Trainer Bruce Hill has described his Grafton Cup triumph as being the best after Warrior Within caused a shock result in the town’s biggest race of the year.
The Gold Coast trainer was almost overcome with emotion following the victory, his horse not rated as a chance in the betting markets.
His win shouldn’t be too surprising though given just two starts back he won the Murwillumbah Cup by a huge margin.
His last run was in the Caloundra Cup and although beaten to fifth he wasn’t a long way away from them.
There were some question marks about his condition though, Warrior Within showing tremendous heart with the Grafton Cup being his 11th start this campaign.
“Personally it’s just a really good feeling. It probably would be the best (moment in racing) for me,” Hill said.
“He’s had a lot of knockers this horse, so that makes it extra special as well.”
Warrior Within came out of a ready to run sale through the Magic Millions and wasn’t a steal in the ring.
Hill had to go to nearly $60,000 to buy the stayer which is by sire King Cugat.
He is more renowned for his wet track form so the good rating was something further working against him.
In fact by the time the Grafton Cup jumped the surface had been improved to a Good 2.
“He has been competitive on the dry track before but he’s had a lot of bad luck at different times,” Hill said.
“Right from the start we had this race in mind. He’s been racing really good.”
The jockey responsible for getting him home was Paul Hammersley, a rider who always pops up somewhere around the main cards.
He has known Hill for a while, in fact they go back to when Hill was still working for Gerald Ryan as stable foreman.
“It’s good to pay back people who look after you,” Hammersley said.
“He’s probably not quite as good as some of these horses, but the ticker he’s got showed in the end.
“We thought it wasn’t wet enough at Caloundra and coming here we thought the same but he’s a good old campaigner and he tries his guts out.”
It was a case of more heartbreak for Gold In Dubai, the gutsy performer once again coming away with a second place result.
He did a bit of work early and hit the lead at the top of the straight but the inside run from Warrior Within proved to be decisive.
“He’s gone fantastic again,” trainer Mark Riley said.
“We’ve got plenty of options with him now. He will go for a break but a race like the Perth Cup might be a good target next time.”