JOCKEY Jamie Mott made a winning return to race riding, six months after a nasty fall.
At Sale on Wednesday, Mott rode Rock The Ring to victory in race four, the two-year-old maiden plate over 1112 metres.
The ride on the two-year-old colt, trained by David and Ben Hayes and Tom Dabernig, was Mott’s first in a race since breaking a fibula and tibia and fracturing both ankles in a three-horse fall at Cranbourne in November.
Rock The Ring was near the back of the field heading into the straight, but had a good run down the middle of the track to win by a length from Seguso, trained by Grahame Begg and ridden by Clayton Douglas. In third place was Mighty Murt, trained by John Price and ridden by Arron Lynch.
The track was rated “soft seven”, but most horses avoided running along the rails because of softer patches on the inside.
Lynch and Ballarat-based trainer Patrick Payne had winning doubles in the jumps races.
They began the day on a winning note, with favourite Longclaw victorious in the 3200 metre maiden hurdle. After three wins on the flat, the four-year-old gelding was making his debut over the jumps.
Longclaw and Coleridge, ridden by Nathan Newton for Eric Musgrove at Cranbourne, battled for the win after the final jump, but Lynch’s mount edged away to win by half a length.
In third place was Crafty Lion, trained by Jackie Horner at Bass, and ridden by Lee Horner.
Payne made it two from two with Michelin winning race two, the 3200m benchmark 120 hurdle.
Horner put in a patient ride on the eight-year-old gelding, who only took the lead in the home straight to win by four lengths.
Race favourite Scholarly, trained by Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott, set the pace for much of the race, but couldn’t respond to Michelin’s challenge, finishing second.
Mr One Eleven, ridden by Darryl Horner for Musgrove, finished third.
A win-less drought ended in race three, the 3200m maiden steeplechase, but the event wasn’t without drama.
Markwood and Newbury, who both lead the races at stages, clipped the final hurdle, before Pentelligentsia lost his rider trying to avoid Newbury. The horses and riders have been cleared of injury.
Ridden by Lynch for Musgrove, $5.30 chance Tremec sat back before finding a gap heading into the bend and challenged Markwood. With Markwood out of the running, Tremec won by nine lengths, the 11-year-old gelding’s first victory since July 2016. In second place was Referee, with Bold Bandit third.
In the flat races, Pakenham trainer Nick Harnett and jockey Matt Cartwright combined for a winning double, beginning in race five.
Six-year-old gelding Wilde Gem won the 1112m benchmark 70 handicap.
Coming off a win at Sale two weeks earlier, favourite Moi Choux led into the straight, when the field spread across the track. Wilde Gem finished strongly on the outside, got up at the post from Moix Choux and Good Therapy.
Harnett and Cartwright combined to win race seven, the 1427m class one handicap, with Seafield Road.
Coming off back-to-back placings at Sale, the three-year-old gelding moved to the lead out of the gates and never looked back, winning by nearly four lengths from favourite Echo Boomer and Mostly Sunny.
In race six, the class one handicap over 1212m, was won by Bless Her, ridden by Jye McNeil, recorded back-to-back wins at Sale for Cranbourne trainer Shea Eden. The three-year-old filly won by a length from Monsters Inc and Designer Chef.
The program ended with a thrilling finish in the benchmark 64 handicap over 1627m.
Jungle Jane, trained by Lyn Tolson and Leonie Proctor at Mornington and ridden by Michael Walker, and Dargo, trained by Cindy Alderson at Cranbourne, battled down the outside of the straight, with Jungle Jane winning by a nose.
The five-year-old mare has placed in her previous four starts, including two wins. Three lengths behind the first two was King Landon.
Racing returns to Greenwattle on Wednesday, May 27.