TONY Noonan’s start of the festive period started badly, but took a turn for the better today when Return Journey won the Maxie Howell Handicap at Caulfield.
Noonan revealed that Chic Star, a daughter of Starcraft from a Redoute’s Choice, which cost $170,000 at the Magic Millions Premier sale and was slated to make its debut in the Joe Brown Plate, died on Christmas eve.
Return Journey, part-owned by Lou Mihalyka, who also owned Chic Star, eased the pain with a stylish win at just her third start.
“I’m ecstatic for Lou who manages the syndicate. He raced a filly in today, but unfortunately she died on Christmas day - we’ve had a rough couple of days,” Noonan said.
“Lou has been a great stalwart, it’s great to get this filly over the line for him today.”
Noonan said Return Journey, which graduated from a Kyneton Maiden to a city 3YO Fillies race, had the potential to win better races.
Ridden by his son Jake, who earlier won the Christmas Stakes on Undeniably, Return Journey, $31, won by one and three-quarter lengths from Act Two, $13, with a neck to She Can Skate, $17, third.
“She is a filly that I’ve always rated, she is really nice filly that is bred to run a mile (sic 1600 m) or a mile and a quarter (sic 2000 m),” Noonan said.
Pre-race favourite Angels Beach was withdrawn after playing up in the barriers and Luke Nolen hurt his foot.