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Wings soars for back-to-back wins

The profile of six-year-old mare Wings shows a change of trainer preceded her first win for more than two years although Tash Burleigh’s connection goes back further.

“I’ve been with Wings for just over four years now,” Burleigh, a former jockey and stable foreman for the late Graeme Spackman, said.

“She was the first horse I rode for Graeme when I came down for the interview. I took her for a bit of a jump-out.”

Burleigh impressed Goulburn horseman Spackman that day and the feeling was mutual, meaning Wings’ success in Canberra on April 21 was especially poignant.

Spackman, 73, died on January 10 following a short battle with cancer leaving Burleigh to inherit his team.

“It was emotional (at Canberra) because he’d have loved to have seen her in the winners’ stall again,” Burleigh said.

“Graeme and I went on a lot of the trips to the races together with Wings.

“I’ve had a couple of really emotional wins now, bittersweet wins,.”

Wings will be striving to win back-to-back races for the first time in her 38-race career when she runs in a benchmark 67 (1400m) on Wednesday at Warwick Farm with Jess Taylor in the saddle.

“It’s a well suited race for her. The only query would be backing her up a week and a half after Canberra. I think she’ll put in a competitive run,” Burleigh said.

Before winning at Canberra, Wings had racked up 24 starts since her previous victory – a class three on her home track of Goulburn in September 2014.

Burleigh had no definitive answer for Wings’ drought-breaking run, other than the benefit of a 29-week spell.

“We haven’t really changed anything. I don’t really have the secret. She’s just really, really well. The little spell did her good.”

Burleigh stopped riding competitively in 2015 and decided to move to training after learning the craft under Spackman.

“He had this knack of keeping you competitive,” she said.

“I wanted to strive further basically and when he decided to retire I thought I’ll get my licence and we’ll keep the dream going, but we didn’t count on him passing away two months later.”

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