Amy Rees wins 2018 opener aboard Grand Zara| Video

AMY Rees may not have driven a lot of winners since making the move from Queensland to Bathurst 12 months ago, but she started 2018 on a good note.

GOOD START: Amy Rees guides the John O'Shea trained Grand Zara to victory in the first race held at the Bathurst Paceway in 2018. Photo: ANYA WHITELAW

GOOD START: Amy Rees guides the John O'Shea trained Grand Zara to victory in the first race held at the Bathurst Paceway in 2018. Photo: ANYA WHITELAW

Rees took out the first race of the new year staged by the Bathurst Harness Racing Club on Wednesday, guiding Grand Zara to victory in a three-year-old (1,730 metres) pace.

In the gig for Bathurst trainer John O’Shea, Rees had the $16.90 chance one out and one back before storming to the lead down the home straight.

The Artistic Fella x Kalypso filly went on to notch up the first win of her seven-start career.

“She went really well,” Rees, who is studying journalism at CSU, said.

“She has a bit of ability, so we’d hoped she’d show it tonight and she did. She had a good trip and she came home over the top.”

Though Rees estimates her tally since driving at Bathurst to be “seven or eight wins”, her drive aboard Grand Zara was faultless.

There were nervous moments early for Graham Betts (Dinosaurus Rex) and Bernie Hewitt (Scarlet Babe) after their runners locked wheels in the opening metres.

While that pair withdrew, Grand Zara was outside leader Write About Her on the bell and though she was then shuffled back into the one-one, it did not trouble Rees.

She found space after turning three wide for home, Grand Zara hitting the front soon after balancing. She won by 3¾m over Doctor Somes ($52.70, Mitch Turnbull) in a 1:59.0 mile rate, with stablemate Zaras Dance ($40.30, O’Shea) third.