A sight to behold … STOCK UP winning her first start back since an enforced layoff. The now five-year-old mare, who hadn’t raced since May 9 this year, took out the second race of the Illawarra Turf Club’s meeting held at Kembla Grange on Saturday October 26.

 The daughter of Tavistock (NZ) had been given two barrier trials prior to today and had performed well, the second being a very nice trial that saw STOCK UP win her heat comfortably under a nice hold, without too much effort. A definite pointer to a good first-up performance and the punters were of the same opinion, sending her out as the $3.60 favourite after being firm throughout in the betting for the 1400 metre event. Christian Reith rode the mare in her last trial had accepted today’s mount.

 STOCK UP had been allocated the steadier of 58.5kgs and would jump from barrier four in the field of eight runners. With the track rated a Good 4, the running rail was set at six metres out from the 1000 metres to the winning post and three metres out for the remainder. Clear spring skies prevailed although the blustery winds put a bit of a dampener on things, gusting up to 40 kilometres per hour at times earlier in the day.

 The stage was set, over at the 1400 metres start located in the back straight the runners were all locked away and ready to go. STOCK UP “ flew the lids” and was in front briefly that was until three other horses continued to press on from their wider barriers. Christian immediately eased his mount, settling her in fourth position, three wide, about two and a half lengths off the lead horse, Winter In America.

 The pace was solid, for the next couple of hundred metres Christian was looking to get closer to the rail going forward momentarily then easing STOCK UP back as nothing was eventuating. On reaching the 1000 metres marker the jockey had decided … three wide it is.

 Shortly afterwards Christian eased again, as a result the pair found themselves in sixth position, three and a bit lengths off the leader (Winter In America). With 600 metres to go, the pace quickened, STOCK UP was travelling comfortably and steadily began making ground.

 With the home turn ahead of them, moves were afoot from the bunch of horses in front, these moves causing Christian to steer a five-wide-course on his mare. STOCK UP was still improving into the race around the bend, negotiating it perfectly … “as smooth as silk”.

 Nearing 300 metres from home, STOCK UP was on level terms with Winter In America sticking to the fence and Monsieur Macron (also bred in New Zealand) to her inside were getting down to the business end of things, especially the latter.

 Inside the 200 metres now, it was down to Monsieur Macron and STOCK UP to fight out the finish and fight they did. STOCK UP was in front with 150 metres left, the other horse had the audacity to head her at the 50 metres. Two strides before the line STOCK UP … one stride later Monsieur Macron. It was only right on the post that STOCK UP got her head down at the right time … the margin a short half head.

 What a mighty effort, after her setback the mare had pulled out all stops to gain another victory. All concerned are to be congratulated, the Owners, Scott and his team, Christian for a truly professional, heady ride and of course we mustn’t forget STOCK UP.

 With Spring in the air it might just be the time for STOCK UP to stock up on her wins ... Fortune Favours The Brave.