Lava To Rock (centre), ridden by Brad Stewart, wins the second race at Coffs Harbour yesterday. Photo:CHRIS RIX
Lava To Rock (centre), ridden by Brad Stewart, wins the second race at Coffs Harbour yesterday. Photo:CHRIS RIX

Win at last for troubled horse

By GREG WHITE

IF you didn't know her personally you'd say four-year-old mare Ashley Rose has everything going for her in life.

A pretty name, drop dead gorgeous looks ? the downside has been a 12-race career of plain bad luck.

But everything changed when the Baker family pet stormed away with the Thorn Lighting ? Key Plastics Maiden Plate at yesterday's Coffs Harbour meeting.

"She should have won three or four races by now but something always went wrong," owner-trainer Debbie Baker said excitedly.

"I was a little bit worried if she was fresh enough for the 800 metres as we work her really hard ... but for once she behaved at the barriers and went really well."

Part of the bad luck story has been the reluctance of Ashley Rose to act like a lady on race day. She is always flighty in the mounting yard and isn't fond of the starting stalls.

And she just isn't all that keen on people, as winning jockey Adam Nicholls showed as he gingerly avoided her back legs while retrieving a hind plate dislodged during the race.

The Port Macquarie-based rider was handed the job of warming the saddle when trainer's son Daniel couldn't make the weight of 55.5kg.

"Pity I couldn't have been part of the show but I've ridden plenty of winners for mum in the past," the premiership-winning apprentice said.

"We were really unlucky here a couple of months back when I thought we could win but it's good to see her finally break her maiden."

Despite his battle with weight, Baker still believes his own winning ride on Ashley Rose is coming.

"I've applied to extend my indentures and will stick to rides around 57kg in future," he said. "If she kicks on she'll get that sort of weight and I'll be back on her."



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