There was hardly a dry eye at Ascot two weeks ago when Trix Of The Trade scored an emotional victory in the Railway Stakes (1600m) at Perth Racecourse.
In sports, there are wins and then there are wins, some with that unique and sentimental edge. This railway victory was most certainly in the latter category.
Everywhere you looked there were stories that tugged at the heartstrings.
The first targeted Colin Webster. The brilliant 82-year-old rider was besieged by supporters after the $1.5 million race.
The outpouring of respect and admiration was palpable.
There is no argument that he is universally admired and revered in WA and Australian racing circles.
Battling health issues and in the twilight of his training career, he claimed the coveted G1 victory.
After Webster, there is jockey Troy Turner. Humble and reserved in public, he let his emotions shine through as he stood tall in irons and gave a demonstrative salute with his whip as he passed the bar.
Turner and Webster are like family. Their special bond and connection dates back to when Turner was a student of Webster’s. His mentorship lasted a lifetime.
Then Bill and Pat Robinson, a former 90-year-old and former jockey. Husband and wife owners have knocked down huge offers for Trix Of The Trade after his dynamic three-year-old season.
Turning down over a million dollars for Trix Of The Trade might seem foolish to some, but at their stage in life, the Robinsons enjoy watching geldings far too much.
And of course Trix Of The Trade. Side by side with Webster he is the main actor in this remarkable racing story.
Now, after two weeks, horse and trainer are once again preparing to climb the G1 mountain. Can Saturday’s sequel be as rewarding and emotional as the original a fortnight ago?
Webster admits that winning the Northerly Stakes (1800m) will be a bit tougher and a bit more difficult, with additional layers of complexity involved.
The Trix Of The Trade moves from handicap conditions on the railway to age weighting The Northerly and, unlike the Railway Stakes, has been spread out.
Throw in the historical context and the hurdle to overcome can seem insurmountable.
Only five horses have won the Railway Stakes-Northerly Stakes double, Sniper’s Bullet last in 2009.
But despite history being against him, Webster dares to dream of a G1 double.
“He drew the outside barrier but it’s better for him,” Webster told The Races WA.
“It’s better than one or two because it’s a big walking horse that needs a bit of space.
“It’s a different scene now because he has gone from a bottom weight of 53 kg to 58 ½ kg weight due to his age.
“It will test him, but he’s as fit as he was before the Railway.
“We are very satisfied with the horse and that is the main thing.
“I don’t think he’s improved, we had him at the top of the rail.
“I’m happy if he keeps the same fitness.
“I think she’ll be fine at weight for her age, but you don’t know until you try.
“He’ll carry the weight, but we’ll find out depending on age.”
“He’s a horse in nice condition and in a happy place at the moment.
“We hope he can have a great run.”
Scratching Last Of The Line, Trix Of The Trade will start from barrier 15 – the widest gate in Northerly.
He has $13 with Tabtouch to be driven by Troy Turner.
Champion Sydney jockey James McDonald rides Cascadian, the market leader at $2.90.
According to Webster, the eight-year-old looms as a horse to beat.
“He is a class horse who has raced successfully in the best company,” Webster said.
“You must worry about him, you must.
Earlier, Karalee Rocks can set a winning tone for Webster in the Tabtouch-Better Your Bet Handicap (1200m).
The current $2.45 favorite is unbeaten in two starts this campaign.
“She walks well and can be competitive in the Saturday class. Webster said.
“We took our time, but she’s doing well.
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