By Michael Manley
Local legend Gold Medals added another chapter to his remarkable Warrnambool record with a second win in the Grand Annual Steeplechase to the cheers of the locals.
Again the capacity Covid crowd of 12,000 got to see another stoush between 11-year-old Gold Medals and his ten-year-old adversary Zed Em over the closing stages.
The pair again took centre stage with their third quinella in the past four years.
If it wasn’t for the appearance of Ablaze who last year relegated the pair to second and third it would have been their fourth consecutive quinella.
The amazing pair of fencers stole the show outstaying and out-jumping their rivals and it was apparent with 600 metres to go they had the race between them.
It was the local legend 11-year-old Gold Medals who again prevailed to the cheers of the crowd and then rapturous applause on returning to scale.
In the mounting yard, emotions over-flowed with Gold Medals’ owners and also Wilde’s racing team over-joyed and in several cases crying.
Gold Medals' trainer Symon Wilde was overcome when he was interviewed after the win and fought back tears.
“He’s not the greatest horse in the world. He’s an amazing horse, he really is. To turn up as much as he has. I’m so grateful to have him,” Wilde said.
Wilde said the focus of the Grand Annual should be on Gold Medals.
“What an athlete to be able to turn up year after year. He’s got an amazing constitution,” Wilde said.
Wilde said Gold Medals was loved by the staff and they regarded him almost as a pet in the stable.
“He’s got some constitution. He’s amazing.”
Wilde said Gold Medals spent time at Lee Evison’s property to get over some minor issues.
“I’ve got to give him a lot of credit because he was a little bit banged up after the Annual last year, a few little issues.”
Gold Medals was racing at his ninth carnival and was making his fourth appearance in the Grand Annual Steeplechase in a row and with his victory it took his stakes earning above $1 million.
On hand to cheer Gold Medals in was Jamie Kah as he was ridden by her partner Clayton Douglas.
Douglas said Gold Medals was an “unbelievable and incredible horse.”
“He’s one of those horses that travels so well in the run. A long way out he was still travelling. Coming to the second last (jump) I really asked him for a big deep effort over the last two,” Douglas said.
“He went on to win the race but in saying that, Zed Em was very strong to the line as well. It’s been a great competition between the two of them and there’s not much between them,” Douglas said.
Gold Medals won by a length over Zed Em with another member of the Wilde stable Georgethefifth ten lengths away third.