Robbie Downey notches first win at Flemington
Irish-born Robbie Downey scores first Flemington win on winter race day.
It is a long way between Dundalk and Melbourne and Robbie Downey has ridden winners at racecourses between Ireland, United Kingdom and in Victoria, and can now claim having ridden a winner at Flemington.
The 26-year-old won the RCH Staff Appreciation Plate aboard the Nigel Blackiston-trained Verifier ($5.50).
"He's a beautiful rider," Blackiston said.
"He's really balanced and when he picks a horse up he can really help them to the line."
Downey began his career riding on the all-weather track at Dundalk in Ireland in January 2013 and rode his first winner at the same venue a month later.
After the race, it was a case of an experienced head speaking and not letting the moment overwhelm the moment.
"Last start we had a decent barrier but it ended up being a coffin because they went 'no gallop'," he said."
"Today they went a better gallop and we were able to get the right splits."
Having ridden work for Blackiston at a wintry Ballarat, the rewards are coming with the effort put in.
"You have to put on a few jackets going to Ballarat but it is good to have a good team of horses and I really appreciate him putting me for my first winner at Flemington."
This 2000-metre event was a heat of the Mahogany Challenge for which the three-year-old by Tivaci will be aimed at the series final over 2500 metres on July 1 at Flemington.