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Rhys McLeod puts in the miles for double

Jockey Rhys McLeod
Jockey Rhys McLeod had ridden winners at Stony Creek and Sandown within the space of a few hours.

Rhys McLeod says he’s got to put in the hours behind the wheel to keep the winners flowing.

With dual meetings on a Wednesday in Victoria, McLeod took advantage of riding at Stony Creek before getting in the car for a 90-minute trip to the twilight meeting at Sandown.

The exercise paid dividends with McLeod having a 100 per cent strike rate for the afternoon.

He won the opening race at Stony Creek aboard Naivasha before scoring on Hellava Babe in the Clanbrooke Racing Handicap at Sandown.

Naivasha is trained by Nigel Blackiston and raced by Wyadup Valley Farm, the ownership group that provided McLeod with two of his four Group One wins.

Both those feature winners were trained by Pat Carey who prepares Hellava Babe.

The mare, owned in different interests, is bred along similar lines to Ethiopia, an ATC Australian Derby winner for Carey and McLeod.

“It’s great to see her win for the owners who have been extremely patient,” Carey said.

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“They bought the mare (Cherubim) to breed her to Helenus on the back of Ethiopia and Cedarberg that were bred on the same cross.

“They followed a pattern of breeding and away they went, but she’s different to those horses, more a mile type.

“She can take up a position, like she did today and is able to quicken up nicely off the back that.”

The victory was Hellava Babe’s second in 14 starts and first in just over 12 months.

Sent off an $11 chance, Hellava Babe raced away to a 1-3/4 length win from Ardra Storm ($5) with the favourite Filbert Way ($3), three-quarters-of-a-length away third.

Carey said the four-year-old had little niggles that had kept her away from the track during that time.

“To be fair she hasn’t had a lot of racing in that year,” Carey said.

“It was a brilliant ride by Rhys and it’s nice to get over the line for people who have been very patient.”

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