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'Newbie' Trainer Chasing Her First Ever Winner

By Mark Brassel

Fledgling trainer Melissa Dennett is hoping to crack it for her first ever winner when she takes three gallopers to Armidale on Tuesday.

Dennett, 34, is originally from New Zealand and has strong racing bloodlines being a daughter of Steve and Lesley Dennett who were both jockeys: “I’ve only had my licence for a few weeks so I’m especially keen to get my first winner,” Melissa enthused.

Below: Rubymay (Ben Looker) after winning at Armidale - the mare should perform well at that course on Tuesday. Image by - Bradley Photographers

Dennett rides trackwork and took the training reins from Tamworth-based Leon Davies after he decided to have a break from racing, leaving the ‘newbie’ with 16 horses in work: “I’d like to think all three horses have winning chances at Armidale.”

Maybegrey (Rachael Murray) and Rubymay (Ben Looker) are both running in the Clubs NSW Handicap (1300m), while Magic Gracie (Matthew McGuren) will compete in the Armidale City Bowling Club Plate (1300m).

It will be an emotional win should Maybegrey land the cash, having led throughout to win the Diggers Cup at Narromine two starts back – the last winner for jockey Darren Jones before he was killed in a fall at Warialda six days later.

“Maybegrey was retired to stud but didn’t get in foal so she came back into work and has been thriving," Melissa said. “She’s a lovely mare and was trapped wide throughout last start over the 1000m.

“That’s not her go as they go too fast for her. They won’t go as quick early stepping up to the 1300m so she should get to the front.”

Rubymay was a last start fifth at Gunnedah on May 18 and Dennett believes she will appreciate the drop in grade and weight.

“We’ve realised she can’t carry big weights so dropping three kilos from 59.5kg is going to help her cause. She did run fourth in a TAB Highway race at Canterbury so the ability is certainly there. She’s honest and is overdue for a win.”

Dennett maintains Magic Gracie’s last start 13th (of 14) at Quirindi should be overlooked: “She saw more of the outside fence that day than the inside rail.

“She simply needs to lead and I’m not worried about the barrier (18). Matthew (McGuren) is a very good rider and he’ll be able to cross them and get to the front. If she finds the lead OK she will keep going and being down in grade I’m sure she will give a great sight.”

Meanwhile, Wagga will race again on Friday after hosting its big Kurrajong Raceday yesterday on the Riverside Course.

This time the meeting will be on the course proper with the highlight, the $25,000 Lamont Classic for 2yos (1300m) a race that honours the Lamont family from Kooringal Stud, just north of Wagga.

Stud boss, Stuart Lamont, has been on the Murrumbidgee Turf Club board for three decades, spending the last 11 years as president. And Stuart’s son, Angus, has followed the family tradition and is now on MTC’s board.

Taree also races on Friday with their popular Wingham Cup Day. The race club invites the entire Wingham community with the day sponsored by Wingham Services Club, Australian Hotel Wingham and De Bortoli wines.

A free bus will leave Wingham at 11:15am heading straight to the course.

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