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RAY Spokes grabbed a running double when the Coffs Harbour jockey piloted Patriot and then Shows Pride to successive wins at Grafton today.

After winning aboard the John Sprague-trained Patriot he followed up with the Warren Dean-trained Shows Pride in the $22,000 Yamba Pumps& Irrigation Class 1 Handicap (1215m).

It was the gelding’s second win following a maiden win at Coffs Harbour back in early December.

Shows Pride was a horse with plenty of problems.

“I nearly gave up on him,” Warren Dean admitted.

Dean believes he is a “mile” horse while Ray Spokes said the son of Show A Heart is a “bit more sensible in the head” this time in.

“We got a good tempo and that made my job easy,” he said.

Neville Boyle also said Tierra Del Fuego has been a “handful”.

Boyle thought to highly of him he took him to Sydney for a Highway Handicap but the gelding fell apart under pressure and the long trip.

“We were pretty confident today,” he said.

BEN THOMPSON saved ground on the inside and that paved the way for a breakthrough win for Enrique at Grafton today.

The three-year-old gelding is prepared at Eagle Farm by Steve O’Dea and Matthew Hoysted.

They had struck earlier in the day when Stellar Magic had won the second race and returned to their Brisbane base with two wins from three runners.

Think Glory had run fourth for the duo but had also run fairly.

“Good to go home with a double,” Matthew Hoysted quipped after Enrique’s win.

A three-year-old son of Sebring the gelding won courtesy of a great ride by Ben Thompson.

“He’s a work in progress,” Ben Thompson said of Enrique.

“He settled further back than normally would have and I was able to find the rail.”

A couple of his opposition in front of him worked off the rail and Thompson had no hesitation to drive through and onto success.

Matt Hoysted said “Ben saved all that ground” led to the win and could lead to more success over more ground in the future.

“This trip away will help him too,” Hoysted said.

Six-year-old gelding, Patriot, also won courtesy of a “gun ride” by Ray Spokes.

The John Sprague-trained son of Reward For Effort notched his eighth win at his 46th start.

Ray Spokes had sat Patriot in behind leader Rexx as the Armidale gelding put pace into the $22,000 Yamba Golf & Country Club Yamba Cup (1215m).

Spokes then peeled out in the straight to win the sprint.

“We had the run of the race,” Spokes admitted of a horse he said “has changed his mind and decided to have a go”.

John Sprague said the good pace in the race helped a horse who is tough to train.

“He pulls hard in his track work,” John Sprague said.

“He’s a real thinking horse too, we have a lot of trouble with him but when there is a bit of speed on he can lob along laps it up.”

MATT Dunn and Matt McGuren combined for more success at Grafton today when the two Northern Rivers Racing Association heavyweights claimed a running double.

Their success began when they won the $22,000 Yamba Pumps & Irrigation Class 2 Handicap (1720m) with Triple The Fun.

The four-year-old daughter of Snitzel has won three of her 11 starts for her Murwillumbah stable and finished powerfully to run down the Kris Lees-trained Vanbari.

Then three-year-old filly Hallowed Dreams motored home to win the $22,000 Yamba Bowling Club Maiden Plate (1115m).

The daughter of Hallowed Crown had debuted at Grafton when fourth to Magic Smile over 1000m back in October.

“She was really good today,” said Keira Dunn, wife of trainer Matt.

“She’s carrying a bit more condition and will be even better next preparation.”

She said her husband allows all his horses “all the time they need” and said she will “turn into a lovely horse”.

Matt McGuren said the filly “did everything right”.

“She was strong through the line,” McGuren said of a filly he expects to “get further”.

The day started well for Beaudesert trainer Ben Ahrens when Lincoln Town claimed the $22,000 Kensei Club Closing Soon Class 1/Maiden Plate (2230m).

Lincoln Town and Nature Boy had led early but the Lea Selby-trained Nature Boy wanted to race keener and launched out to a six or seven length lead.

Anthony Allen allowed Lincoln Town to ease back out of the speed battle and reaped the benefits as five-year-old gelding surged home for his second career win.

Eagle Farm-trained Stellar Magic won the second race for the Steve O’Dea and Matthew Hoystead stable.

The two-year-old daughter of Star Turn had debuted with a second at Eagle Farm in October last year and resumed from a good spell to cruise to a two length-plus win in the $22,000 Clarence Coast Air Conditioning 2YO Maiden Plate (1015m) in 58.06secs.


Northern Rivers Racing Association Premiership as at 15/02


Unofficial and compiled by Geoff Newling after the Monday, February 15 Lismore meeting.


35: Matt Dunn.

14: Brett Bellamy.

11: Edward O’Rourke, John Shelton.

8: Kacy Fogden.

7: Brett Dodson, Billy Healey, Stephen Lee.

6: Maryann Brosnan, Cathy Chapman, Shane Everson, Warren Gavenlock, Kris Lees, Jason Reilly.

5: Daniel Want.

4: Daniel Bowen, Daiki Chujo, Joanne Hardy, Jim Jarvis, Les Kelly, Paul Smith.

3: Paula Barron, Tom Cowan, Toby & Trent Edmonds, Owen Glue, Darren Graham, Jenny Graham, Donna Grisedale, Kelvin Hickmott, Allan Kehoe, Chris Munce, Andrew Parramore, Graham Payne, Dwayne Schmidt, John Smerdon, John Sprague, Ross Stitt, Amy Usher, Steven Wise.

2: Chris Anderson, Stephen Bennett, Fleur Blanch, Neville Boyle, Leo Clapham, Neil Creighton, Hilary Dew, Helen Donnelly, Steve Field, Paul Grills, Carolyn Halliday, Lindsay Hatch, Bruce Hill, Gary Hutchesson, Melissa Kelly, Wayne Lawson, Tony Newing, Wayne Oakenfull, Jan Pritchard, Colt Prosser, Barry Ratcliff, Andrew Sawden, Mark Stewart, Marcus Wilson.

1: Ben Ahrens, Wendy Bannerot, Jay Bellamy, Danny Bougoure, Alan Boyd, Kristen Buchanan, Coralie Burnett, Michael Costa, Errol Creighton, Brian Crowley, Warren Dean, Allan Denham, Adam Duggan, Shane Edmonds, Jeff Englebrecht, Ethan Ensby, Terry Evans, David Fletcher, Allan Foran, Corey & Kylie Geran, John Gilmore, Neil Godbolt, Tony Green, Scott Henley, Tom Higgins, Greg Howells, Sam Kavanagh, Kevin King, Bevan Laming, Annette Lee, Matthew McCudden, Chris Manson, Craig Martin, Bob Milligan, Cody Morgan, Tas Morton, Brad Munro, Harold Norman, Mick O’Neill, Stirling Osland, Sharon Pepper, Glen Petersen, Steve Phelps, Bill Pholi, Angela Plumb, Kelly Purdy, Marc Quinn, Barry Ratcliff, Ben Robinson, Cathleen Rode, David Scanes, Lisa Sheppard, Daniel & Rocky Simonetta, Brad Smith, Sally Taylor, Chloe Thomas, Luke Thomas, John Wallace, Joel & Wayne Wilkes, Tess Wilkes, Alicia Willick, Peter Youngberry.


35: Matthew McGuren.

25: Ben Looker.

22: Luke Rolls.

21: Ray Spokes.

17: Andrew Mallyon.

16: Jon Grisedale, Kirk Matheson.

13: Belinda Hodder.

6: Anthony Allen, Stephen Traecey.

5: Allan Chau, Ashley Morgan, Travis Wolfgram, Jodi Worley.

4: Jake Bayliss, Michael Cahill, Tegan Harrison, Nozi Tomizawa.

3: Andrew Gibbons, Jeff Kehoe, James Orman, Chris Taylor, Ryan Wiggins.

2: Shane Arnold, Matt Bennett, Aaron Bullock, Casey Caserta, Craig Franklin, Scott Galloway, Stephanie Lacy, Noryuki Masuda, Ryan Maloney, Paul Payne, Justin Stanley.

1: Skye Bogenhuber, Grant Buckley, Georgina Cartwright, Luke Cumberland, Luke Dittman, Shannon Doyle, Robbie Fradd, Jordan Grob, Jackson Murphy, Rikki Palmer, Ryan Plumb, Kasey Stanley, Ron Stewart, Brooke Stower, Jasen Watkins, Chris Whiteley, Jarrod Woodhouse.


16: Emily Atkinson.

10: Kyle Wilson-Taylor.

8: Leah Kilner.

4: Melea Castle, Cejay Graham.

3: Dylan Gibbons, Zac Lloyd, Georgina McDonnell.

2: Qin Yong, Mikaela Weir.

1: Jayden Barrie, Zoe-Lee Cruickshank, Justin Huxtable, Jaden Lloyd.


STEPHANIE Lacy and De Vega Peach surged home from back in the field to claim a deserving win at Ballina today.

The pair combined to win the $22,000 Aquis Farm Fillies & Mares Benchmark 58 Handicap (1250m) for Sunshine Coast trainer Wendy Bannerot.

A daughter of Lope De Vega, De Vega Peach was having her 19th race start and claimed a third career win for Bannerot, who purchased her as a weanling.

“She’s always been a favourite of mine,” Wendy Bannerot said.

Stephanie Lacy has also been a favourite and the female jockey was delighted to repay good support over a number of years.

“She has been a big supporter of mine,” Stephanie Lacy said.

“Good to get the Peach up for her. She didn’t handle the track very well but to her credit she was strong at the end.”


MEDUSA’S Fury made a brilliant home track debut and won a “dogfight” at Ballina today.

The Stephen Lee-trained filly, a daughter of Deep Field, was having her fifth race start but her first on her home track in the $22,000 XXXX Gold Maiden Plate (1300m) and couldn’t have been any more impressive.

Ridden by Jake Bayliss the three-year-old scooted away from her rivals to beat race favourite Battaglia.

Bayliss said the filly drew a good gate which allowed him to “have her where she was comfortable”.

“It came down to a dogfight in the end and she was tougher,” Bayliss added of a stoush down the straight with Battaglia.

Stephen Lee was confident she would run well too after she trialled well in a strong trial and then ran well at Grafton after drawing badly.

“She drew a good barrier today,” he said of a major factor in her first success.

“She’s a nice filly, her form has been up and down but she’s never had much in her races. Her full sister (Cotton Fields) won well the other day in Brisbane too.”

Lee’s win was his seventh in the NRRA this season and took him to equal seventh on the trainer’s premiership with one race of today’s meeting remaining.


Earlier, Daunting Warrior had won at huge odds for Angela Plumb.

The son of Daunting Lad paid $63 on the NSW Tote.

Jarrod Woodhouse rode the gelding and believes he will be better over further.

“He’s such a big horse, a big strider, he’ll get over ground and Angela has got him fit,” Woodhouse said.


MATTHEW McGuren and Shane Everson combined to win at Ballina today with a horse that has fond memories for them.

September Girl surged to success in the $22,000 Mulcahy Lawyers Class 1 Handicap (1000m) at Ballina, her second win 16 starts and her first for Grafton based Everson.

The late Alan “Ally” Ryan had trained the daughter of Red Element.

He had celebrated her maiden win at Grafton back in December 2019 but sadly he passed away last year.

He transferred September Girl to Shane Everson who has had her for eight starts.

The four-year-old mare had run four second and a third for Everson before winning today.

“She was so frustrating last prep,” Shane Everson said of her near misses.

“Really happy to win today for her owner. She’s a lovely mare, tries her guts out.”

He said it was also sad and emotional as they had lost Alan Ryan just over 12 months ago.

Matt McGuren was equally as mindful of September Girl’s breakthrough win for her “new” stable.

He had started his career apprenticed to Ally Ryan.

“No one has been more influential in my career than Ally,” he told Grafton’s Daily Examiner in 2012.

“And I have to thank him for keeping me in the industry.”

McGuren won that year’s Rising Star Series and then three years later won a Country Championship Quailifier for Ryan onboard Redwolf.

Today he was able to “bounce her nicely” from the barriers, settle and win for the second time.

“She was good,” he said whilst remembering and noting the value of Ally Ryan’s friendship and training.

“He was my mentor,” McGuren added.


Earlier, Gold Coast gelding, I’m Not In Love, won the $22,000 Koellner Steel Maiden Handicap (1000m) for Kelly Purdy.

“He’s still green, got a lot to learn,” Kelly Purdy aid after the breakthrough win.

“I really like the horse.”

Apprentice Emily Atkinson was the winning jockey and she too added he “has a lot to learn”.

She was mainly concerned with “getting around the turn” which she did and he let down nicely for her to win at his second start.


JUST A Joke might be headed to the Gold Coast after the former Victorian galloper broke through for his Grafton trainer at Ballina today.

The six-year-old son of High Chaparral had his first start for Jason Reilly at Murwillumbah on January 23.

A winner of three races in 25 starts he finished fourth first up on a Heavy 8 and then went to Grafton where he was eighth to Southern Swing on a Good track over the 1400m.

“He ran eighth but nearly got cleaned up (by a riderless horse),” Jason Reilly said of his last start effort.

Andrew Mallyon rode Just A Joke today and he said he copped a “buffeting” at one stage and that forced him to give up a good spot tracking favoured Never Lose Faith.

Mallyon had to settle him and then sustain a long run from last to overpower his rivals with an eye-catching surge.

“He did a good job picking up and sprinting like that,” Mallyon added.

Jason Reilly said it “was great to see him let down like that”.

“We’re looking at a race at the Gold Coast in three weeks,” he also said.

Just A Joke was a $300,000 yearling but cost Reilly just $5000.


Earlier in the meeting The Allan Kehoe-trained Dragon Dream blitzed his opposition, leading and running away from his rivals in the TAB Maiden Plate (1590m).


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