ARETEARE handed veteran trainer Ray Steer an early Christmas present with a gutsy win at Albury racecourse on Saturday.
The eight-year-old gelding finally broke through for a deserved win after finishing in the minor placings at three of his past four starts.
Steer only trains a small team of horses with Areteare his second career winner since taking out his trainer’s licence in October last year.
He previously trained pacers on a part-time basis for over three decades.
Ridden by Amanda Masters, Areteare showed plenty of fight to kick back and win when Game Of Shadows loomed up as the likely winner half-way down the straight.
“He is tough to get past once he finds the front,” Masters said.
“He is an honest old horse and earns a cheque nearly every time he goes round.
“It was a huge thrill for Ray and you couldn’t wipe the smile off his face yesterday.”
Areteare paid $16 on the NSW TAB with the veteran galloper having had 83 starts for nine wins and 18 minor placings.
He defeated Game Of Shadows ($4.40-fav) by half-a-neck with Koel ($11) third.
Brett Cavanough claimed the training honours with another double at home with Zaripova and The Monstar.
Cavanough has a lethal recent strike rate on his home track with two trebles and two doubles from the past five meetings.
The lightly raced Zaripova broke through for her first win with apprentice Regan Bayliss aboard before The Monstar scored a soft win for jockey Pat Murphy in the $15,000 Benchmark 55 Hcp (900 metres).
The Monstar looks to be an exciting galloper in the making and is undefeated after scoring on debut at Gundagai last month.
Albury trainers won four of the seven races after the Pat Widdup-trained Glowstick ($4) also won with Simon Miller aboard.
A huge crowd was in attendance for the first of Albury Racing Club’s two Christmas parties with the club set to race again on Saturday.