Sam Dimarco and Shadow Runner
BRANDY Hill trainerSam Dimarco’s hopes of getting Shadow Runner back to top-class competition were raised when the 2015 Bathurst Gold Crown champion had his first win in 13 months at Newcastle on Saturday night.
With James Harding in the gig, Shadow Runner ($5.80) worked hard early from barrier eight to get the lead with a 27-second first quarter in race four.
The five-year-old geldingthen held out fast-finishing 2017 Newcastle horse of the year Rockmemama, the $2 favourite, by a metre to win in 1.56 flat.
It was Shadow Runner’s fifth start back from a year out with a leg injury.
“I was really happy with the run,” Dimarco said.
“He’s improving but he’s not 100 per cent yet. That was his fifth run back and he takes a while to get going.
“We may just stay around Newcastle for a couple more runs and then take him to Menangle for the MOs,
“Hopefully we canget him back to somewhere near where he was before the injury.”
The wincame on the same night three-year-old filly Black Silhouette, which is also owned by Dimarco’s daughter and Harness Racing NSW director Marissa Dimarco,qualified for another Evolution series final.She led the heat but was run down late byGemmaRue’sCallmequeenbee. The pair will meet again in Saturday night’s final at Menangle
“Ibiggest thrill for Marissa was Shadow Runner,” Sam said.“To get him back and win a race, even though it was only by a metre, he’s got it all in front of him if we can keep him sound.”
It was also a big night for visiting driver Leigh Sutton, who took Polly Downing’sElsie Gem, Clayton Harmey’s Yourblueyescrying and Tiarn Sutton’s Team Of Starzzz to victory.
Meanwhile, former Keinbah-based team Shane and Lauren Tritton had a winning double at Menangle with two-time Newcastle horse of the year Mach Beauty and Franco Nelson.