Melda Daniels didn’t think she would become a racehorse trainer.
When that came to fruition after her husband’s death seven years ago, she didn’t think she would have a runner at Ascot, let alone a winner.
But at Ascot on Wednesday, the 77-year-old made her city debut a memorable one.
After making the long eight-and-a-half hour drive from Esperance, Daniels pulled off a stunning victory with her beloved mare Losing Ticket.
“(Chief steward) Brad Lewis said to me ‘what do you want a trainer’s licence for at 70?’,” Daniels said.
“I was never a horsey person and I still don’t class myself as one.
“It doesn’t come naturally to me. It did to my husband Ross, he was a trainer for 30-odd years and he used to catch brumbies in the bush and then sell them.
“Maybe a bit of that has rubbed off on me.”
Losing Ticket was bound for stud before salvaging her racing career with a big win at Mt Barker last month. It was only her third victory from 39 starts.
“I had my car packed. If she didn’t win she was going west to stud instead of east,” Daniels said.
Daniels initially withdrew Losing Ticket from Wednesday’s Amelia Park Handicap and had her sights set on a race at Narrogin on Saturday.
“I thought it was too strong for her, but when I got the text from RWWA saying there were only seven horses in it, I thought ‘I’ve got to get her back into this race’,” Daniels said.
“It all seemed to work out.”
Losing Ticket will return to Mt Barker for her next start and Daniels is also eyeing next year’s Esperance Cup.
“I bought her as a four-year-old for $1000 and she’s just magic,” Daniels said.
“She’s my only horse and we’ve got a close bond.
“When I’m not at home she misses me. I didn’t believe it until one night I got home, rugged her up and she sniffed me all over. I’ve never had a horse do that to me.”