CENTRAL west racing has a new cult hero after flashy mare Castlereagh Grey scored her fourth win from five starts in the Tracserv Benchmark 55 Handicap (1100m) at Dubbo yesterday.
Trained at Gilgandra by Bruce Parker, the mare was cheered home by a vocal group of owners as well as punters, who backed the easily identifiable grey into $2.40 favouritism.
After being left in a paddock for a number of years, Parker was given the mare to train again by the new syndicate of owners, with wins at Warren, Wellington and Gilgandra followed by a close-up fourth at Tamworth at her most recent start.
Yesterday the mare was able to sit on top of a decent tempo up front and kick strongly, despite hanging out in the straight and jockey Catherine Markwort only having control of one rein in the concluding stages of the event.
On the line she had a long head to spare from Cowgirls Don’t Cry ($8, Melissa Brown) with Routine ($7, Mick Travers) a further short head away in third.
“She’s done a good job,” Parker said after the race.
“They came at her all the way but she kicked hard and did enough to win. It was good because she had to lump 60kg and she played up a bit as well.
“She was unlucky at Tamworth. She doesn’t like it wet and it bucketed down before her race there and she was caught on the inside so she did well that day.
“We were pretty confident she would go close to winning again here today.”
Despite earning an eight-day suspension for causing interference to Das Boss and Green For Go (Mathew Cahill) in the straight, Markwort was over the moon with the win, adding the mare has taken her on a very special journey.
“Daniel Pitomac got injured and I picked up the ride on her at Wellington,” Markwort said.
“It’s unlucky for Daniel but it’s given me a real confidence boost being on a horse that I keep getting good results on.
“I don’t have a manager. I ring up for my own rides but people have seen me riding this mare and have started calling which is good.
“She did a good job there today. When I lost the rein I just put my head down and tried to ride her out hard to the line and it paid off. She kept giving and that is all I could have asked for.”
Meanwhile later in the day champion rider Greg Ryan was seen at his best when he guided Sutton Queen to victory in the $15,000 Peter Walkom Memorial (1250m).