Six-year-old mare Rosanna Raider was successful at just her fourth run back from an injury enforced layoff for Cranbourne trainer Terry Howard at Yarra Valley’s enormously popular Cup day meeting on Tuesday.
The daughter of Village Jasper and Furnished who went amiss in a race at Melton in December 2018 showed she was back to something like her best with a decisive win in the Hargreaves Hill Brewery Pace.
Settling behind the leader from her inside back row draw, Rosanna Raider travelled beautifully in the run for Darby McGuigan and got home powerfully in the sprint lane to score from the race favourite Biscuit with Forever And A Day holding down third placing.
While the racing world’s attention was drawn to the big stage at Flemington, Howard relished his own provincial success which came up just 30 minutes after the race that stops a nation.
Speaking to on-course host Paul Campbell immediately after the race, Howard agreed that Rosanna Raider had benefited from a couple of pre-race scratchings which left the mare ideally drawn in a race which was a step down in class from her recent unplaced assignments.
“I was originally happy to draw one-off on the second line but when she got the pegs with Really Under Fire in front of her I thought you beauty.”
When pressed further Howard admitted to taking some of the $14 on offer about the mare and was quick to praise driver McGuigan for his drive on Rosanna Lindy.
“Once Darby got her to the sprint lane it was all over, he’s a very good driver,” Howard said.
Howard, who lives in Rosanna, travels to Cranbourne each morning to work his team of four horses.
“As well as Rosanna Raider I’ve got a trotting mare Rosanna Lindy, a big gelding called Illawong Lord who’ll be back in a week or two and a three-year-old filly who’s not going as fast I’d like but she’s improving slowly.”
“Rosanna Lindy is a fine mare who’s been a late maturer. She had a tough one at Melton the other night, things didn’t quite work out for us so we’ll give her a very short break and bring her back for another race at Melton or a handicap in the country.”
After explaining to a geographically challenged Campbell just where Rosanna is, Howard went on to pay tribute to his co-tenants at the Cranbourne Training Centre.
“It’s a fair drive for me in the morning but I’m going against the traffic and I’ve got lots of mates down there who help me out so its very good, we’ve got a good team down there at Cranbourne. My great mate Rick Cashman, who helps me out feeding up in the morning and jogging them of a morning if I’m stuck on the highway, is down there now taking the cart off Rosanna Raider.”
While quick to deflect praise, Howard’s own efforts should be acknowledged. The retired school principal was a mature-aged graduate of the Bendigo Harness Racing School and has done a remarkable job to win a very respectable 15 races with his small team since first taking out his licence in the 2015/16 season.
By David Scott
Photo: Claire Weston Photography