Trainer Matt Dunn’s perseverance with improving Ashman reaped more dividends when the gelding made it four wins in a row at Ipswich.
Ashman ($1.55) continued Dunn’s 70 per cent strike rate this season at Ipswich with the trainer’s eighth winner in the River 94.4 Handicap (1350m).
“Not many horses win four in a row. When he came into the stable he was a little bloke who was difficult to ride but we preserved and he has gradually improved to the point where he has won five of his nine starts,” Dunn said.
Former South Australian apprentice Justin Huxtable led all the way on Phionax ($14) to ride his first Queensland winner since joining trainer Chris Munce in early October.
“Being drawn on the inside was a big help and I am pleased my first winner was for Chris,” said Huxtable, who claims 2kg.
Munce said Huxtable was a genuine horseman who should attract more attention now he had broken through for a win.
Jockey Michael Hellyer warmed up for a Group One assignment at Flemington on Saturday with a clever ride to score an upset win on Westover ($10) in a maiden over 800m.
Hellyer, who rides Baccarat Baby in the Empire Rose Stakes, used his inside barrier to keep the favourite Single Again ($1.60) deep and went on to win by a half-length.
Westover was formerly trained by Grant Allard at Gosford but is now with central Queensland trainer Jason Devine who made an eight-hour trip from Thangool for the race.
“The jockey lost her iron when Westover was well beaten at Tuncurry last time so the run was better than it looks,” he said.
Hard work by jockey Scott Galloway to get Top Me Up Again to settle paid off the gelding led all of the way to win a maiden over 1666m.
Top Me Up Again is a half-brother to stakes winner Order Again and trainer Brian Smith is hoping to get him out to a middle distance.