Shaun Dwyer’s new year began perfectly on Tuesday when Hay Now won over 1400 metres at Flemington under talented young rider Liam Riordan.
The win was the first at Headquarters for Dwyer since Villa Verde scored on Melbourne Cup Day in 2012.
Hay Now was having her third start for Dwyer. She was previously prepared by both Matthew Dale and Matthew Dunn.
Riordan gave the daughter of Bradbury’s Luck every chance three back in the running line and getting the bob on the line over Set to Sparkle.
“I’m pretty excited about this year as I’ve got some lovely horses at home ... this is a good start,” the trainer said.
Adam O’Neill’s Written Tycoon mare Tycoon Roxy made it two wins from three starts this campaign after she scored a clearcut victory at Geelong last week.
The four-year-old is building a solid record, having won or placed in five of her six outings.
Rider Dean Holland used her early speed to settle outside the leader at Geelong.
Tycoon Roxy’s maiden win came on Derby Day at Mortlake. She was bred and is part-owned by the Tasmania-based Colless family and she hails from the five-time winning dam Huon Cry.
The O’Neill stable came close to preparing a double on the day, with Zoot Suit Riot running second at Penshurst.
They were back in the winners’ stall on New Year’s Day, however, with Thai Connection scoring at Hanging Rock.
Start five was a lucky one for Johnny Handsome, who broke his maiden for the Browell family on the final day of 2018 — at Echuca.
The horse is part-owned by trainer Allan’s wife Val and is from the stable’s former race mare La Caverna.
Jye McNeil produced an excellent ride on Johnny Handsome, who won by 1½ lengths.
“He’s a nice individual. He relaxed in behind them well and peeled out at the top of the straight and gave me a nice feel to the line,” McNeil said.
Defy may have bowed out a winner for Shane Fliedner after scoring at Echuca. The five-year-old son of Ad Valorem was placed on the market last week.
A solid last-to-first victory would have attracted the interest of potential buyers.
Defy was ridden by Harry Coffey.
Ones to follow
Happy New Year to all Goldfields readers. A couple of horses to follow in 2019 ...
RIVER HOUSE: Smart galloper from the Matthew Enright stable who should have finished much closer on Boxing Day. Plenty of talent and will win his fair share of races.
ENTENTE: Unraced Dundeel colt trained by Shaun Dwyer. Trialed very smartly at Cranbourne in September and tipped out for a spell. Look for him to make his presence felt.