Racecourses can be emotional places and people are often lost for words or found crying for joy.
Sale-based trainer Andrew Murray was both speechless and weeping with happiness at Caulfield on Saturday after landing his first metropolitan race victory with a horse that was only confirmed in the race — the Owner.Racing.Com Handicap — at 7.20 on Saturday morning.
His galloper Sunday Escape was the fourth emergency for the 1100-metre sprint and looked a forlorn hope of getting a run. But several contenders came out before the final declarations and the son of Hard Spun not only found himself in the field, but the medium of some decent support. He went off at $9, one of only a handful in the 16 runners in the field to start at under double-figure odds.
Dwayne Dunn had him in the first three throughout and he went on to win by three-quarters of a length from $5 favourite Belesron, much to the relief of an emotional Murray.
The 35-year-old trainer sobbed unashamedly and was unable to speak in the immediate post-race interview when television cameras sought his reaction. After he had collected his thoughts, he explained that he only trains between three and seven horses for his family.
“It’s awesome. I just train for my mother and father-in-law. It’s my first city winner. We have run quite a few places, but never pulled one off. We have run into some good horses and possibly could have won one before this.
“He was going to go back to Sale in three weeks, but he will be rated too highly now. He handles the wet and winter is in front of us.”
Brent Stanley is another young trainer fast making a name for himself and he sent out a hugely impressive youngster in the debutante Fleur Fatale, who scored impressively in the Vobis Golden Ingot, a $150,000 contest for two-year-olds.
Partnered by Michael Walker, Fleur Fatale went off at $16 but never really looked in any danger as she saw off the favourite, Danuki ($2.60) by 1¼ lengths.
Stanley believes the daughter of Commands, who races in the famous yellow and red colours of David Hains’ Kingston Park Stud, will be much better over a mile and further as a three-year-old and says that good as Saturday’s win was, much better should be possible with another six months of growth and maturity.
He said Hains called him out of the blue and offered him four two-year-olds to train, and that he was honoured to have been chosen by an owner with such a history of success.
“When I was two years old I sat on Kingston Town [Hains’ most famous horse and a great of the Australian turf] when he was in pre-training, so it’s great how things come round. I speak to David once a week and let him know what they are up to.
“It came out of nowhere. Cathy Hains has sent a few clients my way, too. She is racing a few with me.”
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