Shepparton News

Choralist hits a winning note at Echuca

- By Meg Saultry

The Michael CornishDon­na Gaskin-trained Choralist has finally struck the right chord.

The four-year-old mare broke her maiden at Echuca on Monday at her 10th start, though it seems her biggest obstacle was her own temperamen­tal character.

‘‘All we had to do today was keep her out of trouble,” Cornish said.

‘‘(Jockey) Craig (Newitt) is aware of it, he’s aware of the horse and he just rode it too a tee.’’

It didn’t take long for Choralist to gift Echuca its first and only local winner for the day, saluting in the second race, the Perricoota Station Accomodati­on Maiden Plate over 1209 m.

Racing back and wide, Newitt and Choralist rolled into the turn in fourth with a clear run at the line.

Though it wasn’t until the last 150m they, along with the Leon and Troy Corstenstr­ained Far Too Tempting, broke away from the field, with Choralist ultimately edging in front by a neck on the line.

It’s been a roller-coaster ride to get to Choralist’s maiden victory, the journey spanning three stables.

But crossing to Cornish and Gaskin earlier this year, the mare may have finally found a sweet spot as a sixfurlong horse.

Running back-to-back thirds at her first two starts for the stable, Choralist found the going a little tougher in a 1300m race at Swan Hill.

Now, the drop back to the 1200m seems to have paid off.

‘‘Last start she just didn’t run that 1300m strongly out,” Cornish said.

“I really think she is a strong six-furlong type of horse.

“Her work the other morning was sensationa­l, and I thought, she is right this mare and today proved that.”

Newitt also believes the move to the 1209 m distance was an astute one.

‘‘She’s a little bit temperamen­tal, she’s always on the go,” he said.

“I think the right move was to get her back to the six furlongs where they just go a little bit quicker.

‘‘She’s not a horse you can really drive and put into a spot, you’ve just got to leave her alone.

“And when she wants to get going into the race, you’ve just got to slide with her a bit.’’

After moving up the field at the top of the straight, Choralist still had plenty of work to do, ultimately digging deep in the final 200m.

“I picked up a couple lengths coming around the corner then just sort of held it together as long as I could,” Newitt said.

“And to her credit, she won well and I’m sure she’ll be able to win a couple more.’’

After a wilful start to her career, Cornish is also expecting good things to come for the mare.

“I think she’s a tough little mare on the up,” he said.

‘‘There has been a couple of little niggles there, but I think we are well and truly past that now.

“It helped with the blinkers coming off and the winkers going on.’’

Also on Echuca’s mammoth 10-race card, Daryl Archard’s Court Painter ran third in a maiden plate over 2124 m, while the Jim Laketraine­d Honorellay was fractions off back-to-back wins, finishing runner-up to the Brent Stanley-trained El Salto in the BM64 Handicap over 1009 m.

Seymour jockey Cory Parish didn’t have the smoothest ride at Echuca, with one of his two rides an early scratching before needing medical assistance after he came off Svaneke after jumping in a maiden plate over 1618 m.

And in one of the more inspiratio­nal tales, Swan Hill apprentice jockey Shanae O’Meara made her riding debut at Echuca after a storied return from a lifethreat­ening fall in 2019.

Put in an induced coma with severe head injuries after falling during track work, O’Meara was later told she would never ride a horse again.

But earlier this year O’Meara achieved what many thought impossible, announced as one of only six riders selected as part of Racing Victoria’s latest Apprentice Program.

Now 26 months on from her life-threatenin­g ordeal, O’Meara was bundled into the barriers for her first rides on the Jane Duncan-trained Wasabi and later, the Ciaron Maher-trained The Mobot.

She finished 10th of 11 and seventh of 10 in her respective races.

 ?? Picture: Brendan McCarthy/Racing Photos ?? Breakthrou­gh: Choralist ridden by Craig Newitt wins at Echuca on Monday.
Picture: Brendan McCarthy/Racing Photos Breakthrou­gh: Choralist ridden by Craig Newitt wins at Echuca on Monday.

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