Debbie Kennedy received a special thrill when preparing Desert Magic for an emotional win in her late twin brother Steven Anderton’s memorial race at Wingatui on Saturday.
Shortly after Desert Magic crossed the line, Kennedy embraced her sister-in-law — the late Steven Anderton’s wife, Claire Anderton — among emotional scenes.
Kennedy had ridden Desert Magic in all his work leading into Saturday’s race after the horse joined husband Terry’s stable last month.
The same skill that made her an accomplished jockey had Desert Magic primed to win the 1200m event.
“It was very emotional,” Kennedy said.
“We have been trying to win it since it started and it was great to finally win it.”
The Kennedy stable looked to have a big chance of getting their much sought-after win in this year’s running of the Steven Anderton Memorial when lining two strong chances in Desert Magic and Kerany.
Kerany charged out of the pack to run third to her stablemate.
“We had two nice chances in it.
‘‘I actually thought Kerany, who ran third, could win,” Kennedy said.
“But when Desert Magic won it was a nice surprise.
‘‘We hadn’t had the horse long, so we didn’t really know much about him except that he could run like anything.”
The Steven Anderton Memorial was first run in 2016 and the winner, Gallant Ruby, was produced by the late trainer’s uncle, Brian, and cousin Shane with another of his relations, Jacob Lowry, in the saddle.
In 2017, the Kennedy stable was the narrowest of runners-up when Macy went down by just a half-head to Passito.
The Kennedys produced another second placing in the White Robe Lodge feature, now run under weight-for-age conditions, when Ray’s In Command was runner-up to Belle Fascino on Saturday.
The second came in just the 5yr-old’s 15th career start and continued his excellent progression this season
Ray’s In Command is likely to start at Wingatui again next month before feature races in the North Island will be considered for him.