THE New Year kicked off in style for Corinella trainer Shea Eden at the Woolamai Racecourse on Monday, January 2.
He only had to wait for the second race of the year, the Isola Di Capri Maiden Plate, for a win when Rock it Doc, ridden by Sophie Logan, saluted.
It was an historic day for the club, the first time its races have been broadcast live around the nation and punters had the bonus of full TAB facilities.
They braved the drizzle to watch a day of picnic racing with the added extras, sheltering under the elm trees lining the track to watch the seven races.
Children were entertained with games of cricket on the grass, a jumping castle and face painting along with Pockets the Clown.
Racing started at 1.16pm and went throughout the afternoon, keeping crowds on the edge of their seats until nearly 5pm.
Rosebud trainer Rebecca Waymouth said Woolamai’s special vibe and happy crowds make it such a fun place to race.
“I’ve been training for 16 years, and I trained my first winner here at Woolamai,” Rebecca said.
“Woolamai is a special place for me. I’ve always been happy to race here. The club really looks after the trainers and the horses; they’re always well prepared and really accommodating.
“The crowds are always really good, too. They’re always happy, and it just makes it a great place to come and race. It’s got a real country, holiday vibe.”
Three of Rebecca’s horses ran at Woolamai on Monday: Sir Wolf, placing third in the Happy New Year Trophy Race; Tearaway Tommy in the Van Steensel Timbers Open Trophy Race, and Three Handles’ first start in the Paint Place Maiden Plate.
Securing $1840 in prize money, winner of the big race of the day, the Van Steensel Timbers Trophy, was Maldonado from New Zealand, trained by Gary Mallinson and ridden by Raymond Douglas.
Trainers and jockeys are currently smack bang in the middle of the picnic racing season, with another three months of solid racing to come.
Many are now focusing hard on the upcoming Healesville Cup, taking place on Saturday, January 14.
Zai Bu Zai the local hero
STONY Creek trainer Paul Boag had a super successful day last Tuesday, December 27 with Zai Bu Zai a comfortable winner in the third, the Noni the Pony – Alison Lester Maiden Plate.
The five year old mare, owned by the Boag family, finished ahead of the well-backed Anchor Woman and the favourite, Jack Henry, trained by Stony Creek’s Len Bell.
“Zai Bu Zai is the only horse I have in work at the moment,” Paul said last week.
“She’s been threatening to win a race since I bought her in March.
“She had a short preparation after a little break and had an ordinary run at Bairnsdale (December 13) but Tuesday’s run was promising, very encouraging.”
Zai Bu Zai was due to be in action yesterday at Stony Creek after pulling up well but didn’t have the same success at a longer distance.
The Kids’ Day Out meeting last Tuesday was the Stony Creek Racing Club’s first for the season and a grand success, according to Paul who’s on the committee, with 1800 people attending.
There were 280 show bags for the kids and all were snapped up, full of quality gear that impressed both the children and their parents.
World famous author, Fish Creek-based Alison Lester brought her much loved character Noni the Pony along and sponsored the event in which Zai Bu Zai won.
Children could meet Alison, have books signed and colour in some the iconic illustrations.
Yesterday was Girls’ Day Out before a break with racing to resume on Sunday, March 12 for the Ladbrokes Stony Creek Cup, followed by Publican’s Day on Monday, March 27 and finally, Family Day on Monday, April 10.