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SUNDAY: March 15, 2020: IT may have been nothing more than a Maiden Plate at Taree, but it meant plenty to Hawkesbury trainer Marty McInerney.

Understandably so given his $41 winner Tormenta has overcome obstacles to even get to the races, let alone break through.

Now a five-year-old mare and having only her sixth start, Tormenta (Ashley Morgan) ran her rivals ragged last Friday in leading throughout over the 1600m to easily defeat $1.65 favorite Urbino by two and a half lengths.

McInerney, an experienced horseman who has spent a lifetime involved with equestrian horses, couldn’t believe his luck when he bought Tormenta (a daughter of Husson and the Flying Spur mare Coming Storm, a Warwick Farm winner as a three-year-old) for $21,000 at the 2016 Inglis Classic yearling sale.

“I had looked at her beforehand and she was a beautiful filly,” McInerney said today.

“I was surprised to get her as cheaply as we did.”

Then the troubles started.

“Tormenta nearly lost an eye through an infection, and had to spend three weeks in a dark place with a patch over the eye,” McInerney explained.

“Then later we discovered she had a lot of chips in her off fore knee, and I gave her a long time out to recover.

“She has been a work in progress, but is a more mature mare now and I was confident she would run well at Taree after an encouraging fifth there on January 31 at her previous start when she had no luck.

“Robbie Brewer rides my horses work at Hawkesbury, and felt this was the best Tormenta has ever been taking her to the races.

“The plan was to overcome the outside barrier last Friday by getting her out quickly and trying to make her rivals catch her if they could, and it worked perfectly.

“Now that she has broken through, I think she can go on with it.”

The well-named Tormenta (Portuguese for storm) carries the white and emerald green peppertree colours of McInerney’s Peppertee Equestrian and Contracting business at Arcadia.

She is one of only three horses he has in work, the others being Versifier and Zippy Mississippi.

McInerney has prepared two winners this season – Versifier was his first at Mudgee last October – and it is no coincidence that expatriate Welsh jockey Morgan has been aboard both.

“Brett Thompson (Gulgong trainer) gave Ashley a good recommendation and introduced him to me,” McInerney said.

“He is a very capable rider and though we don’t have a lot of runners, I’m pleased to use him whenever I can.”

Morgan has had only three rides for McInerney; his sole loss being on Tormenta at Taree on January 31 when she was forced to race wide throughout from an awkward barrier when a $71 chance in a Maiden Handicap (1614m), having her first start since early December.