YOUNG Latrobe reinsman Ben Parker will have good reason to remember the first ever night meeting at Burnie after winning his first race for more than two years on his own horse Takeaway Koala.
Despite having to work outside the leader, Takeaway Koala proved too strong for pacemaker Inner City and Bumble Don in the Bryan Green Pace.
Parker has been driving for four years but has had only limited opportunities and Takeaway Koala was just his third career winner.
``I usually only drive my own horses or others trained by Brett Jaffray,'' Parker explained.
Coastal football legend Jaffray prepares Takeaway Koala for Parker, his mother Karen Parker and partner Kate Wilkinson.
``We bought the horse from Craig Hayes earlier in the year and this was his seventh start since we've had him,'' Parker said.
``I thought he could win tonight because I expected him to lead.
``It's the first time he's raced in the death for us but it's not a bad place to be on this track.
``You just have to be up the front.''
Takeaway Koala's win denied Inner City's trainer Geoff Smith and driver Craig Hayes a treble.
They combined to win the opening race with Buckingham Boy and scored again later in the night with Stareeshar.
Buckingham Boy landed a longshot plunge, firming from $31 to $16 with Tattsbet fixed odds.
The former South Australia-owned gelding had been raced on lease by Eddie Murdoch until Smith bought him during the week for only $2000.
``He's improved every week since we've had him and I thought, on his trackwork, he could win,'' the trainer said.
Hayes shared that opinion.
``He ran second to Mickwillrev in a recent trial going 2:04 and that was good enough form to win this race,'' Hayes said.
``He can sprint and he found the line good.''
Buckingham Boy settled last in a small field but ran home strongly to catch the leader Odins Call Girl in the final stride.
``It was a great drive by Craig - he knows this track better than anyone,'' Smith said.
The new lighting system at the track won widespread approval and a crowd of about 600 braved a cool night to watch the historic meeting.