Baxter finally backs a winner

April 12, 2018

Pat McEvoy, Natasha Baxter, Ron Hockley, Stuart Smith, Joy McEvoy.

Natasha Baxter rides Anna’s Mystique to victory at Healesville on Saturday. Pictures: Best

Even Natasha Baxter concedes her timing was not great this picnic racing season.

The Seymour apprentice jockey made it onto the winner’s list for the first time in more than 14 months when she partnered Anna’s Mystique to victory for local trainer Ron Hockley at Healesville on Saturday.

Unfortunately for the 23-year-old, that was the final meeting of the 2017/18 picnic season.

It was just the third meeting the Seymour jockey had ridden at since the corresponding Healesville meeting 12 months earlier. A broken foot sustained before she had ridden in a race this season kept her sidelined.

‘‘When it happened I thought I’d be out for about six weeks, but it was about 15 weeks later that I got back into it,’’ Baxter said.

‘‘At the time I thought it was no big deal, it was just a little break, but it took a lot longer than I thought it would.’’

Hockley supplied Baxter with three of her four rides at Healesville with victory coming at the second of them, in the 1650m maiden.

It was the first trip to the picnics in 13 starts for the five-year-old son of Strategic Maneuver, who was beaten by 7.5lengths when second-last of 10 at Kerang a week earlier.

The gelding bred by former Seymour Racing Club president Pat McEvoy — who retains ownership with family and friends — scored by a half-neck as an $8.50 chance and Baxter was delighted to deliver a win for Hockley.

‘‘You see Ron every day (at track work) and see how hard he works, so to ride a winner for him is great,’’ she said.

●Seymour trainer Don Dwyer narrowly missed out on claiming the final feature of the picnic season when Earthling was edged out in the iconic Golden Thong.

The Spinning World five-year-old, who was shooting for four wins in a row to round out the picnic season, was beaten a short head by the Russell Green-trained Victorian Crown in the 1650m event.

Victorian Crown was ridden to victory by Courtney Pace, who celebrated a winning double, which sealed a third Picnic Jockeys’ Premiership for the Bendigo hoop.

Pace rode 27 winners for the season, four more than Toby Lake with Dani Walker in third spot on 15 wins.

The trainers’ premiership went to Troy Kilgower, whose 12 wins landed him a three-win victory over Seymour’s Barry Goodwin. Rebecca Waymouth was just one win further back in third spot.

— Brad Bishop

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