CAMERON Crockett is not a man who believes in divine intervention, but the trainer does believe something very special happened to him on ANZAC Day in 2019.
That afternoon Crockett watched on as his runner Turcotte ($5.50) surged along the rails at Bathurst's Tyers Park to win the prestigious Soldier's Saddle.
It was a race the trainer, who began his career in Mudgee but is now based in Scone, had long wanted to win. It is a race his father-trainer Max had won 13 years earlier with Lifes Too Short.
"That was probably my most emotional win ever that race because that was about five-six months after Dad died," he said.
"It's a funny story actually, I don't believe too much in divine intervention or anything, but when I was driving the horse home that day - I led the horse in myself - that was a pretty emotional drive.
"I reckon that was one of my best training efforts with that horse running 1,400 first up, he was a very hard horse to train and he won. That was actually his last ever run, he bled after that so we retired him.
"But when I was driving home after that I could hear Dad's voice, it was like he was sitting in the car with you. It was incredible that day - so it's one of the most emotional wins I've ever had."
On Monday Crockett will be back chasing success in Bathurst Thoroughbred Racing's 1,400 metres ANZAC Day feature once more.
"Growing up I always wanted to win the Soldier's Saddle, so to tick it off the bucket list before I left Mudgee was fantastic. But I'd love to win it again," he said.
Crockett did have three runners - Morpheus, Mr Hussill and Cracking Mo - included in the saddle field, but only the former will line up with his stablemates racing in Saturday's Highway Handicap at Randwick instead.
But the six-year-old Snitzel x Trista Rossa gelding is one that Crockett has high hopes for.
Morpheus, who has previously won over the 1,400m trip, has been given a two-week freshen-up since placing second at Tamworth.
"Morpheus, he's been going massive. His run the other day was super, he got beaten by a nose by Acrophobic and it was a Tamworth Cup prelude," Crockett said.
"We were hoping to sneak him into the Tamworth Cup via that race, but that might have been a bit too strong for him, so I happy to have the Soldier's Saddle for his second option.
"He's got a bit of a big weight, but with those two of mine coming out underneath him he'll come across a little bit closer which will help him, because he drew pretty wide.
"He's in really good order, I haven't had him as good as he is at the moment for a long time. He's got his fair share of issues, but when he gets it right he invariably runs a good race, so even with the 62.5 I'd expect he'll give it a good shake."
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