Gunnedah trainer Gavin Groth spent years cursing a crippling drought but after now weathering months of prolonged flooding, he’s not sure what was worse.

“I thought I would never say it [good to see dry days] and I’m not going to say it because of the years of drought but after eight floods out here in the last three months, I did say to someone ‘I don’t know what’s worse’,” Groth said.

With a return to more typical weather conditions, the racing preparation has been good and Groth is eager to make use of the home track advantage this weekend.

“The last two weeks have been good,” he said. “It’s a lot easier running your horses straight out of the boxes onto the track, they race a lot more genuine.”
Groth has four nominations primed for Gunnedah’s Christmas Ham Race Meet on Saturday – Danspur in the Christmas Cup, Gunfighter in the 1300m maiden as well as Elite Choice and Charge Extra in the 1000m maiden.

Danspur, a reliable galloper for Groth, finished sixth from 10 last start at Quirindi.

Groth said things didn’t go his way on that occasion when he slipped and lost ground before coming home stronger. But the trainer was impressed by the effort and the 1600m distance.

“Danspur is consistent, he really tries,” he said.

“I put him over a mile and he’s come on good, I’m really pleased.

“On his home track he’s a lot better horse and handles all surfaces.”

Meanwhile, Groth’s next best chance Gunfighter is within grasp of his first win after three tight second placings from his last five starts.

“He has been knocking on the door of late but he’s his own worst enemy,” Groth said.

“He gets too far out of the ground and has to make up too much leeway.

“He has been beaten by a head, nose and neck.”

The trainer expects the hometown Riverside venue will suit him well despite a little more distance than he would usually race.

Groth’s final two nominations are also in the mix and hunting their first wins.

“Charge Extra is going really well first up and Elite Choice is having his first start for me – he’s a bit of an unknown but I’m pleased where he’s at and it will be a starting point for him,” he said. 

To order photos from this page click here