DAINTY Sharnee has given veteran Wodonga trainer Liz Aalbers the near perfect birthday present.
The six-year-old mare broke through for her first win in 37 starts with a last to first effort in the 1600-metre Golden Maiden Plate.
Aalbers has made a habit of winning a race at her home track on Boxing Day in recent years.
She saluted in 2011 with Prairie Gold and in 2010 with Bon Marco.
But Dainty Sharnee was badly checked at the 1000-metre mark and still at the tail of the field approaching the turn.
Amanda Masters let the $3.60 second favourite get to the outside in the home straight and she won running away.
“I nearly always get a winner on my birthday,” Aalbers said.
“But that is special, she has been trying to win one for two years and I think has run something like 10 seconds.
“She has been beaten an inch at TAB meetings so to win today, to win on my birthday is something special — she’s a sweetie.”
Aalbers said Masters knew the horse and the plan was always to sit at the back of the field.
“But she got a bump at about the 1000 metres that turned her side on and then had to work her way back into the race,” she said.
“Amanda rode her a couple of times when she was only just beaten so she knew what to do and did the job.”
It was the first of a winning double for Masters who saluted on the Albury-trained Lughaat later in the day.
But Aalbers, who has been training for 50 years — more than 30 at Wodonga, has no lofty ambitions for Dainty Sharnee.
“I might take her to the picnics for a friend of mine at Dederang,” she said.
“When my partner died I gave a half share in the horse to Scotty (Reid) — he brings the oats into me all the time.
“But she pays her way.”
Yesterday’s meeting was stopped for more than 40 minutes late in the day as thunderstorms swept across the Border.