The Long Run steps up in Forbes Australia Day Race

Stepping up to open company for the first time, the five year old mare The Long Run produced a dashing front-running display to win the feature event before a very good crowd at Forbes on Saturday.

During the current campaign The Long Run has won 5 of the last 7 starts and has led most of the way on each occasion to win at Mudgee, Warren, Bathurst, Dubbo and Forbes.

Apprentice jockey Ashleigh Stanley has been the rider of The Long Run and keeping it in the family, her father Peter W.Stanley is the trainer at Bathurst and her mother Melissa Eassie is a part owner.

Quickly away from the outside barrier, The Long Run ($5.50) set the pace and held on to win the 1400 metres Australia Day Handicap at Forbes by a head from the strong finishing Dennis Bush trained Molasses (Greg Ryan, $3.70) with the $3 favourite Highly Desired (Ashley Morgan) in third place.

Champion jockey Greg Ryan made up for his narrow defeat on Molasses by winning the following race by a half head on the Rodney Robb, Nyngan trained Mango Liston ($5.50) which fought off the challenge by the $2.20 favourite Larynx (Ashley Morgan) in the 1400 metres Australia Thanks All Heroic Firefighters Class 2 Handicap.

Damon Budler who at 36 is possibly the oldest apprentice jockey in Australia rode a winning double, The Inflamer ($2.40 fav.) and Jewel Of The Clan ($3.20 fav.), both being trained at Canberra by Nick Olive.

Reared in Durban, South Africa, Damon Budler rode trackwork in Canberra for six years before starting an apprenticeship with trainer Rob Potter and has recorded 21 winners since his first race ride at Wellington last year.

Six year old brown mare Bansuri took 33 starts to record the first win and in a big turnaround has won three of the last five starts, at Narromine, Dubbo and Forbes for Narromine trainer Kylie Kennedy. Coming from well back in the big field, Bansuri ($8) ridden by Mathew Cahill, in a close finish, won the Forbes Can Assist Benchmark 58 Handicap (1600 metres) from Reward Seeker (Kath Bell-Pitomac, $13) and Smart Attire (Ken Dunbar, $41).

Another galloper from Narromine to take time in recording an initial win has been the Terry Fulwood trained Ticket To El Aye which at start 21 and following several recent placings won the opening event at Forbes, the Parkes Jockey Club Supporters Maiden Handicap over 1600 metres.

Leading for home, Ticket To El Aye (Angela Cooper, $6.50) held on to defeat Buddabadah (Mathew Cahill, $3.20 fav.) and Castlehyde (Greg Ryan, $6.50).Other winners were She's Smart (Kayla Nisbet, $4.40) from the Gosford stables of Luke Hilton and the Rodger Waters, Wagga Wagga trained Sizzleonthebridge (Qin Yong, $5).

The neighbouring town of Parkes lost their January meeting due to drought affecting the track however the Parkes Jockey Club gave good support for the replacement Forbes meeting with several busloads of racegoers attending from Parkes.

Sponsors of the very successful Forbes meeting were Forbes Livestock And Agency, Walkers Ag N Vet, Shane Davie Concreting and Parkes Jockey Club Supporters.

Racing at Bathurst on Friday, Geurie Picnics on Saturday and Dubbo on Monday.