Christmas finally came for Ideal Karalta on Sunday night as the Kent Rattray-trained gelding took out the three-year-old race at Mowbray.
The win ended a scratchy four months which has seen the pacer struggle with form and injury, following a promising stretch of six consecutive places in mid-to-late 2017.
“We had a bit of trouble with him just before Christmas and he had to have six weeks before we started again so we’re just getting him right again,” Rattray said.
“He had a couple of close runs then he went very ordinary in Hobart and we took him back to trials and drove him a bit different and we thought he’d go good tonight and he has.
“That’s the horse we think we’ve got, we’ve just got to hope he’ll keep performing like that.
“But he’s very well-bred, we’d like to think he could win a few more like that he’s a nice horse.”
Bred by Rattray’s parents Gaye and Wayne, Ideal Karalta started second favourite and more than lived up to the billing, racing to a five-metre lead at the final turn.
John Castles’ Keep Playing drew back a metre on the home straight with Beam Me Up Chopper not far back in third, but neither could bridge the gap as John Walters drove the three-year-old to a comfortable win.
“He’s done a good job and he’ll target the three-year-old sweepstakes in early to mid-May, he’ll have a run in that now,” Rattray said.
“Hopefully he can keep improving if we can just stop him getting injured.”
The Class 1-2 race saw Mister Magic Man hold off $1.80 favourite Buster William to claim a third-straight win after successes at Broken Hill in February and Launceston last fortnight.
Gareth Rattray took the Shelley Barnes-trained pacer past El Jays Mystery on the turn and held strong down the straight to finish a neck to the good of second.
The result marked Mister Magic Man’s 13th career win from 39 starts.
But the favourite finally took the win in the third race of the evening as Maree Caldow’s New Zealand gelding Stagger Lee put its class on centre stage.
Driven by John Caldow, the seven-year-old finished a massive 12 metres ahead of the field in the free-for-all 2200m, with Black Centurian and All Style Sammy making up the placings.
Stagger Lee has 14 career wins.