A MAIDEN win for the Aileen Vanderfeen-trained Rose'n'harlem at Saturday's Yea picnic meeting came with an even sweeter first for connections
The five-year-old mare is owned by her Bendigo trainer in partnership with Craig and Stacey Kirkpatrick, whose daughter Abbie was the strapper.
It was 18-year-old Abbie's first strapping win at just her second trip into the mounting yard.
Vanderfeen said the youngster, who has ambitions of a career in horse racing, could not have been more rapt.
"She did lead one around for me at Geelong (on Boxing Day), Sentry Rock, who is really quiet," she said.
"This mare was a bit more of a handful, but she was rapt.
"She said she was ticking off her bucket list and she got to tick getting a winner off.
"She had her 18th birthday last week, so it's been a nice few days."
Rose'n'harlem was ridden to victory by Craig Kirkpatrick, who - in another first - notched up win number one for the 2021-22 picnic season from nine rides.
A good day for the 44-year-old from Bendigo included a third on the Benalla-trained Court Painter with his only other ride.
It was Rose'n'harlem's first win in 17 starts. She had previously been placed twice at Wangaratta and Nhill in December of 2020.
The mare was formerly trained at Bendigo by Brad Cole before being purchased online by Vanderfeen and the Kirkpatricks for $600 in mid-2021.
She was immediately turned out for a spell and on Saturday was having her first start since June 26 last year.
A little shocked at her $13 starting price, Vanderfeen headed to Yea quite hopeful of success.
"She won well and was just a bit good for them," she said.
"She was three-wide the whole trip and just went away from them in the last 50m.
"She had a good spell after we got her, but has been back in work for a while.
"We trialled her at Echuca at the last jumpouts up there and she won, so we were relatively confident going there.
"The win more than covered her cost price, so we're all pretty happy."
Now a 45-rater following Saturday's win, Vanderfeen said the mare's immediate future was likely on the picnic circuit, but she was hopeful at some point of getting her accepted into a pro-maiden.
"I think she's probably a bit better than just the picnics," she said.
"We couldn't get a run at Great Western today (Sunday), so we opted to go to the picnics instead.
"At this stage we'll just keep looking around. There's a meeting at Swan Hill (in February) that has a 1200m (benchmark) 58, but she's still pretty low rated, so it will be hard to get a run.
"We'll keep the fingers crossed though."
Vanderfeen has a bit of history around the mother of Rose'n'harlem, Angels Star.
"She (Rose'n'harlem) is a half-sister to Harlem Star and we've won races with him and then when I took over Brad Cole's stable for a bit, he had Red's Sister Rosie and we won with her as well, so she is the third one in the family we have won with," she said.
"There's a few more around. There was a guy at the races yesterday, who owns a stud, and he said (Angels Star) has one by St John, who's an English staying horse.
"I like her as a mare."
Vanderfeen, who late last year retired from her role at ACE Laboratory Services, but has since done a few casual shifts at the East Bendigo-based veterinary diagnostics provider, has seven horses in work at the moment, with a few more to arrive soon.
"I'm retired now, so there's plenty more time for the horses," she said.
Kirkpatrick was not the only central Victorian trainer on the winner's list at Yea, with Kyneton's George Osborne scoring a win with Eastern Pegasus.
The eight-year-old gelding made it two wins from his last two starts at Yea following his win on December 18.
It was a second career win for young jockey Maddison Gretton, who also rode Eastern Pegasus at his last Yea win.
Read more: Wangaratta win a timely boost for Fair Go
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