31 Jan 2018 Benalla Ensign, Benalla VIC (General News) Mare pays back months of support Goorambat trainer Wayne Nichols last week saw six months of hard work pay dividends on his home track when Oamaru took out the $20 000 BM70 Lindsay Park Racing Handicap. The four-year-old mare had surgery for bone chips in the middle of last year and Nichols has been slowly bringing her back to racing condition. And as confident as he had been of her recovery even he had to be a little surprised by her win. We have been looking for the right race to get her going again, but had scratched her three times leading up to this because of bad draws, Nichols said. As fate would have it a barrier four at her home track would prove the chance he had been waiting for. Were pretty pleased, she ran well, Nichols agreed. Even better for her first start back she was running for new owners so that was great for them too. Oamaru jumped well and was positioned near the lead, but at the 800m mark frontrunner Kevlar Kid flicked on the afterburners and shot six clear and looked set to run away with the race. But Oamaru looked well placed if the bolter ran out of steam and Craig Robertson in the saddle was running a patient race. As the main field turned for home Robertson ranged up alongside Theodolite, but it still looked as though the main fight would be for minor placings. Until the 200m when Kevlar Kid started going up and down in the one spot and horses spread across the track swamped him. Nichols said Robertson knows Oamaru well and was riding his own race and once the bolter hit the wall started moving to the front. A line of five hit the finish but Oamaru had battled on gamely and had its nose in front. Robertson said a lot of the credit had to go to Wayne and his staff for having the confidence in the horse to get it back on the track. They have been very fussy about finding the right race, which happened to be her home track, Robertson said. Still it was a big ask stepping up to a BM70 first up but she ran it really well, he said. At the finish the horse on my outside seemed to have us, but she dug really deep. She would definitely be a chance to go back to town, well see how she pulls up after today and Wayne will decide where to go from there. After the race stewards said Kevlar Kid started awkwardly and they queried the tactics of rider Jake Noonan. Who told them with the use of blinkers for the first time today the gelding overraced in the early and middle stages despite his efforts and as a result approaching the 200m gave ground quickly and compounded. Stewards also said the favourite, Dam Ready, performed below expectations but rider Jake Duffy could offer no explanation for the geldings performance. A post-race veterinary examination failed to reveal any obvious abnormalities and a sample was also taken for analysis. Earlier in the $22 000 Jaclyn Symes Member for Northern Victoria race, former Benalla trainer Pete Smith, now based out of Seymour, sent four-year-old maiden Petticoat Princess to the races but chose not to go himself. Instead he went to the beach for a break and missed seeing his four-year-old mare win her first race in spectacular style. With only one place in her previous seven starts punters also showed little interest in the horse, sending her to the barrier at 17/1. Track commentators said while Petticoat Princess had been steady in her recent two starts; they thought the step up to 1406m might be premature. They felt the horse was over-racing although agreed the number two barrier offered the chance of an economical run. when she tried a couple of runs was almost checked. We kept moving across Someone forgot to mention that to the horse, it barely walked out of the gate and dropped to second last as the field settled. However, apprentice rider Georgie Cartwright showed enormous patience and maturity as she slowly improved her position through the back of the field. But as they began the turn for home Cartwright found herself trapped behind a wall of horses, and the track and around the 200m mark we managed to get into the clear, Cartwright said. Petticoat Princess then flew down the outside of the track to grab the win right on the line. The other highlight of the day was trainer Robbie Griffiths and rider Nathan Punch landing a double Ambitious Gem in the $22 000 Royal Hotel Benalla Plate and Son of City in the $18 000 Sam Miranda Wines Handicap. Caption Text: Coming through: Goorambat-trained Oamaru (pink silks in the centre) gets her head in front as the horses hit the finish line in the $20 000 BM70 Lindsay Park Racing Handicap. Picture: RACING PHOTOSLicensed by Copyright Agency. You may only copy or communicate this work with a licence.