By Isaac Murphy
Eagle Farm trainer Lauren Herne has scored her first Saturday metropolitan winner with One Stryke unleashing late under Justin Stanley to claim the Benchmark 70 Handicap over 1050m at $34 Tab fixed price.
A discouraged Herne admitted she was set to scratch the five-year-old gelding after drawing gate twelve, but champion North Queensland jockey Stanley convinced the trainer the horse could still get it done from the draw.
“It was meant to be today, Jimmy (Orman) is the usual rider but he was booked to ride I Am Venus, so I got Justin in as a replacement,” Herne said.
“When I saw the draw, I was all set the scratch the horse and bring him back another day but Justin (Stanley) assured me he was still a chance if we rode him cold and here we are.”
Herne said she had ultimate trust in Stanley who had ridden the horse similarly in the past and was happy for him to go against the geldings natural racing pattern.
“He normally leads, the only other time we’ve ridden him back was when Justin rode him on Cairns Cup Day, which was almost a replica from what unfolded today.”
“He drew wide, I was set to scratch and Justin rode him from last to miss in a photo,” Herne said.
“It was that run that gave me the belief to keep him in today.”
Herne was full of praise for Stanley who is a prolific winner in North Queensland, but scarcely travels to Saturday Metropolitan meets.
“I couldn’t believe how he got him over to the fence from barrier twelve,” Herne said.
“I’m ecstatic for Justin because he is a Saturday town rider every day of the week and I don’t know why more metropolitan trainers don’t give him a go, he’s a top jockey anywhere he races."
If her first Saturday winner wasn’t enough the trainer got to share the day with great company.
“It’s my first Saturday winner in town and I’ve got my little boy Harry with me who’s my lucky charm,” she said.
Herne said she picked up the horse at the Tried Horse Sale Bloodstock Auction earlier this year and after a string of seconds was rapt to see him run up to his potential.
“He’s run six seconds for us since we got him, before he won a couple of weeks ago at the Sunshine Coast,” she said.
“He’s got so much ability this horse and I’m just so excited he got to show it today.”
“He’s always showed that he’s a city quality horse and too see that come to fruition is a big relief, it gives me a lot more options on where to take him next.”