Somewhere high above Graeme Spackman was watching over Nowra races on Tuesday.
The Goulburn trainer sadly passed away aged 73 on Tuesday morning after a short battle with cancer, but his legacy lived on in a galloper he formerly conditioned.
Hangover Monday scored an emotional victory for new trainer Tash Burleigh in the Shoalhaven City Council Benchmark 57 Handicap (1200m).
Burleigh was transferred most of Spackman’s horses in early November and was also an apprentice to the late trainer during her riding career. She was overcome with emotion after the triumph.
Experienced hoop Adrian Layt rode Hangover Monday to win and paid tribute to Spackman post-race.
"He was a true gentleman Graeme. He would give anyone a hand. A great horseman," Layt said.
"He's a big loss to the industry.
“I was just glad to win in his colours, on his horse."
Jockeys wore black armbands in the race as a mark of respect for the trainer.
Wearing Spackman’s old colours, Layt gave Hangover Monday ever chance of saluting.
He had Hangover Monday in the one-out, one-back position and produced the six-year-old at the top of the straight off the heels of Luke and Robert Price trained favourite Dylan’s Dynasty.
Hangover Monday ($12) went straight past the $1.90 TAB fixed odds hope, with the Price’s other runner Dashie de Luxe ($7.50) her only danger.
The mare held tough to score an gutsy victory at the post.
“It’s pretty emotional. As far as the race went, everything fell into place for her,” Layt said.
“I had a love run in transit and she was just too good to the line.”
The win completed an early double for late, who combined in the opening event on the card with Kembla trainer Kerry Parker.
Layt rode Parker’s stayer Tuscan Reign to win the McDonalds Shoalhaven Benchmark 55 Handicap (2200m).
A decision from Layt to loop the field and take up the running around the back straight proved to be a winning one as Tuscan Reign controlled the race before kicking away for a 2-¾ triumph.
Parker gave credit to Layt’s decision-making as a crucial factor in the win.
“Adrian did a super job on him because he is not an easy horse to ride,” Parker said.
“He wants to hang and over race.
“As soon as they wanted to stack up, Adrian got him in his own rhythm and let him settle in front.
“From there I thought, he should win from here, which he did.”