McKAYLER Barnes always enjoys a winning drive, but when she added another victory to her tally on Friday night at Tamworth it carried some extra significance.
The race she won aboard the Peter Bullock, Bathurst-trained Ruth Shannon was the Bill Grima Memorial (1,980 metres).
Having been based in Tamworth before relocating his team to Bathurst, Bullock knows the Grima family well.
“Peter really wanted to win it, so it was good,” Barnes said.
“I think Peter was good friends with him, so definitely it was a good one to win, and the horse is named after Peter’s mum as well and she’s not real well at the moment. So the win was good.
“I had never won a memorial race before, that was my first one, but Peter’s won a few. It’s pretty good, they are a really nice family. They always make us feel really welcome when we go up there.”
A four-year-old Mach Three x Colada Bell mare, Ruth Shannon was rated a $6.10 chance.
She had run second in the Joan Bullock Memorial – named after Peter’s late wife – in February at Tamworth and since then had gone on to notch up the first win of her career.
Still, going from barrier nine in Friday night’s feature, Barnes knew she needed some luck as she planned to: “Take a sit and hope for the best.”
She got it.
Midlion Blues went hard early, zipping some 15 metres off the front to string the field out before backing off.
Barnes was able to find a spot one out and three back, but as the bell sounded she got moving with Ruth Shannon.
Ruth Shannon punched on three wide and had the lead after a 31.3 second quarter.
Million Dollar Mac ($14.70) challenged on the outside down the home straight, but Ruth Shannon kicked and went on to win.
Ruth Shannon finished 1.9m clear of Million Dollar Mac, with $2.70 favourite Kid Montana a further 7.4m back in third.
“It worked out perfectly, the favourite had to do a bit more work, so worked well for me,” Barnes said after Ruth Shannon posted her second win from 44 starts.
“She hit the line well, she was kicking away again.”