Rusty sails home for Hous­ton’s maiden win

Central and North Burnett Times - - FRONT PAGE - Macken­zie Co­la­han Macken­zie.Co­la­

HORSE RAC­ING: Sharni Hous­ton’s love af­fair with horses stretches back to her child­hood.

Hous­ton has owned many horses, but pur­chased her first race­horse Rusty (Sail the Stars) only 12 months ago.

Last week­end she claimed her maiden win in Monto.

The vic­tory was the cul­mi­na­tion of months of 3am starts and long days at the track with her young daugh­ters and trainer Wendy Ban­nerott.

An emo­tional Hous­ton said she was thrilled with the per­for­mance in the fi­nal race of the day.

“My heart is still pound­ing and I’m shak­ing,” Hous­ton said af­ter the race.

“It’s an un­be­liev­able feel­ing, I’m so proud of him.

Hous­ton runs a rid­ing school and ag­ist­ment prop­erty at Mooloolah Val­ley on the Sun­shine Coast, where her 10 horses are sta­bled.

She al­ways had an in­ter­est in rac­ing but hadn’t given it a sec­ond thought un­til re­cently, when she stum­bled upon Rusty.

Hous­ton pur­chased the seven-year-old ch­est­nut geld­ing for her daugh­ter 12 months ago, with the in­ten­tion of using him as a rid­ing school pony, and pos­si­bly for show jump­ing down the track.

But Rusty was quick – he had raced be­fore – and she soon re­alised he was bet­ter suited to the track.

Hav­ing never owned a race­horse Hous­ton was ap­pre­hen­sive, she knew it was hard – and of­ten thank­less – work.

It paid off this week­end and all the blood, sweat and tears were made worth­while when Rusty streaked away down the the stretch to win the 1400 me­tre Monto Race Club 90th An­niver­sary Hand­i­cap.

Sun­shine Coast jockey Nathan Faza­ck­erly, 20, rode a flaw­less race to have Sail the Stars first past the post by one-and-a-quar­ter lengths over Lake Ar­gyle.

Hav­ing come ag­o­nis­ingly close on more than one oc­ca­sion in his six pre­vi­ous starts, Hous­ton said she was over the moon with Sail the Stars’ first win.

“I couldn’t have done it with­out my fan­tas­tic trainer and new best friend Wendy Ban­nerott,” Hous­ton said.

“We’re stay­ing in Monto tonight so it’s my shout at the pub.

“I’ll be danc­ing on ta­bles!” The grounds were green and the track was quick on Satur­day, and de­spite grey skies threat­en­ing, the rain held off for a won­der­ful day of coun­try rac­ing.

Af­ter a suc­cess­ful first visit to Monto, Hous­ton and her team will be re­turn­ing.

And although Rusty may be near­ing the end of his ca­reer, re­tire­ment is look­ing good.

“He’s got a full-time job at home when he fin­ishes rac­ing,” Hous­ton said.

“My daugh­ter will start show­ing him next year.”

MY SHOUT: Arnie Din­gle and Flynn MP Ken O'Dowd present the prize to win­ning owner Sharni Hous­ton. PHOTOS: MACKEN­ZIE CO­LA­HAN

Cause Havoc trumps the field to win the 1200m Pa­trons QTIS Maiden Plate.

Deb­bie and Manny Lod­wick (Stal­lions & Steeds win­ner).

Fash­ions on the Field win­ner He­len Parker (El­e­gant Ladies).

Mark Hut­ton, Gir­lie Goody and Arnie Din­gle cut the cake.

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