Devonport apprentice Chantal Willis wins first race for two years

A long wait is over for Devonport apprentice Chantal Willis after an all-the-way win on Kool Kash at Spreyton on Sunday.

Kool Kash was her first winner since she scored on Able Ken at Spreyton in April 2015.

Willis, 26, returned to the saddle only last month after she quit riding in June 2015 because of weight issues and feeling mentally burnt out.

“It was probably more a case of me not being mature enough to handle the pressure that goes with being a jockey,” she said.

“The first year I was out I didn’t care about riding but in the last six months especially I realised that it really is what I want to do.

COMEBACK: Devonport apprentice Chantal Willis wins her first race for more than two years on Kool Kash at Spreyton. Picture: Greg Mansfield

COMEBACK: Devonport apprentice Chantal Willis wins her first race for more than two years on Kool Kash at Spreyton. Picture: Greg Mansfield

“You’ve got to have the desire and I’ve definitely got that back.”

Kool Kash was one of seven winners on the eight-race card to lead throughout, with Fought For the only exception in the Maiden Plate.

“It certainly looked like you had to be in front today and, luckily, it was my horse that led in that race,” trainer Graeme McCulloch said after Kool Kash held on to score by a head from Banca Dream in the Benchmark 68 Handicap.

TRACK specialist Underplay, ridden by Georgie Catania, was another horse to give a bold front-running display in the Benchmark 82 Handicap.

The David Miller-trained four-year-old didn’t get things all his own way but was still good enough to hold out the fast-finishing Killin Falls by a long neck.

Underplay, having his first run for seven months, has had 10 starts on the synthetic track for five wins and four placings.

Killin Falls, who was chasing his fourth straight win, rattled home against the bias in possibly the best performance of the day.

LONGFORD owner-trainer Wayne Curran hasn’t taken long to hit the target with gift horse The Master Speed.

A placegetter in the 2016 Tasmanian Guineas, The Master Speed was having only his second start for Curran when he held out Jacques and Tambro’s Game in the Class 4 Handicap.

Curran, who races the winner with daughter Alycia, said he had been given the gelding for free by previous owner Bob Lynch.

“I got him in February, gave him a month off, then started again,” Curran said.

“They told me he didn’t like the synthetic track but I think it was just the kickback he didn’t like.

“You don’t get any kickback when you’re in front.”

KYOGLE SON defied the statistics with a tough win in the Class 1 Handicap.

Few maiden winners can score again at their next start, especially when they have to carry 59kg, but Hayley McCarthy’s 2kg claim helped Kyogle Son’s cause.

McCarthy was a late booking after trainer Adam Trinder had to reshuffle his riders following the suspension of stable apprentice Chris Graham.

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