WANGARATTA trainers John and Chris Ledger saluted their late son and brother Adrian in his memorial race on Friday.
Ten years after winning the inaugural Adrian Ledger memorial, the father and son team won the coveted race with five-year old gelding Justiceforall.
It was a true test of staying power over 2400m on a heavy 10-rated track, but apprentice hoop Reagan Bayliss did enough to edge out Doogan’s Rise in a photo finish.
The win prompted emotional scenes after the race.
“It was a great thrill,” John Ledger said.
“I can’t put it into words.
“The first one ten years ago was special, and this one equals it for a lot of reasons.
“With 61 kilograms on a heavy 10, we though it was all against us.
“I want to thank John Miller and the Albury Racing Club, to have a race in honour of your son is something really special.
“Adrian was a leading apprentice here and Albury hasn’t forgotten him.”
It was a stunning race, with Justiceforall and Doogan’s Rise neck and neck for almost the length of the straight.
Bayliss was able to get one last gasp out of his mount to win by the narrowest of margins.
Ledger paid tribute to the rising jockey’s thrilling ride.
“Young Reagan stepped up and did a terrific job,” he said.
“He did exactly what Chris wanted him to do.”
An exhausted Bayliss said it was a great win.
“It’s a terrific win for the Ledger family, obviously it’s a very emotional race for them,” he said.
“They planned this race for this horse a long time ago, so to get the job done is terrific.
“The other horse got his nose in front along the straight at one point, but I knew my horse was rock hard fit.
“He was always going to be strong at the end of the 2400m, he was fantastic.”
Justiceforall ran second in last year’s Memorial and third the one before that, with the entire Ledger family thrilled with the result.
“We were disappointed not to have a Gold Cup entry, we only had Justice left for the main events,” Ledger said.
“We’re thrilled to the back teeth to have won this race.”