McGillivray breaks through at metro level

Former star country apprentice Matt McGillivray rode his first Saturday metropolitan winner and helped end a terrible week for top trainer Rob Heathcote.

Heathcote lost his star galloper Buffering for the winter with a fetlock injury and had to scratch his promising sprinter Dream of Slips on Saturday with a spider bite on the neck.

However, he managed a smile after McGillivray made a long sweeping run on Fusina ($8.50) to win the Premier Racing Partnership Three Year Old (2020m).

McGillivray was apprenticed to Craig Smith at Roma, in western Queensland, and rode about 200 winners during his country stint.

He’s on loan to Barry Baldwin at Eagle Farm and will begin full-time in Brisbane on April 1.

It’s McGillivray’s 64th winner this season and, while winning four midweek races, it’s his first on Saturday.

“I was lucky enough to get a good ride from trainer Rob Heathcote,” he said.

“It has taken a little while to establish myself, but hopefully it will lead to a few things.”

Fusina defied his breeding to win over a middle distance.

“You can throw the breeding book out the window. Fusina is out of a sprinting mare in Chenar, but all he has wanted to do his stay,” Heathcote said.

“I might even look at the Queensland Derby with him.”

Heathcote trained Chenar, which won the Group Three Champagne Stakes as a two-year-old, and the best of her offspring has been the handy speed horse Heartshaker.

Baldwin got his share of glory when Valerie D’Amour ($14) led all of the way in pouring rain to win the Marsh Advantage Insurance Handicap (2020m).

As the field jumped, a storm swamped Doomben and the race was run in driving rain.

The storm dumped more than 50mm of rain on the track and the meeting was abandoned at 3pm.


Story courtesy Mark Oberhardt


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