A 73-year-old former shearer and 16-year-old former Australian pony club representative combined for a successful interstate raid in the feature $30,000 Showcase BM78 Handicap (1300m) yesterday at Warrnambool .
In-form mare Lionhearted Girl ($7.50) replicated her last-start Mount Gambier victory by leading all the way for a 2 -length victory from Muchos Respectos ($5.50), which nosed clear of a wall of chasing horses to finish second, ahead of Finishing Card ($10) and favourite Run Diego ($2.45).
The result produced significant milestones for the six-year-old mare's rider Jamie Kah, of Strathalbyn, and trainer Ian Walker, of Millicent.
It was teenager Kah's first Victorian winner and the claiming apprentice indicated she was interested in taking up more cross-border opportunities.
Walker, who has trained for half a century, said Lionhearted Girl was his second Warrnambool winner.
Hurdler Prince Of Diamonds was the first in the mid 1990s.
"That's a big race for me," Walker said, mindful of the $18,000 first prizemoney.
Kah, who also rode Lionhearted Girl to a 10-length victory at Mount Gambier on November 4, was able to exploit her two-kilogram claim to reduce the mare's allocated weight of 55 kilograms and again dictated the race pace at the head of the field.
"The track was all day running with leaders," she said.
"I got to the front pretty easily and got away with some slow sectionals.
"She travels beautifully and as soon as you ask, she gives you everything."
A first-year apprentice, Kah has already notched up 63 winners, reducing her provincial claim to two kilograms.
Her instant riding success reflects a strong pony club background, which included earning Australian selection to compete in England.
"This is probably my biggest win," Kah said of yesterday's showcase success.
Walker, who has four horses in work, said Lionhearted Girl won three races in succession when she first joined his team, before being forced into higher-class races.
"This time in she's just struck another purple patch," he said.
"She got in today with 54 (sic) with the girl's claim."
Walker said he was not sure where to place Lionhearted Girl for her next start, mindful that she was now likely to rise in the weights.