McGarrett lands Sandown debut for Hughes

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January 3, 2018 - 04:09 PM

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Flemington trainer Tom Hughes has landed his first winner for the season with the debut win of McGarrett at Sandown.

A Group One-winning trainer in his prime, Hughes now has only four horses in work.

All four have raced at Sandown in the past five days with McGarrett claiming the Chandler Macleod Plate (1200m) on Wednesday.

Hughes' previous winner came with Miss Magda at Sandown last July.

Miss Magda contested Wednesday's Clanbrooke Handicap, finishing well back while Atlantic Express raced wide before tiring late in the Dream Thoroughbreds Handicap.

He had Miss Vesper run fifth in a 1000m race at Sandown last Saturday.

All four horses are owned by Barree Pastoral, managed by Glenn Whittenbury, who, along with his father, has had a long association with the Hughes family dating back to Tom senior.

The Whittenbury family owned Titanic Jack, Hughes's Group One winner of the Emirates Stakes (1600m) at Flemington in 2003.

Ridden by apprentice Tahlia Hope, McGarrett ($17) scored a half-length win over the $2.15 favourite Confluence who shared second prize with Lovewithouttragedy ($21).

Hughes went to Sandown with no lofty expectations but was delighted to walk away a winner with McGarrett.

"The horse has had a faultless preparation but we've taken our time with him as he's very immature," Hughes said.

"His two trials this time around have been very nice and I thought a couple of the more experienced ones might have been a bit good for him today.

"But he came here today and acted like a racehorse and got the job done.

"It's good to get the maiden out of the way first go, especially in town."