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Meeska Mooska cracks first win for new Cambridge partnership

29 October 2017, 2:31 p.m.

Underrated stayer Meeska Mooska upset predictions at Ellerslie on Saturday as he registered the first victory for the newly minted training partnership of Graham Thomas and former top jumps rider Matthew Gillies.

The seven-year-old gelding was unwanted by punters despite boasting an impressive record on the prevailing slow track conditions and having won first-up to kick-off his last campaign.

Meeska Mooska Photo: Trish Dunell

Settled in a handy position on the outer in the six-horse field, rider Alysha Collett brought the son of El Hermano into the race on the point of the home turn before issuing a solid challenge halfway down the Ellerslie home straight. After a brief battle with race favourite Ronchi, who had dictated the pace at the head of affairs throughout, Meeska Mooska drove clear to record his seventh career victory.

Co-trainer Matthew Gillies was delighted to register the first official win for the Cambridge combination.

“We’ve had a few winners over the past few months, but it has taken a while for the licence to come through,” he noted.

“It’s good today as it has now come through and it’s also good for the horse as he is a talented galloper who we have a lot to look forward with in his coming races.”

Gillies admitted to some confidence in the camp despite the fact the horse was fresh-up from a five-month break and kicking off at an unsuitable distance.

“I thought he was a chance as he had been working well but Graham had said he had really gone well over 1400 metres,” he said.

“While the stats were against him I thought he could win and he has delivered for us.”

Gillies is no stranger to racing success having ridden 85 winners during his career in the saddle including victories aboard Tallyho Twinkletoe in the 2015 Grand National Hurdles while he also claimed the Great Northern Hurdle and Steeplechase double in 2011 aboard Southern Countess and Ima Heroine respectively.  – NZ Racing Desk