Burning Crown debuted in style at Gunnedah on Monday.
The three-year-old chestnut gelding son of Helmet strode to an easy six-length win in the $20,000 Ultra Fleet Have A Quadie At Gunnedah Maiden Handicap (1000m).
It was an impressive effort but one which Tamworth trainer Sue Grills admits was a “nervous” one.
“I’ve never been so nervous,” she said of a first starter who was touted a long odds-on favourite.
She was delighted to have the race over and Burning Crown back in the winner’s stall.
“He’s a really nice horse,” she said.
Her son, Todd, also celebrated a nervy win.
“I’ve never seen mum so nervous before a race,” he said.
“She’s probably up there having a wine with the owners to settle the nerves.
“He’s been working well and showed us a bit but kept going shin sore, that’s why he hasn’t raced until now. Greg rode him well, we drew well and got him to settle well in front too. He’s a nice horse.”
Harry Invictus also benefitted from a late debut when he speared through the middle of the pack to win the MPC Earthmoving Functions @ Riverside Maiden Plate (1400m).
The four-year-old gelding son of Monaco Consul had started just the once before Monday, running seventh on debut at Port Macquarie for Gosford trainer Gilbert Slattery.
With Darryl McLellan aboard the gelding won by a head, edging out Brett Cavanough’s first starter Avalene, with Cavanough’s Rockatoo and Rod Northam’s Dubai’s Got Talent a neck away in a dead heat for third.
Gilbert’s father, Peter Slattery, was on in charge and delighted with the result.
“A good run and a very good ride by Digger,” Peter said.
“We kept him under wraps as a three-year-old and he’s coming good as a four-year-old. He might get over a bit more ground too. Like to see him over a mile and a half.”
McClellan said Harry Invictus didn’t have the best of runs “and could have won a little easier than that too.”
Meanwhile, Greg Ryan’s mid-race move ensured Banri De Hero won her third race in four starts when successful in the TAB Get Your Kosciuszko Sweepstakes Tickets Benchmark 58 Handicap (2050m).
Ryan elected to go early on the daughter of Von Costa De Hero and she responded well to post a five-length win over Stirling Osland’s Rage Against.
“When I made the move I thought nothing is going to stop this,” Ryan said.
“Turning for home nothing was going to beat her.”
George Woodward trains the five-year-old mare at Walcha.
She won her first race, a Class 1 at Port Macquarie on July 14, backed up and won another Class 1 over 1900m at Kempsey on July 30 and then finished seventh in the Ken Howard Cup at Coffs Harbour on August 2.
Stable foreman, Johno Byrne, said the mid-race move was the plan as the mare has no sprint. “She’s just a one pacer,” Byrne said.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.