iskander

Crowd rallies to Mary's Grace


Mary’s Grace was given a rousing reception on her way back to the winner’s enclosure after sending her fans into a frenzy with her gutsy front-running victory in the Listed Mona Lisa Stakes at Wyong.

kyliegavenlock Trainer Kylie Gavenlock, who is based at nearby Gosford, was swamped by several of her staff after Sunday’s $100,000 race over 1350 metres as the crowd of more than 4,000 slipped into to party mode.

Wyong Race Club boss Tony Drew told Gavenlock he had never heard a crowd roar like that during or after a race.

Gavenlock had two starters in the race, Mary’s Grace and Ratatat Lass but the latter failed to handle the wet track which was downgraded to a slow (6) from a good (3) following a heavy downpour earlier in the day and only beat one runner home.

The popular trainer has enjoyed plenty of success at metropolitan level recently with Mary’s Grace and Ratatat Lass but said today’s win was something very special to her small team.

"This is fantastic, this crowd is going crazy and while it’s lovely winning races at places like Randwick, to win this race and be a local is amazing and a highlight for me," Gavenlock said.

"The young people who work with this horse are enjoying it so much and it’s great for racing to see these young people involved in the sport and they are all having a ball here today.

"She is so honest this horse and there is no horse who gives more than she does but the credit goes to my staff, they do a magic job and we are so lucky to have them."

Peter Robl scored the pick-up ride on Mary’s Grace after regular partner Grant Buckley was ruled out with a hand injury sustained at Canterbury on Thursday night.

"My thoughts go to Grant who’s at home with a broken knuckle. I know he loves this horse and I can see why, she is just all heart and gives it everything she’s got," Robl said.

Mary’s Grace, who now has three wins from three starts at Wyong, was locked in a speed battle with So Bewitching early before taking the in the straight and kicking away to beat Royal Rock by 1-1/2 lengths with Fashion Street a half neck away third.

Jockey Corey Brown was called into the stewards room to explain the underwhelming performance from Ratatat Lass.

"Kylie told me the horse doesn’t handle the wet and when we got that rain I knew she’d struggle, she was well positioned at the 500 metres but just had nothing," Brown said.

Robl’s victory in the Mona Lisa gave him a winning double from pick-up rides after he scored on the Anthony Cummings-trained Choisie in the Boral Masonary Handicap (1350m).

Robl replaced Tim Clark, who was unable to ride because of a migraine.

By Russell Jackson