TAMWORTH trainer David Howarth will be making the trip south to Dubbo again next week after his bitch Lil's Me Nan kept her unbeaten record intact with a win in the first heat of the Dubbo RSL Resort Series (400m) at Dawson Park yesterday.
With the sport embroiled in controversy as some trainers effectively went on strike, only a small crowd was on hand to watch the six-race meeting but it mattered little to Howarth, who collected the $540 first prize after Lil's Me Nan ($8.60) avoided early trouble to win by three-quarters-of-a-length.
The Big Daddy Cool x Millie Stanley bitch was slow to begin from box seven but it proved a blessing as several of her rivals collided in the early stages, opening up a path for Lil's Me Nan to scoot through and take up the lead.
It was a lead she would never relinquish, despite the best efforts of Lil Miss Mohawk ($3.00) which ran on well to finish second, with Wreck's Reward ($22.20) a further three lengths away in third place.
Pedro Zarr ($2.50 fav), which caught the backwash of the interference, ran on OK to finish fourth.
The win booked a spot for Lil's Me Nan in next Wednesday's final of the series and Howarth said he would appreciate another outside draw.
"She can miss the start a bit so it probably suits her best to be drawn out wide," he said.
"Today we were a bit lucky that she was able to avoid the interference but that was her first look from the 400m box here so she might be able to improve into next week.
"I had been trialling her over the 500m here so I wasn't overly confident but she did a good job and she will keep getting better as she does more racing."
The other heat of the Dubbo RSL Resort Series was won by Scrapi Dappi Moo, which started a well-supported $2.40 favourite and made it two wins in the space of a week for Dubbo trainer Greg Ford.
Meanwhile, the final of the Sportingbet Series over the 318m was won by the Amanda Ginn-trained Hoobilation, which started a $1.20 favourite in a field of five on the NSW tote.