IT has been more than a decade since Nathan Townsend first sat in the gig, but on Saturday night at the Bathurst Paceway he still managed a career highlight.
(min cost $8)
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The Alectown driver steered Our Antonio Rose to victory in the Listed Gold Bracelet Consolation (2,260 metres).
Owned by Sue Townsend and bred and trained by Stan Townsend, it was a special moment for the family.
Having placed fifth in her heat of the series for the three-year-old fillies, Our Antonio Rose missed out on the $100,000, Group 1 Final.
But the consolation held Listed status and a $12,500 purse for the winner, so Townsend had his fingers cross the Sportswriter x The Coldstream filly could return to her best.
That she did to make it five wins from eight starts this season.
"This is one of our biggest races that we've ever won, so we're very happy," Townsend said.
"I was little bit disappointed with how she over-raced in her heat, but I knew if we could get her to settle there tonight we'd give them grief.
"She settled really good, even the false start didn't stir her up too much and she just found the line really nice.
"I though if she could settle she'd be able to put a few nice quarters in at the end there.
"I had to tap her up a little bit tonight to just keep her mind on the job. I thought there'd be a bit more pressure through the race, but it was quite good."
Going from barrier three, Townsend's filly had the gate speed to cross the runners on her inside and take the lead.
The $4 favourite led by four metres on the bell and that's as close as her rivals got.
Townsend twice looked over his shoulder as Our Antonio Rose blazed down the home straight and saw his advantage increase, getting home in a 28.5 seconds sectional to win by 7m over Im Delightful ($23) in a 1:58.6 mile rate.
Third went to Happy Cruising ($5.50).
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