AFTER nearly losing an eye, the Bendigo-owned and trained pacing mare Dont Waste Time has bounced back to score a courageous and rewarding maiden win.
To the delight of his large ownership group, the Gary Donaldson-trained four-year-old broke through for her first win at Maryborough last Friday at career start number 10.
A sentimental victory came just a few starts and months after the pint-sized mare's career was plunged into doubt when she hurt her eye about three months ago.
Her ability to return to the races stands as a testament to the patience and abilities of Victorian Equine Group vet Dr Sarah Jalim and her Junortoun-based trainer.
"She looked like she would be blind in one eye. However, we treated her and stuck with her," Donaldson said of Dont Waste Time, who notched up a convincing 6.8m win over 1690m in maiden company.
"She was a good patient and Sarah Jalim and her team did a great job with her.
"I took her home and looked after her for six weeks and blow me down the eye has come good.
"It was a bit of a miracle really. I really thought at one stage she was going to lose her eye.
"There's no problem with it now and everyone involved is happy to have got a win on the board."
Dont Waste Time, who was driven to victory by outstanding young Lexton reinsman James Herbertson, was another winner for the Pacers Bendigo 1 and 2 syndicates, managed by Alan Prentice.
A prolific last two and a bit months for the syndicate and other co-owners with their Donaldson-trained horses has reaped $33,800 in prize money, well-boosted by the $7000 bonus for Dont Waste Time's maiden win.
Leigha Miller, who will run at Ballarat on Friday night, has a win and three placings in six starts for $9000; Rocks Arnt Pets has three wins and a placing in four starts for $11, 850; while Dont Waste Time has a win and two placings in five starts for $5950 in stakes and her $7000 bonus.
A late maturer, Dont Waste Time did not reach the racetrack until late in her in her three-year-old season.
She showed signs of promise with a second on debut at Swan Hill behind the then Julie Douglas-trained Rosie Rocks.
Rosie Rocks has since made her way to Tamworth trainer Tom Ison, for whom she has won three of five starts, including her last start at Albion Park.
Dont Waste Time had placed three times in total before last week's win, including an eye-opening second at Mildura on May 24, which earned her favouritism at Maryborough.
"She went good at Mildura (on May 24). She had to do a little bit too much work to find the top; the horse that beat her (Blue Cannon) was just a bit stronger," Donaldson said.
"But she hung on well and put the writing on the wall really.
"I didn't think (last Friday's field) was any stronger than Mildura and that she might get the lead a bit easier, so I went there thinking we were a good chance."
Donaldson said there was a perfectly good reason why Dont Waste Time, who he insists will make a fine broodmare in time, was late in starting her racing career.
"She was actually born out of season - she was a late-March foal," he said.
"She was actually born late as I purchased the last lot of semen from the great stallion McArdle - I bought enough to serve three mares.
"I like the stallion because he was always one of the best stallions in America and he'd had limited opportunities and always done a pretty good job.
"Anyway, the mare Live Your Life couldn't get in foal, so in desperation, we took her down to Glenormiston College and the vet down there is brilliant at getting them in foal with frozen seaman and he got it done.
"But she didn't get in foal until April, so we had a late-March foal, so we've always had to hold her back a bit. That's why she didn't race as a two-year-old.
"She's not very big - she's only pint-sized - but she tries very hard."
Meanwhile, Donaldson confirmed Rocks Arnt Pets, a winner of nine of 64 starts, most recently at his last run at Mildura on May 24, is currently listed for sale.
"He bolted in last start; he went and sat outside the leaders and darted away and was too good for them," he said.
"He's racing in great heart at the moment. He won at Mildura during the cup carnival and then had that terrific win at Shepparton when he came from last.
"He just got pipped at Swan Hill but then he came out and won at Mildura.
"He's doing it from the back, the front, or whichever way you drive."
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