson aboard notched her first career win at her 10th start when successful over the mile, running down Ethan Ensby’s Quizzical Deel for an impressive maiden win.

She was having her sixth start for the Casino trainer since moving north earlier this year and posting a number of fair efforts at home, Ballina and Grafton.

Bennet said he was pleased with her win.

“She can go to the paddock now,” he said.

“She can have a little break.”

Bennett said she might be a “country championship horse” and hopes she improves with the short spell.

He’s been working on her tractability and dealt with some feet issues as well.

A good starting in barrier two also helped the filly, he said.

“She raced a lot closer today,” Bennett said.

“That was a bit of a surprise but she finished off very well.”

The win was Bennett’s seventh of the Northern Rivers Racing Association season and left him equal 16th on the premiership table behind runaway leader Matthew Dunn (60).

And he is already planning his Casino Gold Cup on Saturday August 15, 2020.

Meanwhile, Gold Coast trainer John Smerdon pulled off a good plunge when Peppino claimed the $22,000 WIN Network Benchmark 58 Handicap (1910m).

Backed in to start favourite Peppino, a five-year-old gelding son of Pierro, was given the run of the race by Ben Looker.

His smart ride, saving ground on the inside, allowed the gelding to beat the Marcus Wilson-trained Princess Sparkles with Cathy Chapman’s Glycine Max running an eye-catching third.



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