First-up win highlights class facilities

If trainer Danny O'Brien ever needed an advertisement to underline his outstanding facilities at Flemington and 13th Beach, Winkelmann's first-up win over a mile on Friday night would be the perfect result to highlight.

After eight months off the scene, the Trelawney Stud owned-and-bred mare returned at The Valley on Friday night and was too strong for her rivals over 1600m.

Jockey Craig Williams made use of her good barrier and pushed the mare up to settle behind the leader. As the leader moved off the rail rounding the home turn, Williams allowed Winkelmann to sneak up the rail and urged her to the front in the home straight before holding off all challenges to secure victory.

"Danny and his whole team have done a tremendous job to present her this evening in such amazing condition and ready to fire first-up, it really is an excellent training performance," Williams said.

O'Brien highlighted that the five-year-old had split her time between the stable's city base and his private facility, with access to 13th Beach, in the build up to her return.

"Our facilities allow us to find the right mix for every horse, and this mare has thrived this preparation. We really are lucky to have such wonderful staff and facilities," O'Brien said.

The win was the Rip Van Winkle mare's fourth from 19th start and took her stake earnings to $140,410.

O'Brien expects that the mare will push out to 2000m this preparation which could add a string to her bow as she is yet to race past 1800m.

"She is a more seasoned product this time in, so hopefully she gain confidence from the win and go on with it," O'Brien said.

The win also kept O'Brien's metropolitan strike-rate for the season above 20%, which is far superior when compared to the other trainer's in the Top 10 of the Premiership.

Pic By Racing Photos