Scoring on a Wing and a prayer
AN unusual training method gleaned from ‘Cups King’, the legendary Bart Cummings, was instrumental in Guy Walter preparing Twin Wing to win yesterday’s $150,000 Elders Grafton Cup (2350m).
After a titanic struggle in the home straight, Walter’s never-say-die seven-year-old, starting at $11 and ridden by Jay Ford, scored by a short-head from Gold Coast raider Frozone ($6), with favourite Ironstein ($2.90) a length away third.
Twin Wing hadn’t started since finishing third in the 3200m Stayers’ Cup at Rosehill on June 19.
“You could hardly call it an ideal preparation, a month between runs coming off a 3200 metres race,” Walter admitted.
“But I remember Bart (Cummings) with Saintly (1996 Melbourne Cup winner). He started him in the Metropolitan and Craven Plate, two runs in three days then took him to Melbourne, gave him three weeks off.
“Saintly thrived and, we all know what happened.
“Twin Wing had the miles in his legs, came into this fresh. He races good that way.”
Walter treasured Twin Wing’s success, particularly after the gelding’s third place last year.
“The Grafton carnival is one of the great events on the country calendar, in NSW, Australia,” he said.
“It’s one of the great meetings. Country racing is the heart and soul of racing. You can’t beat country cup meetings, they’re special.
“I can tell you I’m very proud to have trained a Grafton Cup winner.”
Walter, 55, has trained 27 Group One winners during his illustrious career, but has never forgotten his roots.
Twin Wing is raced by Anthony and Derek Hall, Bob and Warren Duncan and Tim Morton. Anthony Hall purchased the gelding as a weanling.
“He’s been with me his whole career,” Walter said.
“He’s just a grand old horse. He’s won a Winter Cup, Lord Mayor’s Cup, now Grafton Cup. He never runs a bad race.”
Twin Wing has been up for a long time, but I might look at keeping him going for the Wyong and Newcastle cups.
“I must admit I was concerned in the straight when Frozone headed him, but he just fought back like the grand old horse he is.”
Frozone (Glenn Colless) travelled outside Twin Wing throughout and headed Twin Wing inside the 200m.
“He (Twin Wing) was just too bloody tough,” Colless said.
Colless also finished runner-up aboard Forestreno in Wednesday’s Ramornie.
FRIDAY, SATURDAY RACE FIELDS: PAGES 33, 34