Jockey Faith Elliott on Barry Gill-trained Unique Fuse after winning race five at the Gympie Christmas Races on Saturday.
Jockey Faith Elliott on Barry Gill-trained Unique Fuse after winning race five at the Gympie Christmas Races on Saturday. David Crossley

Black and white wins keep Desiree’s legacy

THE black and white colours worn by Desiree Gill in many of her race victories visited the winners stall twice during Gympie's Desiree Gill Memorial day last Saturday.

Unique Fuse (Open) and Playsova (BM65) were victorious for the Barry Gill stable and - appropriately - all five races were won by female riders.

A 3 kg claimer, Faith Elliott, who had been mentored by Desiree, recorded a winning treble aboard Te Aroha, Playsova and Unique Fuse.

Alannah Badger bounced back from shoulder surgery to win the 1170m maiden on Razor Castle while Billie-Rose Derbyshire stole the 1170m Class 2 with "catch me if you can" tactics on $10 chance, Katie Will Do.

Thrilling finish

THE final race for the year in Gympie, the 1030m Open, produced a tremendous finish with Unique Fuse coming from a seemingly hopeless position mid-race to win by a head.

Faith Elliott, who is apprenticed to Pat Duff at Deagon, pulled Unique Fuse wide of the flying sand on the home bend to go after the leaders.

Unique Fuse ($2.50 eq fav.) flew home out wide to finish a shade better than Frenardi ($2.50, B. Derbyshire) to win by a head in a tight finish.

Night Moves (T. Brooker) was 1½ lengths back in third ahead of early leader, Butter'n'Dash who set a sizzling early pace.

The victory was the 15th win by the Chateau Istana five-year-old gelding with Faith the only rider, apart from Desiree Gill, to win on the chestnut who was last season's SEQ Country Horse of the Year.

Unique Fuse had failed the previous Saturday at Roma after getting back in the sandstorm near the rear of the field early.

Right call

DESIREE Gill had always been keen for husband Barry to purchase a galloper by Foreplay to race in Gympie.

He did this a few months back obtaining the six-year-old Foreplay mare, Playsova, who had won her maiden at Toowoomba over 1625m and a Gold Coast 1400m Class 1.

Having her fifth start for the Gill stable in the Benchmark 65 over 1470m, Playsova ($12) proved a shade too strong in the final 50m to hold off the fast-finishing Vivaheart ($5, M. Gray) by a long neck.

The $2.10 favourite, The Blizzard (T. Williams), was caught wide from his outside barrier and was relegated to third after having to work hard early.

Badger back

GYMPIE jockey Alannah Badger, who endured a shoulder reconstruction about six months ago, made a successful return to Gympie racing with a victory on Razor Castle in the Cavlon Maiden.

Having just her third day back riding, Alannah had the $2 favourite up with the leaders from the 850m start and booted the four-year-old Chateau Istana gelding home by a length from Mystery Charger ($6.50, B. Derbyshire) and Simply Chanel ($2.40, T. Williams).

Trained at Gatton by Ben Robinson, the winner is raced by a group of Brisbane owners including a former Tasmanian trainer in Mal Lehman.

Part owner, John Shanley was elated to record his first-ever win.

He said that the group had obtained the then two-year-old colt after he had escaped from his paddock by swimming across the Condamine River to join some mares over the river.

Fitting result

THE Desiree Gill Memorial Maiden over 1170m was won by the Darryl Gardiner trained Te Aroha ($2.50 eq. fav.).

Desiree rode 21 winners for the Bundaberg-based trainer during her career, so it was a appropriate win.

Faith Elliott piloted the NZ-bred former Victorian Black Minnalousie six-year-old to a comfortable 3¼ length victory over Jackson Magic ($6, B. Derbyshire) and the winner's stablemate, Bella Beijing ($2.50, C. Kearney).

Raced by Mrs Gardiner and two Cristodoulou sisters who work for the stable, Te Aroha has proven a good money spinner with a win and four placings from five outings for the Gardiner stable.

There will now be a three-month break in racing until the Sullivan Lifestock Saint Patrick's race day on March 1 next year.