Approaching the home turn in Saturday’s Gr.1 Sydney Cup (3200m), Waverley trainer Bill Thurlow had the feeling something special was about to unfold in front of him.
Thurlow’s stable star Glory Days and rider Corey Brown had just commenced the same sweeping run that carried her to victory in the Gr.1 Auckland Cup (3200m) last month and to Thurlow’s eye she was travelling just as well, if not better, than she was that day.
Unfortunately, the Red Giant mare couldn’t quite reel in the leaders as the effects of a long, hard campaign finally caught up with her in the closing 200m where she had to settle for a meritorious third behind eventual winner Shraaoh.
For Thurlow and the mare’s connections it still felt like a win on a bumper day at Randwick that was overflowing with patrons who had taken the opportunity to farewell the wonder mare Winx just one race earlier.
“What a thrill that was,” Thurlow said.
“I really thought she could do it when I saw her come around them as she was going so well. It was like watching a replay of the Auckland Cup as she did exactly the same thing to win that day.
“I think she just started to feel the effects of this campaign as she has been up since August last year and we did have the niggling feeling all week she might have come to the end of it.
“Corey said she was really travelling but hit the wall at the 200m, however to her credit she kept fighting and to finish third was just a wonderful effort.”
It was the first trip to Randwick for Thurlow and an experience he will cherish.
“The atmosphere was incredible, just amazing and something I’ve never experienced before,” he said.
“The whole place was just packed with people and when Winx was running we could only watch it on television as we couldn’t get near to going outside to see her.
“When we came into the parade ring for our race it was electric as no-one had left. We ended up watching our race on the big screen as we couldn’t even see the track from where we were.
“Earlier in the day we had to ask for help a few times in getting around the place, but it’s an experience I will never forget.”
Glory Days will travel back to New Zealand on Monday where the spelling paddock awaits as Thurlow and her connections start to think about future plans for the mare.
“She deserves a good break so she will be heading straight to the paddock when she gets back,” he said.
“She has pulled up really well and just hoed into her feed on Saturday night which was very pleasing to see.
“We can take a little bit of time now to decide where we want to go but she seems to be at her best in the spring so that is likely to be where we focus.
“If she can come back as well as she did this year then a Melbourne campaign could be on the cards as there are some very nice races for her in the late spring there.” – NZ Racing Desk