Mongol Derby bronze medallist Kirsten Melis, who tied for third place in the 2013 edition of the world’s longest and toughest horse race, became a winning thoroughbred racing trainer when Oceanzara shed her maiden tag at Northam.

Lara Prior-Palmer, who won the 2013 Mongol Derby in which race officials relegated first-past-the-post rider Devan Horn to second place and Melis crossed the finish line alongside Claire Twemlow, described the 1,000-kilometre event featuring wild horses, raging winds and energy-sapping heat in the land of Genghis Khan as “the Tour de France crossed with Snakes and Ladders” during her victory party.

Contested annually since 2009 with the exception of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Mongol Derby’s alumni include many Western Australia-based equestrians, including 2014 champion Samantha Jones, Amelia Park Farm boss Sarah Brown and Byrne Equine horseman Jesse Byrne. The most famous name on the Mongol Derby honour roll is Group One-winning trainer Annabel Neasham, who shared the 2018 spoils with Adrian Corboy and, like Netherlands-born Melis, obtained her thoroughbred racing training licence this season.

Oceanzara’s Wheatbelt Winterama Maiden success under Holly Watson was the first leg of a race-to-race Northam double for gallopers carrying Glenn McTaggart’s black, yellow and white colours. Titian Queen won the second event for the combination of Sharon Miller and Kyra Yuill.

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