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Bendigo trainer celebrates maiden win at Echuca

Bendigo trainer Debbie Wills was elated on Monday when she scored her maiden career win at Echuca with seven-year-old gelding Favela Star.

LUKE MCMANUS July 24, 2014 3:04am

Debbie Wills and partner Rodney Sim celebrate Favela Star’s race seven win at Echuca on Monday.


Echuca Racing Club will always be close to Debbie Wills’ heart.

The Bendigo trainer was the most animated punter on the concourse after veteran gelding Favela Star not only claimed race seven on Monday’s card but gifted Wills her maiden career win.

Wills almost beat the field home on foot while cheering for the seven-year-old from the other side of the rails, jumping for joy after the prized horse claimed the 1100m handicap by half a length ahead of A Toda Ley and Star of Jewels.

Shock, excitement and a celebratory hug with partner and part-owner Rodney Sim followed before Wills was reunited with the winning horse.

‘‘My fourth starter and first winner,’’ Wills said.

‘‘He had improved a lot since we bought him down from Queensland.

‘‘We built him up, changed his routine, put him through six weeks of trotting before we moved him across to the racetrack.

‘‘We’ve worked him together and that’s the outcome.’’

The triumph was well overdue, with Favela Star’s previous win stretching back to June, 2011.

The horse, which has now won five races from 37 starts, showed plenty of promise early on and only needed to recapture some of that combative spirit seen three years ago.

‘‘He lost his form big time for a while there,’’ Wills said.

‘‘He’s always been sound, it was just about getting his head right and get him enjoying racing again.’’

Wills, who occupies a top stable at Bendigo Racing Club, said she was lucky when experienced jockey and family friend Brad Rawiller took to the saddle.

Rawiller and Favela Star handled the heavy eight track beautifully to be one of the frontrunners for the entire race, taking the lead at the top of the straight before the strong finish.

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