PRATT'S Miss stole the show at Moruya Jockey Club's Christmas Celebration last Saturday when she won by a nose against hot favourite Dance Magic in the feature race on the card.
Moruya trainer Wayne Davey's seven-year-old mare led most of the way down the straight and
managed to get the bob-in on the line over Dance Magic and snatch victory in the 1425m Tom Fisher Memorial Cup Open Handicap.
Mark McDonald's Dance Magic finished second with Richard Bensley aboard and Mark Hanneybel rode John Peiti's Black Surprise in for third.
Pratt's Miss's jockey Paul Goode continued his smart recent form with the win, a second, a third and a fourth placing from his four rides on the day. On the previous evening, Goode experienced his best result in only his second stint of riding in Australia - a win in Sydney. The English hoop, who is here on a four-year visa, won at Canterbury Park on Canberra-trained Emgee Rex.
He looked both delighted and exhausted after the main race at Moruya, and who could blame him after all his recent travels.
Of Pratt's Miss, Goode said: "That was the first time I've ridden her and she did have a tough run.
"She had Black Surprise pestering her all through the race but she's done really well to win. She actually is better at long distances -over 2000 metres - but she really loves the ground here."
Davey had only one starter on the day after his other runner was scratched.
"She [Pratt's Miss] jumped and led the race but she got lazy at the 600-metre mark," he said.
"But she kicked up and worked hard for the rest of the distance. She likes the sting out of the ground but she has had some recent problems with her hooves.
"Paul rode her exactly how I wanted."
Pratt's Miss, co-owned by Davey, his wife Joan and Catherine English, was having only her fourth run back after being laid off for 15 months with a foot injury. She is due to race again early next year in the Moruya Cup in January.
Other highlights of the day included racecaller Chris O'Brien's calling of his four year old mare Leila's Lady's win in the third race at her second race start.
"It was a fantastic win for her," O'Brien said.
"She had a good run considering she's had a lot of leg problems. It's a credit to [trainers] Lynda and Ron Bundy because this mare came to them with a lot of leg problems."
O'Brien, manager of the Meringo Stud syndicate, sent Leila's Lady to the Bundy stable with the hope she could benefit from the sand-based tracks and the soft ground on the coast compared to that in Canberra.
"She's been shin sore on three occasions and the horse has tested both our patience and our pockets . . . but it was good to call my own winner," he said.
Having called the wins of two of his runners at the last two meetings at Moruya, O'Brien will be hoping for continued success in the next few months. He manages the syndicate that races the Chicka Pearson-trained Protective Custody. Winner of an Open Handicap at Moruya two meetings ago, Protective Custody will soon embark on a cups' campaign on the Far South Coast.