CHAMPION Sydney trainer Chris Waller ended his Wagga Gold Cup drought in emphatic style as import Trade Commissioner claimed an emotional victory at Murrumbidgee Turf Club yesterday.
Top Melbourne-based jockey Craig Newitt saluted to the sky and Wagga man Garry Towzell had a tear in his eye as Trade Commissioner delivered him his first gold cup.
Newitt almost didn’t make the trip to Wagga after his wife’s grandfather Fred Woods passed away yesterday, but he “soldiered on” to dedicate the gold cup victory to him.
The win also realised a lifetime ambition for past MTC vice-president Towzell and former Wagga man Richard Pegum as they clinched the $140,000 Wagga Gold Cup (2000 metres) at long last.
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The pair has known each other for 35 years and has spent most of that time chasing the feature race at Wagga together.
It was an all-Waller finish to the feature race as Trade Commissioner and Beyond Thankful cleared away to fight the race out before Newitt’s mount prevailed over the final 100 metres to score by a half length.
An emotional Towzell conceded he thought the opportunity to win a Wagga Gold Cup had passed him by.
“It feels pretty good, it’s been a long time coming,” Towzell said.
“It’s been a lifetime ambition and I never thought it was going to happen.
“I thought I had run out of time, I thought I was getting too old.
“It was a very good win, I’m absolutely thrilled.
“It’s the highlight of my life and career in racing.”
A cracking pace was set in the cup with Honourable Aussie finding the lead early before Queensland visitor Trajet pushed on to the top after being caught wide.
Waller’s pair settled one pair in front of the rear of the field and it was Beyond Thankful which pounced on the lead at the 300-metre mark before Trade Commissioner came and took over in the final 100.
The Brett Cavanough-trained Price Of Glory stuck on well and was 3¼ lengths away in third in front of a wall of horses, including Too Hi Tek and the unlucky Devised.