Patience rewarded with first win in 11 runs at Ballina
PATIENCE finally paid off for home trainer William Pholi at Ballina's Boxing Day races.
Pholi's charge Count Kawana secured his first victory at the 11th time of asking in the $6,000 Robert Oatley Wines Maiden Plate (1010m) at yesterday's meeting.
The four-year-old bay gelding had shown solid if unspectacular form since returning from a 24-week spell in November, but displayed an impressive late surge to take the win.
Pholi admitted he had doubted the horse's prowess, but said he hoped further victories may now be in the offing.
"You've got to wait for them and have that patience," he said. "Sometimes it's a matter of asking yourself, 'how long do you wait'.
"I wasn't cheering too much until I knew for certain he'd got past that post. Then I was thinking, 'at last'.
"He is a good little horse to handle. He's just been a little bit immature.
"Hopefully now he will mature nicely and there could be some more wins in him."
With canny jockey Cyril Small aboard, the $4.20 shot showed an impressive kick round the final bend and finishing power to take the win.
The $3.50 favourite Otimo was second, with Mahrajaan next back.
Pholi said Small's experience in handling difficult horses had been important.
"Cyril has had two or three rides with him," Pholi said. "He knows the horse and what it can do.
"That's the hardest part these days - getting jockeys to stick with the horses.
"(The horse) has been disappointing, but maybe he's getting his act together now."