Mitchell Beer's decimated Albury stable finished a testing week on a positive note as Tullaghan grabbed a strong win in the Class 1 Handicap (2000m) at Queanbeyan on Saturday.
Apprentice Fiona Sandkuhl produced a perfect ride aboard the New Zealand import, which jumped as the well-backed favourite before holding out Super View and Miss Horsbro.
Beer opted to stay in Albury instead of travelling to Queanbeyan, after a taxing week where several of his stable staff were struck down with COVID.
He also spent all of Thursday in the rain at Wagga waiting to trial a horse, before the trials were abandoned.
"It's a bloody difficult time for an industry that isn't able to work from home. I guess we're no different to the hospitality sector at the moment," Beer said.
"We're a bit short at the moment, we've got two girls who have got COVID and another two are awaiting tests.
"You've got jockeys stood down left, right and centre. You only see that in the form guide, you don't see all the trackwork riders and the stablehands that are battling behind the scenes."
Sandkuhl's effort aboard Tullaghan was superb. She kept cool after not finding the front and stayed steady aboard the horse coming around Queanbeyan's tight bend at the top of the home straight.
"I told her to lead on it, and obviously it didn't, and when that horse whipped around her she never panicked, she just kept the horse in a good rhythm and that was the winning move," Beer said of his apprentice.
"It's very good for these apprentices to be winning over the longer trips. It's easy to put these three-kilo kids on and just let them jump and go to the front over 1000, 1200.
"You've got to be a little bit smarter and you've got to be a little bit tactical when you get out to these further trips."
ALSO IN SPORT
Meanwhile Beer is set to heavily target Albury's meeting on Tuesday with seven runners.
Beer's best winning hope appears to be Gracious Gracie in the $24,000 Maiden Handicap, (1600m).
Gracious Gracie has run three minor placings from five starts this preparation after resuming in October.
Although the four-year-mare has been up for a while this campaign, she finds herself in another winnable race.
Gracious Gracie appeared to be home at Corowa last-start before the Debbie Delphin-trained Ahadi Farasi sprouted wings late to nab her on the post.
Beer will also saddle-up Perfect Illusion, Excelegant and Miss Isolation which could be the omen tip considering the stables predicament at the moment.
Well In Sight and Snowbella round out the stable's chances.
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