Honest Matthew Williams trained galloper Ticket To Toorak put the frustrations of last year behind him to bring in the new year with a well deserved win at Terang, much to the delight of his strapper Sarah Woodhouse.
The Northern Meteor gelding had a frustrating run with injury towards the end of last year, but showed he was back to something like his best on New Year’s Day, scorching over the turf in track record time of 1:04.42 for the 1125m trip.
It was an excited and relieved Sarah Woodhouse as her much loved ‘Rocket’ returned to the mounting yard following his impressive victory.
“He had a niggling muscle injury which plagued him towards the end of last prep so he basically had to go to the paddock and start from scratch after last prep,” said Sarah.
“To get him back winning and feeling good again was the main thing we were looking for today.”
“Seeing him win again meant the world – seeing him back trying to win.”
Ticket To Toorak began full of running for jockey Fabian Alexsci and was allowed to bowl along in front.
After being pressured midrace, he railed strongly around the turn, hitting the line in stylish fashion to score a comfortable one length victory over The Minister, with a further one and three-quarter lengths away to Muchos Respectos in third place.
Following the win, Sarah was more excited for Ticket To Toorak’s loyal and patient owners, than for herself.
“He is a great horse to look after as he has the best (massive!) group of owners who most generally come to the races and watch,” Sarah said.
“When he wins I think they are maybe even more excited than me!”
“They’re a big, loud bunch and after the race is always hectic – yelling, cheering and crying (guilty ha).”
“They really get into it and seem to love watching him win as much as I do.”
As for ‘Rocket’, even though he’s now a gelding, he’s still a handful, but a lovable one, according to his proud strapper.
“He’s a lovely little horse to look after – although he is very cheeky and tests my patience regularly, ” Sarah said.
“That’s why I like him I think, he’s a bit quirky.”
“He’s got a bit of attitude and thinks he is the best thing going, and I don’t disagree with him, ” Sarah said with a wry smile on her face.
Trainer Matthew Williams was full of praise for his maturing Northern Meteor sprinter and the winning Fabian Alesci ride.
“The race went to script. It was a good ride by Fabian Alesci,” Matthew said.
“Ticket To Toorak has always shown us ability. He’s really started to mature.”
“I was happy how he got into his rhythm early in the race. I knew he would be hard to beat after 600 metres.”
Ticket To Toorak has now had 17 starts for 4 wins and 4 placings with prizemoney earnings of more than $104,000.
He has been entered for a Country Showcase BM78 Handicap (1200m) next Wednesday at Geelong in a similar race to what he won this time last year.
On his classy all the way Terang win, it won’t be long before Ticket To Toorak finds himself in the winner’s stall once again!
Its been a big month for the Matthew Williams stable, both on and off the track.
Matthew Williams and his wife Ultra, welcomed baby Layla, just one day before Ticket To Toorak saluted at Terang, with father, mother and daughter all reportedly doing very well.
Nine days later the stable’s 4yo Hard Spun colt Turnitaround scored a city win at Flamington, before 3yo gelding Strategic Demand made it win number three for the month with victory at Warrnambool the following day.
Its been a big month, and it could be a big year for the Warrnambool stables of Matthew Williams.
We certainly hope so, as they are hard working, wonderful folk, who deserve a change of luck!