Racha Cuneen has added another string to his racing bow with the Group One-winning jockey posting his maiden success as a trainer.
The Riccarton-based horseman prepared Stop Yelling (NZ) (Proisir) to dead-heat for first in Sunday’s Otago Farm Machinery Maiden (1400m) at Cromwell and, for good measure, was also in the saddle.
“I’ve got four in work and it’s not easy, but I really enjoy it. It gives more insight into the horses and it was a good feeling to get my first winner,” he said.
Cuneen enjoyed a successful first riding stint in New Zealand with Group One wins in the 2016-17 season aboard La Diosa in the New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m) at Riccarton and Signify in the Telegraph (1200m) at Trentham.
He moved to Victoria in early 2018 to freelance out of Cranbourne before returning home earlier this year for what was meant to be a fleeting visit.
“I came back to New Zealand to renew my passport and driver’s licence and had my flights booked to go back,” Cuneen said.
“They then closed the border and went into lockdown so I stayed here. I’m happy doing what I’m doing at the moment.
“Hopefully, I’ll get a few more nice horses to train and continue riding. I enjoy both sides of it.”
Stop Yelling was his fifth race day representative and while he expected a good showing from the son of Proisir, victory came as a pleasant surprise.
“I wouldn’t say I was that confident, but he had been working okay. The judge said it was a dead-heat so it was better than running second,” he said.