If there was any one person at Tumut Turf Club on Saturday who deserved a winner, it was Tumbarumba trainer Mont Waters.
Waters, who suffered through the worst of the Dunns Road bushfire, losing kilometres of fencing and property, had to evacuate his horses to his brother, Rodger Water’s stables near Wagga Wagga.
“We got the heads up that the fire was coming and I evacuated them on the 30th of December and we notified the stewards and they said to not worry about the stable return and just worry about the horses,” he said.
Waters admitted it had been tough not having the horses around, especially with Bay Lane taking some time to settle in with his brother.
“I’ve still got a mountain of work to do here on the property and still don’t have the time for the horses but you certainly still miss it when you love it,” he said.
“Bay Lane also didn’t like the move, it took him a little while to get settled; he was a little homesick.”
Waters finally had a reason to smile on Saturday though; with Bay Lane careering away for a comfortable 1.65 lengths win over Billo Road and Bravado Lass in the A&S Groves 1600m Benchmark 50 Handicap.
Ridden by Bryan Murphy, the six-year-old Zariz gelding sat midfield before showing a good turn off foot to find the lead and run away with the win.
“It was certainly a good feeling for us, it was good to get away from it all and having him (Bay Lane) win made it just that little bit better,” he said.
Waters did laugh that he might struggle to get his horses of his brother if they kept performing.
“The way they are going, I might not get them back,” he laughed.
“For the time being, we don’t have a set date on getting them back and we will just see how things pan out.”
Bay Lane has proven to be somewhat of a Tumut specialist in recent times, winning three races from five starts on the tight-turning course.
The Tumut racing season is now over though and Bay Lane will be prepared for races at Carathool and Towong.
“Our family has some history with the Towong Cup, so it is certainly on the radar and we will probably head to Carathool too,” he said.
In the mean time, Waters will be busy working on his property, dealing with the aftermath of the fires.
“I have about 20kms of fencing to do, I’ve actually have Blaze Aid out here, which has been really good but after it all settles, I will probably need to get some contractors out,” he said.
“For the moment though, there is plenty to do.”