AFL boss Gillon McLachlan and his brother Hamish are among a group of high-profile owners of the Jarrod McLean-trained My Girl Chilly, which won its maiden at Donald for the Warrnambool trainer on Friday.
McLean said My Girl Chilly is being set for the $300,000 Wakefield Stakes on the opening day of the Flemington Spring Carnival before having a tilt at the $1 million VRC Oaks on November 3.
“I know My Girl Chilly only won a maiden at Donald, but she stays all day,” McLean said.
“She appreciated the 2000 metres at Donald and will love the big track at Flemington. We've been waiting to get her out in distance.
“Gillon and Hamish and the other owners are pretty excited we may have a runner in the Oaks.”
My Girl Chilly was one of three winners McLean trained in his own right on Friday.
McLean, who is Darren Weir’s Warrnambool foreman, gave credit to his brother Brad for all the work he had put into his runners.
GROUP one-winning hoop Nikita Beriman is only weeks away from making a return to race riding after 20 months on the sidelines.
Beriman – who has been sidelined with a dislocated left knee cap and an injury to her right heel – is riding trackwork for her dad, Warrnambool trainer Denis Beriman, and Cranbourne’s Greg Eurell in an effort to resume on December 1.
“I've been riding some work for dad at Warrnambool and then heading down to Cranbourne for a few days to ride for Greg,” she said.
“There have been times when I’ve thought it's all got too hard, but I've got the fire in the belly again and want to continue riding.
“I got depressed on some occasions when things were not going right as my injuries were not healing but everything is going well now. I'm continuing to build my fitness and strength.”
Beriman swept to prominence when she won the 2007 group one Emirates Stakes on the 100/1 outsider Tears I Cry. She has ridden more than 540 winners during her illustrious career.
FINCH IN FRAME
TIMBOON-BORN horse lover Ashlee Finch was front and centre when she strapped the John Thompson-trained Sir John Hawkwood in the $3 million Caulfield Cup on Saturday.
Finch – daughter of Camperdown netball coach Peter and sister to local netballers Emily and Jaymie – has moved back to Warrnambool after stints working in stables at Caulfield and Randwick.
“I suppose my life has turned the full circle,” Finch said. “I started out working for the Wilde stable in Warrnambool and I've just moved back. I worked for Henry Dwyer at Caulfield before going up to Sydney to work for Thompson stable.
“John has a few horses in Melbourne so he got in contact with me and asked if I could look after Sir John Hawkwood. I used to look after him in Sydney. It was a thrill strapping him in the Caulfield Cup.”
Finch, 23, is hoping Sir John Hawkwood gains a start in the $6 million Melbourne Cup on November 1, as she will have the strapping duties with the eight-year-old in the 3200-metre race.
WARRNAMBOOL trainer Jane Baker picked up a bargain when she purchased the unrated Break Time for a $1000 at a dispersal sale in Queensland.
Break Time earnt more than $12,500 for his connections when he won an 1100-metre maiden at Warrnambool on Sunday.
“I reckon he's got a bright future,” Baker said.
“His first two runs he ran fourth and then a win today. I can't ask for much more.
“He’s been in work since we got him in July – so he's done a big job.
“I've got to acknowledge the ride of apprentice jockey Melissa Julius. She's done a lot of education work with the horse and rode a top race today.”
The three-year-old has picked up more than $14,000 in stakes from his three runs.
HOBBY trainer Tammy Good broke a drought of more than three years from the winners stall when Royal Butterfly won a maiden over 1700 metres at Warrnambool on Sunday.
Royal Butterfly was having only her fourth start for Good after being trained by top Cranbourne trainer Robbie Griffiths.
“Royal Butterfly was send down to me as one of Robbie’s cast offs,” the Warrnambool trainer said.
“She had muscle issues in her hamstrings. It's taken a bit of time to get her going but after lots of beach work she came good. She was well educated when she came down to me.
“I think the trick to her might be that she needs big roomy tracks as she's a very big mare.”
Good’s previous winner was Spartypants at Hamilton on June 2, 2013.
KOROIT galloper Hornets’ Nest is on a country cups path following his victory in a $50,000 restricted race at Warrnambool on Sunday.
Trainer James McNamara said Hornets’s Nest will be set for the St Arnaud and Mortlake Cups before running on the last day of the Flemington Cup Carnival.
“Hornets’ Nest is going good,” McNamara said.
“It's been well documented he's had numerous problems during his career, but on his day he's a very good horse.
“I thought he had no luck in the Coleraine Cup when he ran fifth.
“Apprentice jockey Melissa Julius seems to understand him. I thought it was a smart ride by Melissa.”
From his 23 starts, Hornets’ Nest has won seven races, earning his connections more than $150,000 in stake money.