Burnham trainer Margo Nyhan, along with her partner Peter Davis, produced a truly remarkable training feat on Friday when stablestar Fly The Flag won the Kawatiri Cup at Westport after a racing absence of 19 months.
The win was shades of Alateros who Nyhan trained to win on both days of the Westport meeting in December after more than two and a half years away from the racetrack.
“Pete (Davis) and I were talking about that on the way up and we were actually quite confident we could do it again,” revealed Nyhan. “The only thing that worried us was that Alateros returned in a C1 race while Fly The Flag had to come back in the feature race on the card,” she added.
“But this girl is just so tough and her will to win is phenomenal,” praised Nyhan.
“As an early two-year-old Fly The Flag was close to the worst horse on the property but she has just continued to improve,” she added.
Friday was the first time Fly The Flag has raced since finishing third in the Kurow Cup on the 5th of August, 2012.
“She kicked a post after Kurow which gave us a lot of trouble and since then she has gone in the tendon and suspensory in the same leg,” said Nyhan. “So it has been a long road back but it seems worthwhile now.”
Peter Davis, who steered the six-year-old Falcon Seelster mare to an all of the way win on Friday, was quick to throw all the praise to Nyhan.
“I would have probably given up on her if it wasn’t for Margo. All the credit must go to her,” said Davis loudly as he saw Nyhan walk around the corner.
The win was yet another success for Nyhan’s electrical tendon treatment which has produced numerous miracles in recent times.
Davis said that he enjoyed an easy early lead on Fly The Flag but after receiving plenty of pressure over the last lap he thought her lack of race fitness might tell over the concluding stages.
“She has had a big preparation and did plenty of miles leading up to race,” confirmed Nyhan. “Once we get our horses up we like to race them a fair bit so we give them plenty of ground work, especially the ones with leg issues,” she added.
Fly The Flag, who has now won 10 races and over $100,000 in stakes, will now set her sights on today’s Grey Valley Cup at Reefton, where by rights, she could perform ever better.
By Mitchell Robertson