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By Graham Potter | Sunday, March 26, 2023

Isles of Avalon made no mistake second-up for the David Vandyke stable when she shed her Maiden ticket in comfortable style, taking out a Maiden Plate over 1000m at the Sunshine Coast on March 26.

The four-year-old mare had relocated to the Vandyke stable after three runs for trainer Andrew Noblet and the daughter of Toronado trialled twice in February before making her debut for her new stable in a Maiden Handicap over 1000m at the Sunshine Coast on March 3.

First-up after a six month break from race action, Isles of Avalon ($4.80) attempted to make all of the running that day, but never had a moment’s peace in front, initially heading a hectic early chase for the lead, then having a wall of runners snapping at her heels throughout the middle sector of the race with the pressure only increasing in the home straight where she was faced with challenges on all sides.

Isles Of Avalon was ever so game, but one of the swoopers, Everlasting Stars ($41), finished over the top of the Vandyke trained runner in the final strides to push Isles Of Avalon back into second place in an absolute pressurised finish which saw only a little over a length cover the first six horses across the line.

Three weeks later ... in the March 26 contest ... it would be a different story.

Once again, Jim Byrne was quick to hussle Isles Of Avalon ($2.50) into an immediate lead, but she was almost immediately taken on by her market rival, the $3.70 chance Bemote and these two runners held sway at the head of affairs until the field straightened for home.

A touch on the accelerator by Byrne soon left Bemote struggling to keep up and it was Isles of Avalon’s race to win as she moved two lengths clear with 200m left to run and she quickly put the result to bed by extending her advantage even further over the closing stages to pass the post with a 3.50 length winning margin.

It was an emphatic victory, built on the same positives she had shown in her previous start ... good gate speed and the willingness to compete when challenged ... but it also came with a pleasing level of improvement which suggests this first career win will not be her last.

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Photos: Graham Potter
Photos: Graham Potter
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