Markievicz lands emotional Highway victory for Barry Ratcliff

Barry Ratcliff was stoked after Markievics’ victory at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday. Photo: Bradley Photos.

Some interviews just hit home harder than others and that was the case when Barry Ratcliff was thrown in front of the Sky Racing cameras after the first race at Rosehill on Saturday.

The Kempsey trainer – visibly emotional by the occasion – had just watched on as his mare Markievicz won the 1500m Class Three TAB Highway Handicap.

“I’m out of breath,” Ratcliff laughed. 

In a high-speed race, Markievicz was clearly last out of the gates and jockey Kerrin McEvoy was forced to sit second last, before peeling widest and storming home to win by 0.68 of a length from Golden Gorge in second and Royal Exit in third. 

“I’m very, very happy,” Ratcliff said. 

“It’s what you call TLC; especially when you’ve got good staff.

“It’s very good to buy a horse and get some good mates in it and bring it down to Sydney and win another Highway; it’s really, really good.”

It has been a meteoric rise for the four-year-old Starspangledbanner mare that was still a maiden late last year after 11 starts.

Since breaking through at start 12 in a 1415m Maiden Handicap at Coffs Harbour on December 30, Markievicz has win three on the trot, winning nicely in a 1609m Class One Handicap at Taree before her Rosehill victory on Saturday.

“I gave her a good spell and since she has come back, she has done everything right,” Ratcliff said. 

Ratcliff and connections are now dreaming of bigger races for their mare, with the Mid North Coast Country Championship qualifier at Taree on February 20 their next stop. 

“We’ll be the toast of Kempsey,” Ratcliff laughed. 

“I was just talking to the owners there before and we are going to shorten her up a bit and go up to the Country Championships.”

When asked if Markievicz was good enough for the Country Championships and a potential crack at the $500,000 final at Royal Randwick on April 2, Ratcliff was quick enough with his response. 

“My word; she is good, she can do anything,” he responded.