Seven year-old mare Pretty Possum gave connections plenty of reason to celebrate at Moonee Valley on Friday night.
Co-owners Dr Caroline Duddy and her husband, Russell Osborne – also the mare’s trainer – were absolutely thrilled with the win in the Inglis 55 Second Challenge over 955 metres.
A homebred by their stallion Hillman, out of the Lion’s Cavern mare, Lion’s Kiss, Pretty Possum has been an ever consistent mare over sixty career starts. Friday’s victory was her 11th for total earnings of more than $292,000.
Using her speed she travelled two lengths clear mid race, and when challenged on the straight she really dug deep and held on for a close, tough win.
“She’s been a very good mare for us. She’s hardly ever run a bad race and nearly always picks up a cheque,” breeder, trainer and owner Osborne said.
“She jumps away so fast, sometimes she has left the jockey behind but Brooke (Sweeney) rides her and knows what to expect.
“I’ve been trialing her, I’ve been doing everything really with her, and Russell had her spot on. When I jumped her out on Monday morning she showed me that much speed I just said let’s go”. And go she did!” Sweeney said post-race.
Caroline and Russell bought Pretty Possum’s dam, Lion’s Kiss, at a mixed sale for only $1500 as a tried horse.
Although Osborne didn’t know the dam’s breeders at the time of purchase, Sandra Lawrence and Ross Wilkinson were long term clients and good friends.
Caroline said Sandra unfortunately passed away a couple of years ago due to Motor Neuron Disease.
Following the purchase, Osborne trained and raced Lion’s Kiss to a win in the country before breeding with her at their Benalla based Riverbank Farm.
Pretty Possum has a full sister called Brilliant Beaver and a half brother by their stallion Redente called Squeaky Squirrel.
Caroline and Russell run a busy operation at Riverbank. As well as the stallion, broodmare and training duties, Caroline works a vet to many equine operations in the north-east region. She was also recently elected to the TBV Committee!
“I do the training side myself with my daughters Sarah and Olivia and Caroline does a lot of the stud work,” Osborne said.
The hard work by the family has certainly paid off in recent times.
Riverbank Farm based stallion had just the 19 mares visiting him in 2013. This year, he broke the magical century barrier and covered 103 mares. Similarly, Von Costa De Hero almost doubled his book this year going from 16 mares covered in 2015 to 30 last season.
Redente’s siring success could be seen last week with five-year-old Redente’s Edge saluting the judge on both days of the Kangaroo Island Racing Carnival.
Trained by Dennis O’Leary and ridden by Victor Wong, Redente’s Edge won on Thursday, before backing up again to win on the Saturday.