Waverley trainer Bill Thurlow has experienced a stellar season with his talented galloper Glory Days and he is hoping she can continue her good run of form in the Gr.1 Barfoot & Thompson Auckland Cup (3200m) at Ellerslie on Saturday.
The six-year-old daughter of Red Giant has hardly put a foot wrong this season, winning five of her last seven starts, including the Listed Wanganui Cup (2040m) and the Gr.2 Avondale Cup (2400m) at Ellerslie last start.
“I’m really happy with the way she is going,” Thurlow said. “She has been doing a good job and everything is ticking over nicely.
“I thought it was a really good performance in the Avondale Cup. We were always a little bit mindful going into the race that it was her first time around Ellerslie and first time right-handed, we were a little bit concerned about that.
“But she handled it so well. She cornered well and almost got to them too soon. But she got there and fought on well and acquitted herself really well.
“It gives us a lot of confidence going forward.”
Thurlow has been happy with his mare in the lead-up to the race and believes she will handle the two-mile distance at the first time of asking.
“On her work, the way she finishes her races off and the way she settles, we are pretty confident she will get it (the two miles).
“We are really happy with her. She is fit enough and she is well enough. The way she races, she doesn’t pull, she should just lob along at the back and I would think she would get it, but until you try you don’t know.”
Glory Days has drawn barrier 15 for Saturday’s contest, but that doesn’t faze Thurlow, with the Taranaki horseman wanting to continue with her racing pattern of sitting off the speed.
“It’s two miles and there is plenty of time to do what you want to do in a race like that,” he said. “At the end of the day, if we had an ace draw we would still be going back.
“She will end up back I would imagine. If she’s not last she will be back in the last two or three anyway, just minding her own business.
“I just hope the field breaks up a little bit from the 600m to the corner because if it doesn’t we are probably going to have to go around them all again, which she has done in five or six of her nine wins.”
Thurlow is confident with Glory Days’ chances heading into the race, but said there a number of other genuine chances in the 16-strong field.
“It’s a strong enough field,” he said. “There’s about six strong chances in there and most of them are at the top of the book.
“Blue Breeze ran us very close the other day (in the Avondale Cup) and if he stays two miles he will be a genuine chance.
“She has had quite a long season. Some of them might be still on the way up where she has been going around for a while, albeit we have spaced her races.”
While Thurlow’s focus is purely on this weekend’s challenge, he said a potential trip across the Tasman is possible for his charge if she performs well on Saturday.
“She holds a nomination for the Sydney Cup (Gr.1, 3200m),” Thurlow said.
“If she came through Saturday and ran up to expectations and everything was right with her, we would certainly pursue that.
“But she would have to acquit herself very well on Saturday and come out of the race very well to press on.”