Joe Pride was the second happiest person on course when New Tipperary broke an extended winning drought to race away with the Group Three Cameron Handicap at Newcastle.
His exuberance was bettered only by that of his son Brave who is New Tipperary’s biggest fan and was on hand to cheer him home on Friday.
“The horse won a midweek at Warwick Farm and I got home and he said, ‘Dad that’s one of the best horses you’ve got’,” Pride said.
The six-year-old had gone winless for almost two years and while Pride said it had been a frustrating wait, the trainer never lost his confidence in the horse.
He compared New Tipperary’s return to form in the Cameron Handicap (1500m) to the resurgence of his last-start Melbourne winner Ball Of Muscle who will take on The Everest favourite Redzel in The Shorts on Saturday.
“It was right there with what Ball Of Muscle did the other day. They hadn’t done what you think they’re capable of doing in a few starts and to see them do it again just rejuvenates your faith in the horse,” Pride said.
“I’m pretty confident he gets a run in the Epsom off the back of that. It’s not his favourite track, Randwick but I’ll have at look at it and see if it’s the appropriate race and timing after this run.
“I’m just so happy to get him back in the winner’s circle.”
Ridden by Tim Clark, New Tipperary finished strongly to overhaul Red Excitement by a length with Godolphin’s Best Of Days another three quarters of a length away.
Clark said he was confident New Tipperary had taken improvement from his unplaced first-up run and appreciated a 5.5kg weight drop.
“He went well first up with the big weight and he always improves second up,” Clark said.
“He’s a little bit quirky at times but he had a lovely cart into the race and finished off well.”
Pride will consider his longer-term options for New Tipperary with a spring carnival trip to Melbourne or possibly a shot at the Railway Stakes in Perth among options.
Gerald Ryan was satisfied with the effort of runner-up Red Excitement who could also head to the Epsom Handicap.
“He was honest and brave as he always is,” Ryan said.