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BESTERS CELEBRATES FIRST WIN IN NEARLY TWO DECADES


WEDNESDAY: December 29, 2021: COLIN Besters won his first race in 19 years yesterday – but missed being trackside at Orange to share in the thrill of it.

The Hawkesbury trainer had to watch on TV and cheer from afar as his four-year-old mare Zanshin hoisted him back into the winning list after such a long absence out of it.

A $2.90 favorite, Zanshin led home a Hawkesbury quinella in the Benchmark 58 Handicap (1000m), bursting to the front in the straight and comfortably holding off Mitch and Desiree Kearney’s strong-finishing Magic Talent ($16).

“Unfortunately I couldn’t get to the races yesterday,” Besters said this morning.

“I’m awaiting a hip replacement in March.

“My partner Vicki Norman looked after Zanshin, and it was great to see her break through.

“She deserved the win as she had run a couple of close seconds at Orange.”

Besters’ previous winner was Gunnado in a 1600m Goulburn Maiden on January 31, 2003.

However, he took a lengthy absence from training between 2009 and 2018 following the death of his wife.

He and Ms Norman purchased Zanshin online in May for $1750, and the four-year-old daughter of Dawn Approach has certainly repaid them; her three excellent performances at Orange earning more than $21,000.

“She had a few problems when we got her, and had a very bad rash,” Besters said.

“But we’ve got her right, and she is racing well.

“Hopefully, there is another win just around the corner.”

Zanshin began her career in a leading Newcastle stable, and was runner-up (both times at odds-on) at her first two starts at Coffs Harbour and Port Macquarie.

She broke through in a Muswellbrook Maiden Plate (1000m) on soft ground on July 3 last year, and was put up for auction after being unplaced in two trials at Newcastle and Wyong in May.

Zanshin was narrowly beaten by Off To War in a Class 2 Handicap (1000m) at Orange on September 20, and again just failed to edge out True Valentine in a similar race to yesterday at her previous start at the same track on December 14.

Jeff Penza rode True Valentine that day, but made amends for the Besters camp this time by partnering Zanshin to the second win of her 12-start career.

Besters became Hawkesbury’s 18th successful trainer so far this season, and continued the provincial track’s excellent start to the 2021-22 racing year; Zanshin being the 67th winner in just under the first five months.

. Whilst Team Kearney had to play “second fiddle” to a fellow Hawkesbury trainer yesterday, the husband and wife partnership is back in the big league on the Kensington track on Saturday, seeking to edge closer to their season goal of training more winners than last season.

They will start recent Scone winner Carlisle Bay in the Benchmark 78 Handicap (1550m), with apprentice Tyler Schiller on board.

The couple has already led in seven winners – including four in town with “King of Canterbury Nights” Heza Gentleman (who is spelling) – and need only one more to equal last season’s tally.

Schiller has been aboard Heza Gentleman in his three recent Canterbury Friday night victories, so it was no surprise he has been called on to chase a city breakthrough for bargain buy Carlisle Bay, a $2000 online purchase last year.


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