KIND Reward had only managed one placings in the first six starts of his career, meaning he was backed as an outsider at $18 in the Town and Country Rural Supplies CG & E Maiden Plate (1400 metres) at Tyers Park on Friday.
But the five-year-old managed to surprise not just the punters but his Bathurst trainer Dean Mirfin, racing home for strong win at his home track ahead of Knight’s Helmet ($8.50) and favourite Narrow Neck Nelson ($1.80), in second and third respectively.
Jockey Robbie Brewer moved Kind Reward to the lead early in the race, meaning he wouldn’t have to worry about getting stuck at the back of the pack.
“[King Reward] kind of surprised me in winning in some regards,” Mirfin said.
“We always thought he had a bit of ability, but he’s a big, slow, maturing horse. Not real smart.
“Today, the ride was a really good one. [Brewer] rode him to the lead, meaning he wouldn’t have to worry about getting behind another horse or getting stuck in the pack.”
“The horse showed his true ability and rolled home really well.”
The race start was delayed after Scott Singleton’s Allandale Raider ($18) got his foot stuck in the stall, but he was cleared fit to start.
Narrow Neck Nelson started the best, but within the opening 200 metres, Kind Reward had the lead.
It wasn’t until the pack headed into the home turn did Kind Reward get pushed by Just A Dram ($7), Lee Van Den Bos’ gelding eventually slipping back to last place, and again by Narrow Neck Nelson.
But as they broke into the home stretch, King Reward showed his strength and stormed home , just two metres ahead of Knight’s Helmet.
The win has now vastly increased the gelding’s career earnings, taking home $11,000 after the win.
Mirfin is confident that his five-year-old bay gelding can win again.
“When they win their maiden like that, you do think they’ve got another win in them,” he said.
“It’s the first run for this preparation. He’s had a break, so hopefully he pulls up well and we go forward with him.
“I’ve got no plans for him at the moment, but there’s plenty of races available for horses like him. We’ll find another race for him in the next couple of weeks.”
In the first race of the day – the Kennards Hire F&M Maiden Plate (1400 metres) – the Garry White-trained mare Russian Express was just good enough her first ever race in her second career start.
Greg Ryan rode Gayna Williams’ Kookabaa to victory in the third and final maiden on the day – the TLE Electrical Maiden Handicap (1100 metres).
Kookabaa’s win was a narrow too, finishing just 0.13 of a metre ahead of second.