Local trainer Michelle Bradley was on cloud nine as she celebrated taking out two of the feature events on the card at Ruakaka on Saturday.
Bradley produced lightly raced four-year-old mare Sulabella to score a convincing victory in the ITM/GIB Progressive Winter Championship Final (1600m) in the hands of Warren Kennedy, before Sam Spratt lifted Pentire gelding Bosch off the canvas to defeat the Chris Gibbs-trained pair of Chevron and Cruisy Lass in the ITM/GIB Whangarei Gold Cup Stayers Final (2100m).
Bradley, who has just 20 horses in work at any one time, admitted she had been hopeful rather than confident of success on such a big day.
“I’m really stoked and just a little speechless actually,” Bradley said.
“This is such a big day for everyone and when I saw the fields I thought Sulabella might be my best chance, but we would need everything to fall in our favour.
“We have had to be very patient with her (Sulabella) as she has had her issues, but I know she has good ability and the breeding to run out a strong mile like she did today.
“The other thing is that Warren gets on so well with her and that can be half the battle as she is a quirky thing at times.
“She doesn’t like to be bossed around and he knows that and she responds to him.
‘My main concern was she hadn’t had a start for nearly a month, however Warren had her beautifully placed in the running and she was nice and strong to the line.”
Bradley also had concerns about Bosch after she saw the field assembled for his race.
“When I saw the field and the likelihood there would be more speed on, I had my doubts that Bosch could cope with that,” she said.
“He loves to get his own way in front and if he can’t or he doesn’t have any room he pretty much switches off for the day.
“I told Sam that if he couldn’t lead to just try and keep him in clear air, so she did a super job and he really lifted when the other horses came for him.”
It wasn’t all plain sailing for Bradley who found herself watching the races from the Ruakaka birdcage where she couldn’t quite get a good view of the action.
“I couldn’t get near a television so had to watch the races live which meant I had trouble picking out where we were in the home straight,” she said.
“I had to listen pretty hard, so the feeling that comes across you when they are fighting it out is amazing.
“For me this is a massive moment in my career and one I will certainly cherish forever.”
Bradley had more to celebrate with the win of Sulabella as she part owns the mare after purchasing her for $12,000 from the Highline Thoroughbreds Book 2 National Yearling Sale draft at Karaka, while
Bosch is raced by a group of locals including her co-breeder Mike Beazley, who is the president of the Whangarei Jockey Club.