Rilla wins a thriller
CASINO trainer Pat Randall was toasting a successful change in routine while Danny Bowen received more festive cheer at Lismore Turf Club's $120,000 race meeting yesterday.
Randall's charge Rilla put in a strong finish to capture the $15,000 Lismore Workers Club Maiden Handicap (1516m).
The four-year-old had been in uninspiring form and went into the race a distant $21 shot.
Delighted Randall said he had been confident of a strong finish though - with a new training regime paying rapid dividends.
"I had no doubt he would win because I knew he had it in him," Randall said.
"I wasn't sure that he would have run them down, but he did well.
"When he was coming down the straight, I said 'the show is over' because I knew he could finish well.
"I have tried to change his routine over the past two weeks.
"He has been doing swimming and that has helped him."
Jockey Matt Draicos saw the horse home for a narrow half-length triumph from second-placed Roussos Destiny.
It was a first win in seven outings for the bay gelding, which had not placed higher than sixth.
Ballina's Danny Bowen was also celebrating after seeing his charge Haslington make it back-to-back wins.
The six-year-old, which triumphed over 1530m at the Murwillumbah twilight meeting last Friday, was too good for the fieldof six as it captured the $15,000 Staunch Window Tinting Open Handicap (1400m).
It was also a memorable day for Eagle Farm's Barry Lockwood, with Outback Dream taking the $15,000 Lismore Come to the Heart Maiden Handicap (1100m).
The three-year-old bay filly returned from a six-month breakto take its first victory at the fifth attempt.
Punters should keep an eye on the promising charge, which looked in excellent condition and was among the leading pack before surging home.
Lockwood said he now intended to take the horse, which has previously trialled well in Sydney, for a run in Brisbane.
"She has shown good potential," Lockwood said.
"I thought enough of her as a two-year-old to take her to Sydney and she didn't displease us.
"She ran a good fourth there in good company and I am hoping she will improve further."
The next Lismore race meeting will be on Saturday, February 2.