It had been the best part of 19 years since Joe Curran had tasted success at the track, but after coming back to the training game earlier this year he recaptured that feeling in the fourth at Mudgee’s showcase meeting on Friday afternoon.
Curran, now listed by Racing NSW as an Orange trainer, had a long stint away from the sport but returned in January, and was thrilled to watch on as Concours ($5) burst through the middle of the field in the dying stages of the Montrose Stony Creek Country Maiden Showcase Plate (1200 metres) on Friday.
His last winner was Wiggly Woo, which saluted at Randwick on December 10, 1999.
“I was training on our property at Canowindra back then, I’d forgotten what the feeling was like but it’s great to be back training, it’s fantastic,” Curran said after Friday afternoon’s win.
“I’ve just started up again so I’d like to thank Alan Bell who’s given me a couple of horses to train.”
After jumping from barrier one with celebrated country hoop Mathew Cahill in the saddle, Concours sat mid-field at the top of the straight and actually looked like fading in the final 100 or so.
Instead, she found a huge extra effort to roll over the top of the field and win by a head from Connie Grieg's Southern Strategy ($5.50), with Bob Howe’s Trojan ($4.20) another neck back.
Supreme Gem, trained by Orange’s Alison Smith, finished fourth after jumping as a $4 favourite, she was caught out wide in the sprint and although she hit the line well she had too much work to do.
Friday was Concour’s second career run after finishing third at Gundagai on debut midway through last month, that was first-up from a 22-week spell, which came after her first and only trial.
“She’s a lovely mare … she’s a beautiful mare and it’s taken a while to get her to race and she’s had some time off, but she’s won well [on Friday]. She was very well-ridden by Mathew as well,” Curran said.
It was actually Cahill’s third win from the opening four races of the afternoon, having saluted on board Luke Hilton’s Mornay ($3.10) and Cameron Crockett’s The Warlord ($1.85 favourite) in the first and third, respectively.
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