After a January filled with near-misses, Gunnedah horse trainer Gavin Groth has claimed his first win of the year after Bring The Joy took out the Tooraweenah Gold Cup at Gilgandra on Saturday
She has been knocking on the door ever since she was spelled for 26 weeks in June last year. On her third race back, she was beaten by a nose at Quirindi on Boxing Day and has shown promising signs ever since.
Three starts later and she delivered, beating her closest rival, Stone, by less than a length to win the $7605 for first place and earning her seventh career win.
Speaking to the Gunnedah Times, Groth explained his excitement when watching Bring The Joy cross the finish line ahead of the field.
“It was a magnificent run, she was back and wide the whole way but still came back to win on a tough track at Gilgandra,” Groth said.
“She covered probably 50 metres more than the rest of the field, so it was a really tough win.
“The jockey rode it so perfectly because it was coming back from 2000 metres to the mile.”
With the change in distance, Groth was careful about the lead-up preparation for Bring The Joy ahead of the Cup, giving the seven-year-old mare a three-week break.
“We had to keep the freshness in her legs,” Groth said.
Despite winning at the mile in Gilgandra, Groth believes the mare will make a return to the 2000-metre distance in the future. But for the time being, Bring The Joy will continue running over the mile.
Stablemate Moonlight Princess wasn’t to be completely outdone, placing second in the 1100-metre maiden.
It was the three-year-old filly’s fifth career start and a major improvement on her past performances.
While second place is always a bonus, it has raised some uncertainty at Groth’s stable as they continue to understand the filly’s preferences.
“It’s taking some time to work her out,” he said.
“We’re unsure whether she wants to be a stayer or a sprinter, she is probably more suited to the staying side of things but we’ve come to the agreement that she can sprint for the time being.”
Groth has now turned his attention to Tamworth Racecourse with two horses nominated for the meeting on Friday.
Tropic Sands and Charge Extra have been picked to make the short trip along the Oxley Highway.
It will be Tropic Sands’ second appearance under Groth, with a third place finish in Tamworth on January 20.
“It was a really good run and I’m expecting him to run well on Friday,” Groth said.
With only three career starts to his name, Groth will be looking for the four-year-old gelding to continue on his development into the future.