Healing Hands has repaid trainer Gayna Williams patience and perseverance with his win in the $150,000 Country Championship qualifier at Mudgee.
The five-year-old has had his share of injuries but is now on his way to the $500,000 Country Championships final at Randwick on April 4.
He earned his way there with his three-quarter length win over the Dean Mirfin-trained Electrified on Sunday with both horse qualifying for the final.
An emotional Williams, who has run second in the Central Districts qualifier three times, said she tried to keep a lid on expectations with Healing Hands.
“I thought I might have crucified him a couple of weeks ago when I said he was over rated,” Williams told Sky Thoroughbred Central.
“I don’t like to over-rate horses. They have to prove themselves. It’s a results driven game and I’d rather see the results before you say too much.”
Champion country jockey Greg Ryan has ridden Healing Hands in all seven of his starts which have produced five wins and a second.
“They didn’t give him an easy run, three and four deep at stages, and he only momentarily had cover in the run,” Ryan said.
“He just really toughed it out down the straight.
“He’s won that heat and he didn’t have the run to win it. He had a bit on that field.”
Electrified was ridden by leading Sydney jockey Hugh Bowman who had three winners on the country track.
Mirfin said he believed Electrified would be better suited by the spacious Randwick track.