GUNNEDAH trainer Gavin Groth secured a win for the ages when his galloper Annie’s Street scored a battling win in the Mannion Drilling Gunnedah Gold Cup at the home track Riverside racecourse on Sunday.
It has always been an ambition of the local trainer to bring home the Cup – and it was achieved, courtesy of a 10/10 ride by emerging apprentice rider Jackson Searle, who extracted the last ounce of effort from Annie’s Street to win narrowly.
The $19,700 prize in the $40,000 race took the seven-year-old mare’s earnings to more than $116,000. Victory was sweet for Groth, who trains Annie’s Street for his wife Fiona and their daughter Rhiannon (Mudgee). Groth had set Annie’s Street for the Cup months ago and everything aligned perfectly on the day.
“I’ve been training at Riverside for nearly 20 years and it’s the ambition of every trainer to win their home-town Cup. I’ve had placings in the Cup before but couldn’t quite nail the win.
“When it finally arrived, there was some relief but great excitement, too.”
Groth described Annie’s Street as “solid and consistent” and the mare’s win was no real surprise to him.
“We had mapped it out and it all fell into place,” he said.
“Even though she hadn’t won at 1600 metres, I was confident she would run the distance right out.
“This was only her third start this preparation and she went into the race on fresh legs.”
Groth was full of praise for young jockey Searle, who had the mare in the box seat on the fence all the way.
“When I legged Jackson up onto the horse, he said he was going to make use of our good barrier draw (rails). Most of the winners earlier in the day had come down the middle of the track but Jackson had been close to the rail in an earlier race and said there was nothing wrong (with the inside).
“I like riders who are confident in their own judgment, particularly someone who is so young.”
Annie’s Street jumped well and was rated superbly by Searle, who went to the front before the home straight.
The mare was full of running down the searching Riverside straight but was challenged by several runners, including the $6.50 favourite, Two Big Fari, which ran to the leader in the last 100 metres. But under vigorous riding, Annie’s Street came back strongly to win narrowly.
Annie’s Street opened in the betting at $13 but firmed to $11 in an open betting race. Two Big Fari, a two-time city winner prepared by Todd Howlett at Newcastle and ridden by Madeline Owen, was second and Alastor (Georgina Mc Donnell) was third. The winning time was 2 minutes 38.34 seconds, on a track rated as a soft 7 after Saturday afternoon’s storm.