Successful owners John and Helen McPhee celebrated their first winner with trainer Vincent Malady when Magic Bertie held off a wall of horses to score at Ballarat on Monday.

The four-year-old is known for his strong front-running racing style and it has been a process to try and get him to settle.

However, jockey Brad Rawiller had familiarised himself after two recent rides on the gelding and was able to get him home in the Polytrack Maiden Plate (1100m).

“The last couple of times I have ridden him I have tried to curb his jump and run attitude and I think that helped him today,” Brad said.

“He was probably a bit more constrained and able to slide (away) on straightening making it hard for them to run him down.

“They were coming at him, but he was tough late and hung on.”

Vincent said it was a thrill to finally get a win for the McPhee’s who also have in the stable Toompine, who placed at his only start at Kilmore, and Morning Darling, who has posted a third and two fourths from three runs for him.

“John and Helen have had runners all around the money with us, so it was great to finally jag a win,” Vincent said.

Until he retired Brian Cox trained for the McPhees several notable gallopers including dual Swan Hill Cup winner Minnie Downs, dual Albury Cup winner Ekalaka, dual stakes winner St Chrisoph who was Gr1 placed in the Australia Stakes, and Lord Stakes winner Mooball.

John and Helen bred Magic Bertie who was rewarded for his consistency after a second and three thirds in his first eight starts for the stable.

“He’s a hard going horse and I think dropping back from 1200m helped him today,” Vincent said.

After being tardy out of the barriers, Magic Bertie pushed up the rail to share the lead at the 600m and took over on the home turn.

In a telling move, he shot 1-1/2 lengths clear at the 300m and held on in blanket finish to beat Beam Reach, Italian Viking and Rock The Joint – a half-length covering the first four horses over the line.

“I don’t know if he is going to get much further, but he can win more races if he learns to settle better,” Vincent said.

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