Win surprises trainer
A KNEE operation as a three-year-old was make or break time for Kel Connell's five-year-old gelding Galabiya.
The Desert Style galloper's future was uncertain after the operation but since then he has remained sound.
Connell said he wasn't expecting Galabiya to win at Sunday's Coffs Harbour TAB meeting as his seconds-up form in the past had been nothing special.
"Normally he races best at 1200 metres and I thought he wasn't fit enough to win on Sunday," he said.
Galabiya returned from a spell when he was beaten four and a half lengths by Fiachra over 1000 metres at Coffs Harbour when he settled back in the field.
On Sunday, Galabiya ($31) raced up on the pace and finished strongly along the inside to beat Ken Lantry's In the Nick (5.50) by one-and-a-quarter lengths with the favourite Pilly (3.00) three-quarters of a length away third.
Connell said he missed out on the juicy odds for Galabiya as he didn't think it would win.
"Generally it takes him a couple of runs to reach peak fitness so it was a bit of a surprise to see him run so well," Connell said.
"The win should have him primed for a race at Murwillumbah next week over 1200 metres."
Before going for a spell, Galabiya was a beaten favourite at Bowraville but Connell said he just didn't handle the track that day.
He was also beaten behind Cedar Chief as Coffs Harbour in July but Connell said the poor run was due to the horse being at the end of his preparation.
Galabiya has been consistent winning four of his 19 starts with five other placings.