Douglas scores first training win

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  • July 28, 2023
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By Joshua Smith, LOVERACING.NZ News Desk

Melissa Douglas’ dream start to her training career continued at Oamaru on Wednesday when Shejengar scored her first win in the Stephen Heffernan Property Brokers (1200m).

It was Douglas’ second start as a trainer, with Shejengar runner-up in her debut outing at Wingatui earlier in the month.

The Invercargill horsewoman was rapt with Wednesday’s result and is hoping her northern acquisition can continue her impressive run of form.

“I was stoked with the win,” Douglas said.

“Halfway up the straight she looked like she was stopping, but he (Diego Montes de Oca, jockey) got her off the rail where the track was a bit better, the other horse came up beside her and off she went again.

“She went way better than I could have hoped that first time and it was a tough run yesterday, I was very happy with her.”

Hailing from a harness racing family, horses have always been in the blood for Douglas, however, she found herself lured more toward the saddle than the sulky.

“My Dad, Jeremy Douglas, is a harness racing trainer and is still training here in Invercargill,” she said.

“I grew up eventing and doing pony club, but I took a few years off and was ready to get back into it.

“I finished high school and I was living in Oamaru and was a bit lost and didn’t know what to do, so I came down here (Invercargill) for a couple of months and never left.

“I work for Sally McKay. Riding track work was a good excuse to get back into horses and you get to ride all day, so I thought that was a bit of me.”

While Douglas has been enjoying riding track work, she felt the need for another challenge last year and went about getting her trainer’s license.

“Last year I decided I was ready to have a play with my own horse. I got my license in November, but I was just waiting for the right horse to come along,” she said.

Her patience paid off when northern mare Shejengar was offered to her by former trainer Alex Forbes.

“They offered her to Jo Gordon and they just wanted her to go somewhere she would be looked after and Jo asked me if I would take her. It has worked out well,” Douglas said.

“She is number one here, she is treated like royalty. I think she is liking being a pet and seems to be enjoying that.” – LOVERACING.NZ News Desk

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