MONTO RACE CLUB'S 90 YEARS
Rusty sails home for Houston’s maiden win
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.