By Duane Ranger
Talented New South Wales driver, Codi Rauchenberger, described Saturday’s meeting at Albion Park as one of the best nights of her brief career.
The 20-year-old only had two drives at ‘The Creek’ and won both of them behind the Dennis Picker trained duo of Melanna Beach in race one, and Elle Yeah in race four.
Rauchenberger, who works for Picker at Bigga, said it was the third time she had reined two winners at a meeting, but it was her first metropolitan double.
She has also driven five winners since arriving in Queensland at the start of June. Rauchenberger will head home in a couple of weeks.
“That was a great night on Saturday. Right up there with my Junee Cup win behind Smooth Sailor in January. I actually lease Melanna Beach off Tim Neven.
“Elle Yeah went super. She’s a very classy mare having won a Group One before, and although ‘Melanna’ also won well, she can be a bit of a handful sometimes.
“They both pulled a little bit. ‘Elle’ was more of an arm chair drive. She was on a mission last night, and it would have taken a very nice horse to beat her,” Rauchenberger said.
The talented reinswoman has only been driving for two seasons and has bagged about a dozen winners. Her first race-day victory came behind the Daniel Rowell trained Boobalaga Road at Canberra on May 22, 2017.
Rauchenberger, who hails from Boorowa, left Boorowa Central School, to work polo horses, before transferring to Amy Day’s harness racing stable. She then relocated to Amanda Turnbull and then James Rattray’s barn before Picker employed her 10 months ago.
“This is not the first time I’ve been to Albion Park but this is the first time I’ve driven up here. I remember coming up for a few days when I worked for James. He had Arts Treasure up here for all the big races in the winter of 2017.
“We’ve stayed up here a bit longer this time to stay away from the cold back home. It’s been a pretty good holiday,” she added.
Rauchenberger paid a tribute to both Rattray and Picker.
“James did a lot for me early on. He helped me get my license and early drives, while Dennis and his father Grant, have also been giving me a lot of opportunities.
“I have driven all around the bush tracks and the Pickers have given me a lot of nice horses to drive in some nicer races. I am very grateful,” Rauchenberger said.
Meanwhile, the major race of the evening – the Group Two $50,000 APG 2yo Championship was won by another New South Wales visitor, the Jarrod Alchin trained My Ultimate Star.
The Bettor’s Delight colt also provided Queensland’s Matt Elkins with his first Group winner.
The 22-year-old, who notched up a century of drives for the first time in a season at Redcliffe last Sunday, predicted he would go close when talking to Racing Queensland late last week.
“He felt real good tonight and we got a nice trip. His sprint was just too powerful at the end. This has been a week to remember. I just want to thank all the owners and trainers who have put me on their horses this season.
“This is a great way to cap off the 2018-2019. It’s been a dream of mine for a while now to get a Group win on the board. My next aim is to drive a Group One winner and more than 100 again next season,” Elkins said.
“I just want to keep improving,” he stressed.
It was also a memorable night for Tallegalla horseman, Alistair Barnes who had a rare win behind the 16-win pacer he trains, Vasari.
“I thought I’d have one last drive on him before he goes to America. I don’t know when the last time I steered home a winner. It must have been 18 months or so ago.
“I’ll leave the driving to the professionals now. It’s going to be sad to see the horse go, but he’s done a good job here and I will look forward to watching him tear around Yonkers.
“I think American racing will suit him down to the ground,” Barnes said.