Western Victoria: Valley marathon a milestone for Michael
By Tim Auld, November 20, 2023 - 3:48 PM

Warrnambool hobby trainer Michael Townsend had his first Melbourne metropolitan winner when Anewdaydawning won a $60,000 high-weight qualifier for the Jericho Cup at The Valley last Friday night.
Senior part-owner Michael Rea paid tribute to Townsend after the seven-year-old’s win in the 3850-metre benchmark 78.
“I’m over the moon for Michael,” Rea said. “It would be the best and biggest win of this career.
“Michael prefers to float under the radar but he’s a very underrated trainer.
“He’s done a sensational job with Anewdaydawning. The horse has a few quirks but Michael has sorted them out over time.”
Friday night’s win has cemented a spot for Anewdaydawning in the $300,000 Jericho Cup on Sunday week but Rea said a final decision on whether the horse runs would be made by Jericho.
From his 47 starts, Anewdaydawning has won eight races and collected $221,105.
Tayla closes on claim aim
Popular Warrnambool apprentice Tayla Childs edged closer to a claim reduction with her win on the Denis Daffy and Harriet Place-trained Port Louis at Dunkeld last Saturday.
Childs, daughter of former champion jockey Greg Childs, says it’s exciting knowing three more winners will reduce her claim from 2kg to 1.5kg.
“I’m really happy how things are going along. I’ll just keep on chipping away trying to get my claim down,” she said, adding that Port Louis had been well suited to the Dunkeld layout.
“The tight-turning track helped him,” she said. “I had him in the perfect spot in the run from barrier one.
“I rode him last time (fourth at Kyneton) and I thought he ran well.”
Childs praised the Camperdown-based grandfather-granddaughter training team.
“Denis and Harriet do a great job with their horses. They only have a small team in work but they get their horses looking great and they’re very fit.”
Moving to Warrnambool has been a boon for Childs, who’s ridden seven winners this season and 47 overall.
“I’ve been very lucky to have received so much support from the local trainers,” she said. “My boss, Lindsey Smith, has been great but so have other trainers including Pat McKenna and Aaron Purcell.
“I’m really appreciative of the support from all the trainers I’ve ridden for.”
Grace in the saddle again
Saturday’s Dunkeld meeting was notable for the return to race riding of Lester Grace after a break of four years, six months and 13 days.
Grace, 28, who now lives in Warrnambool, had two rides at the once-a-year meeting, with a third placing on Romantic Choice the better result.
“I just had a long break,” he said. “I was burnt out after doing race riding and track work for a solid eight years.
“I still stayed heavily involved in the racing industry as I drove floats, worked on barriers and did other things in the industry.
“I just thought it was the right time to come back riding. (Trainer) Tom Dabernig planted the seed with me a fair while ago and I thought I’d have another crack. I’m loving living in Warrnambool. It’s a great place.”
Grace is older brother to Warrnambool Cup-winning jockey Harry Grace.










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