A 200-1 long shot that ran like a 2-1 favourite caused one of the biggest upsets at Terang’s first race meeting of the 2017/18 season.
Seven year-old gelding Real Finniss, ridden by Kassie Furness, stormed home in the last race of the day to win by three lengths ahead Matthias.
It was one of the biggest boilovers of recent time, with the Deanne Taylor trained runner securing just its second win in 40 starts.
It was the last of ten races on Monday, with a large number of nominations leading to the addition of two extra races of what was originally an eight race program.
Terang and District Racing Club president Wayne Johnstone, who owned the winner of the second race, Dash of Pash, said Monday’s meeting was a ‘fantastic’ start to a bumper season.
He said the ten races showcased to the industry that Terang has a good reputation amongst trainers, owners and jockeys alike.
“Ten races these days is a rarity and Terang seems to have people prepared to come here and race,” Johnstone said.
“We had 370 nominations, which is fantastic.”
Johnstone said that the track fared well after the weekend’s weather, starting the day a soft five before being upgraded to a good four after race seven.
“After all the weather predictions and catastrophic weather events that were forecast, the track has come up a treat,” he said.
“It’s raced perfectly.”
Winners across the day included a mixture of both Melbourne and locally trained horses, something that Johnstone said further emphasised Terang’s ability to attract quality fields.
“The winners have come from leading stables around the district, so it’s well supported by the Melbourne stables as well as the stronger local stables,” Johnstone said.
The opening race was taken out by the Linda Meech aboard the Dan O’Sullivan trained Truly Discreet, narrowly beating Last Light.
Dash for Pash took out the second by over two lengths, with the Symon Wilde trained mare registering its first win for connections.
Damien Thornton rode 20-1 chance Lady Magnus to victory ahead of Sea of Stars in the 1000 metre maiden plate, the third race of the day.
Aaron Purcell took out the other 1000 metre maiden, when his horse Hampton Classic saluted in race four to give Meech a double.
In race five, You Would Think, trained by Warrnambool’s Matthew Williams, finished 1.25 lengths ahead of another Warrnambool trained runner, Wessels.
Geoff Daffy’s Aurora Rising raced strongly in the latter stages of race six to finish second, a length and half behind Greywolf of Caulfield trainer Mick Price’s stable.
Dean Yendall rode Darren Weir’s Our Chiquilla to a narrow victory in the seventh race, with Weir’s Warrnambool foreman, Jarrod McLean, training the second placed, Simply Splashing.
McLean followed up his second placing with a win when Del Piero beat home Mandjar by 0.75 lengths over 1000 metres in the next race.
Tommy Standup led from start to finish in the second last race to give both Wilde and Andrew Mallyon a double for day, with the jockey guiding the four year-old home by 1.75 lengths ahead of Call Me Nova.
The club also hosted trials on Tuesday, with Johnstone saying over 240 horses had ran at the track across the two days.
The club will now turn its attention to its New Year’s Day meeting, with officials hopeful of a big crowd attending the day.
“The New Year’s races are a great local day, we aim to get somewhere between 1500 and 2000 people here,” Johnstone said.
“We’re scheduled to host six races.”
In another boost for the club, Terang is set to host jumps racing for the first time in over a decade.
Two races run over 3200 metres on the course proper have been scheduled for one of their meetings next year.
The decision for the jumps to return came after the club hosted trials in May earlier this year, with the club receiving positive reviews from trainers and connections.
Johnstone commended the work of his committee in their efforts to get jumps racing back at Terang.
“We’ve been trying for a couple of years to apply for jumps racing through the Australian Jumps Racing Association,” he said.
“Trying to get a date has been hard but at our March 23 meeting next year we will have two jumps races, a maiden hurdle and benchmark 120 jumps race.
“Most of the committee are passionate and really behind the return, so we look forward to it happening.”