French Hustler and jockey Stan Watkins greeted by winning trainer Todd Austin after winning Saturday's Longreach Cup.
French Hustler and jockey Stan Watkins greeted by winning trainer Todd Austin after winning Saturday's Longreach Cup.

RACING: Rockhampton horse stuns with sparkling comeback

HORSE RACING: Rockhampton’s Better Reflection enhanced her status among an elite group within the “equine sisterhood” with a sparkling comeback win in Brisbane on Saturday.

Racing for the first time since January and after double knee surgery, Better Reflection was resplendent in winning the $110K QTIS 3YO (1200m).

Ridden by Ryan Maloney and demonstrating her customary cruising speed and “fight”, Better Reflection stalled of top filly and favourite Gem Of Scotland in her tenacious comeback win.

Better Reflection is raced by a large syndicate of mainly Rockhampton owners and she was a purchase from the first crop of Better Than Ready’s draft at the Magic Millions 2018 March QTIS Sale.

It was the first time her Rocky based trainer John Wigginton attended the sale to purchase yearlings among a contingent of buyers from Central Queensland organised by this writer in conjunction with Magic Millions.

Wigginton was on of the first “in” for the MM March CQ buyers group this year where he purchased more of the Better Than Ready yearlings.

A relatively moderately priced purchase being a daughter of the Canny Lad mare Miraposa, the filly Better Reflection is now the winner of almost $200K from three wins of her four starts. Given Wigginton rated her fitness level at “85%” on race eve, much improvement can be expected from Saturday’s win.

It would not have surprised if Better Reflection was given her chance by Wigginton to be tested in top class interstate races for three-years -old fillies in the months ahead.

That would not be folly as Better Reflection is the “real deal”.

However en route back from Brisbane with Better Reflection yesterday Sunday, who he said had pulled up “terrific” the conservative Wigginton dismissed a southern campaign with the Mode Plate In Brisbane for her sex as probably her immediate goal.

“She won’t be going further south (interstate)”, he said. Without doubt her successful comeback will provide a grand stimulus for the importance of Rockhampton and regional racing in Queensland as a springboard for more important metropolitan victories.

Ironically, at the hugely successful Longreach Cup meeting last Saturday, the trainer’s former galloper French Hustler won the acclaimed Cup.

Ridden by Mackay’s ageless veteran Stanley Watkins who declared “I’m only 45” and trained by Barcaldine’s Todd Austin, the winner had also claimed the recent Birdsville Cup.

Highlights of the Longreach Cup meeting included Brisbane hoop Matthew Palmer riding five winners as well as brilliant race calls delivered by Rob Luck.



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