PHOTOS

Wellington's Samantha Ashman wins Lesley Ann Leonard Memorial

Wellington's Samantha Ashman scored the biggest victory of her career on Sunday when she took out the Lesley Ann Leonard Memorial (400m) at Dubbo's Dawson Park.

The local greyhound trainer won the memorial race with Winlock Pirate, who is owned by breeders Gus and Kaleb Weekes of Molong.

The win came a week after Winlock Pirate finished first in his heat at the Dubbo track and he now sits with a record of four wins and five placings from 13 career starts.

"I was definitely the underdog in the race....," Ashman said.

Winlock Pirate ($5.30) won the Dubbo race by seven lengths against the favourite Mr. Edward ($2.50).

"Even though he was so far in front I was still yelling for him to go," the Wellington trainer said.

Ashman, who has been training for about eight years, said she has had a few non-TAB race wins and has recently started "stepping up" to the TAB since moving out to Wellington almost three years ago.

She and her husband, Michael are originally from the mid-north coast.

Ashman said it was special for them to win the Lesley Ann Leonard Memorial, adding that she was "extra nervous" before the race.

"I had a couple of friends that were in the race as well and we gave each other big hugs at the end. They were all just happy for me," she said.

It's only been in the past couple of years since moving out to Wellington and racing at TAB meets that Ashman is making a name for herself.

Ashman said she was so appreciative for the Weekes family for giving her the opportunity to train such high-level dogs.

"They're the ones that have given me a chance with these dogs," she explained.

"They've given me the opportunity probably not a lot of owners would have (for) someone unknown to train their dogs and now these dogs are making me look good."

Ashman said she will now be looking to step Winlock Pirate up to 500m.

"And run a few races, I haven't yet got anything in mind. But geez you know my next biggest feat would be if I could win one down at Wentworth Park, that would be a massive thing if he was good enough to get there for me," she explained.

While Ashman said her name might be as the trainer, working with greyhounds is a team effort and her husband, Michael, does every bit of much as her.

Ashman said it was nice to be able to stand together with her husband and the Leonard family.

"He was very passionate about his sister. He got a bit emotional and I thought 'don't start me, I'll get emotional too' because I already had emotions running...," she explained.

The husband and wife put in a lot of work to train the greyhounds with Mrs Ashman adding they are forever on the road with them.

"It really makes it well worth it when you win something like that, because there'es a lot of hard work that goes into it," she explained.