A GROUP of Gladstone Turf Club racing stalwarts shared in the spoils at the club's first race meeting for 2014 before a smaller than average crowd at Ferguson Park on Saturday.
Accordingly, the first of those winners, the Lee Kiernan trained Northern Shift left his mark indelibly by winning the $8500 BM 60 Handicap (850m) in record-breaking style.
Despite hesitating slightly at the start Northern Shift ($2.50), ridden by the outback travelling Cunnamulla based apprentice jockey Gemma Steele, quickly found the lead and was never headed.
Northern Shift's chances were greatly enhanced by Steele's invaluable 2kg allowance bringing him into the race with just 53kg.
To run 50.18 seconds and break the long-standing course record of Regal Mountain was icing on the cake for his connections.
Northern Shift is raced by GTC committee members including president David Weinert.
"A course record win - nothing wrong with that," Weinert said.
Popular Gladstone racing identities, Anne Horner and Dusty Lindemann also celebrated the arrival of 2014 with a long awaited win for their "problem child" Duan Theo.
Ridden by jockey Shane McGovern and trained on course by his wife Kim, Duan Theo ($4.00) shed his maiden status by winning in that class at his 28th race start on Saturday.
"He has been a sick horse over the past few years with a condition called anhidrosis which means that he could not sweat," Anne Horner said.
Another husband and wife jockey-trainer team had earlier provided the owners of reluctant float traveller Clair Du Monde ($3.20) with a win to celebrate.
Ridden by John and trained by Angela Stephens, Clair Du Monde won the Class B (1000m).
Ownership group spokesman Glenn Whitton said the four-year-old chestnut mare had been recommended to them by the trainers as an unraced youngster, that would take some time before racing.
The next meeting is scheduled for February 15.
Race 1: 1st- Northern Shift, 2nd- Craiglea Masta, 3rd- Keway, 4th- Alert Miss
Race 2: 1st- Clair Du Monde, 2nd- Marty, 3rd- Vatican's Star, 4th- Pretty Pollyanna
Race 3: 1st- Duan Theo, 2nd- The Alamo, 3rd- I'm Desperate Too, 4th- Bella Bejing
Race 4: 1st- El Supremo, 2nd- Tellkane, 3rd- Liberty Tycoon, 4th- Coco Loco
Race 5: 1st- Edgeroi Hope, 2nd- Lady Oaks, 3rd- No Risque, 4th- Sansira