Umatilla Girl posts overdue win

Oct 07, 2014

Jockey Brad Rawiller needed all of his vigour to kick unlucky mare Umatilla Girl over the line for an overdue win at Echuca on Tuesday.

Rawiller said that it was a long last 200 metres as the six-year-old mare gradually wore down Zalga and then had to hold off a strong challenge from Koel to land the 4-weeks until Melbourne Cup Day Hcp (2100m).

"It was a long last furlong and had I ride pretty hard, but thankfully she was able to hold on," Rawiller said.

The win was particularly sweet for the in-form jockey as his father-in-law Michael Hornsby part-owns the mare with John Humphreys.

Sentimentally, Umatilla Girl races in the stable colours of retired trainer Midge Didham who is a great friend of Hornsby's.

"I think if Brad hadn't won on her today he would have been out of the will," trainer Michael Kent joked.

Umatilla Girl is a noted backmarker, but Rawiller was keen to try and lead on her at Echuca.

However, despite his urgings the closest he could get was fourth in the six-horse field, three lengths off the lead most the way.

"They weren't going that quickly down the back and I was tempted to make a move, but I was mindful that here (at Echuca) if you get out past three-wide on the circle you quickly find you can't win.

"Thankfully they upped the tempo at the right time and I was able to track into the straight and come to the outside."

Umatilla Girl dominated betting at $2.30 and scored by a short neck from Koel, with Zalga a length away third.

The win was a welcome change of luck for Umatilla Girl's connections after finishing second seven times since her only other win in a Cranbourne maiden in July last year when Rawiller also rode her.

The daughter of Umatilla may have won more races had she been able to settle closer in her races but often got out of her ground and ran into bad luck.

"She is a big mare who takes a while to wind up, and you can't be held up on her," Kent said.

Umatilla Girl has raced 10 times this campaign and has probably earned a spell.

"It was good to finally win a race with her as she's been up a long time this campaign," Kent said.

"She really wants soft ground and we might spell her now and bring her back for the winter.

"She's a six-year-old but I think she is up to winning one of the long mares' races in town in winter."