ROCHESTER trainer Neville Pangrazio was right when he told punters to ignore Moonshine Linda’s run in the Oaks trial at the Shepparton Cup meeting the previous week when he took the filly to contest the $40,000 NSW Trotters Oaks at Menangle on Saturday night.
Moonshine Linda finished near the tail of the field at Shepparton when favourite but Pangrazio said teeth problems and lack of a hard run had taken its toll and the reason for the uncharacteristic performance.
He was extremely confident she could bounce back in the Sydney feature – and she did.
Top NSW horseman Luke McCarthy positioned Moonshine Linda from barrier four on the back of the well fancied fellow Victorian Amour De Frere; who crossed the field and led from barrier seven.
Amour De Frere got the stitch halfway down the home straight in the testing 2400m mobile event and McCarthy pounced with Moonshine Linda to hit the front.
They then held off the fast-finishing Tim Butt trained favourite Sassy Pants to win by a head, with the unlucky Pretty Majestic filling the minor placing in a three-way drive to the line.
Moonshine Linda, by top sire Majestic Son out of the Sundon mare Maori Sunshine, was bred by Pangrazio and was having just her 11th race start.
But with four wins under her girth going into the race she showed she was one of the most talented trotting fillies in Australia, a point she proved with the win.
She paid $5 on the TAB for the win.
“It wouldn’t have wanted to have been much further,” Pangrazio conceded after the race.
“Luke (McCarthy) said she switched off once she got to the front and he didn’t want risk hitting her so he yelled at her to keep her going to the finishing line and luckily she held on,” he said.
Pangrazio now has his sights on the Victoria Trotters Oaks, the Vicbred series and the Breeders Crown with the filly.
For a man who milks a neighbour’s camels for a living and trains horses for a hobby, Pangrazio said his wife Louise – who is due to give birth in three weeks – was pivotal in the success.
“We were hoping it (baby) wasn’t going to arrive early on the trip up there and back,” he laughed.
“She does most of the work with her (Moonshine Linda) so it was a family thing,” he said.
Moonshine Linda is the second Northern Victorian trained filly to win the NSW Oaks in the past four years with the Kyabram trained Claudys Princess taking the blue riband event in 2014.