The scratching of Queen Isla from the opening race at Gilgandra was not the way Brett Thompson had hoped to start 2019.
But the Gulgong trainer quickly turned it around with a double in the second, Moon Over Menah (Billy Cray) getting the better of Alotafox (Anthony Cavallo) in the Royal Hotel Maiden Handicap (800m).
The pair started as equal $2.50 favourites, with the barrier draws (one and six) proving the difference.
“Moon Over Menah I thought would win at Warren a couple of starts back, and the filly went up and got second and went better than him,” Thompson said.
“Today I really couldn’t split them but he had the better gate … she’s run a really bold race and got back but the gate cost her the win.”
It was a timely win for the three-year-old Zariz x Lovely Lunacy gelding, with owners Greg and Deborah Gundy almost ready to move on.
“They’ve had a pretty lean trot for a while but finally I’ve got another winner for them,” Thompson said.
“It looks like he’s kept himself going!”