In-form duo Rod Northam and Chelsea Hillier combined for another winning double at Tamworth on Thursday.
It was an impressive result, with the stable unleashing a star of the future in one race while taking out the Country Music Cup in the other.
Racing in the $50,000 Super Maiden Plate (1200m), Hillier rode the impressive News Bound to a five-length win.
Backed in from $3.90 to $2.25 when on debut, Hiller sat just off the pace before the Press Statement filly unleashed a strong finish.
“That filly is very exciting, and we have liked her for a long time,” Hillier told NSW Country and Picnic Racing.
“Everything she has done at home has been good, and obviously, going into their first start, you don’t know how they will handle it, but she went really well.
“To be fair, it wasn’t as strong a Super Maiden as we have seen, but credit where it is due, and she won like a good horse, and I’m sure Rod will take her along steady and go through the grades.”
Later on the card, Hillier teamed up with Northam again, winning on Overextend ($3.60) in the Country Music Cup (1200m).
The five-year-old was stepping up to open company for the first time, and with only 53.5kg on his back, he cruised to the lead and made every post a winner for Hillier.
“The old horse is a tricky one, and he only turns up when he wants, but when he is on song and gets things his own way, he’s hard to beat,” Hillier said.
“He’s not a very easy horse at home; he’s got his own mind.
“The track work rider who rides him every day does an excellent job on him; not many people like riding him because he’s a real thinker, and everything has to go his way.
“Still, to be fair, Rod had him spot on, and you can’t have him too fresh or too dour, and he’s found that happy medium, which obviously is working.”
Hillier was thrilled to win her second Country Cup this month after helping the Northam stable to a Harrington Cup win on Jacenza at Taree on January 2.
Still, she wasn’t allowed to celebrate with some country music to celebrate the victory.
“I don’t mind some country music, but Rod hates it,” Hillier laughed.
“I was in the float on the way home, so there was no country music played, and I had work at 5 am, so there was no celebrating, but it was still nice to get the win.”
As reported by NSW Country and Picnic Racing earlier this week, Northam’s stable has been in flying form.
Hillier has been benefiting from this good run of results, moving to 62 career wins and 25 victories in the 2023/24 season, which has her fourth on the NSW country apprentice’s jockey premiership.
“I have not been riding that long, but I’ve learned quickly that you have to ride the wave,” Hillier said.
“There are good and bad days, but you need to embrace the good days as they are few and far between.
“For me, I’ve just got to go with it, and I am lucky to be confident in a trainer that will support me.
“I am lucky in that sense, knowing the wheel will turn for me, especially with someone like Rod supporting me.”
The Glen Innes product will be out to keep up the good form close to home on Saturday with a full book of rides at Deepwater.
The 27-year-old rode a treble at the same meeting last year, and tomorrow, she jumps aboard the Kelly Smith-trained Ringside, which will be one of the major players in the 2024 Deepwater Cup.