A CHANGE of scenery has done wonders for several horses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Perhaps top of the list has been Bernie Winkle, with the former Glenn Douglas-trained Bendigo pacer racking up 10-straight wins in his adopted home of Mildura before a surprise second last Friday night to end the streak.
On Sunday, at Echuca, it was the turn of a seven-year-old gelding, who has gone the other way - from Mildura to Bendigo - to add his name to the list of those undergoing a resurgence, when Pinnacle Hope broke through for a win at his second start for his new trainer Terry French.
Pinnacle Hope, previously trained by, among others, Reece Moore at Irymple, was close to scoring in his first start for French, having to settle for a second behind Officially Shady seven days earlier at Shepparton.
He was able to make amends at Echuca, with Tayla French easing Pinnacle Hope off the pegs before the turn and moving to the outside down the straight to overhaul Tukana and record career win number nine at start 101.
It was enough to fill his new trainer with confidence there would be other wins ahead for the well-travelled son of Tarrawanna, who began his career in southern New South Wales.
"He's a lowly-rated little horse, and a nice type," French said.
"He'll go around again next week somewhere, but once he gets to a bit higher class he'll probably head back home to Mildura.
"But he's low enough rated to win another couple. With the ratings system, it makes it hard when you get up into your mid-50s, there are too many good ones around.
"Where he is (NR 42) now, he should be able to knock over a few wins."
The Frenches came within centimetres of landing a double at Echuca, when another of Moore's former runners Yoursnmine finished second in the day's final event behind the Donna Castles-trained Penitente.
It completed a handy day for the Heathcote-based stable with one win, a second a third with Hard Rock Shannon in the same race as Yoursnmine from its three runners.
Those results added to a superb season so far for the stable, which has notched up 17 winners and 44 placings.
French will be hoping history can quickly repeat itself, with another stable newcomer from the Mildura region lining up at Shepparton on Thursday.
Tangaroa will be chasing his first win at start number 43. The gelding will be having his first start in three months.
He will be one of three runners in the night for the Frenches, along with Billy Barfly and Joeys Hangover, who is aiming for his eighth win this season.
The five-year-old gelding was a winner at Shepparton as recently as August 19.
Have you signed up to the Bendigo Advertiser's daily newsletter and breaking news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in central Victoria.