Having grown up in the country, trainer Symon Wilde well remembers the older style of training horses.
Wilde prepares Gold Medals who runs in the Australian Steeplechase (3400m) at Sandown on Saturday, and he says the horse is a throwback to yesteryear.
“I remember growing up in the country and you’d see these old handicappers,” Wilde said.
“They would start off winning over 1200 metres as a young horse, go through to Cups and then jump later on.
“They’d be around for years and he’s a bit of a throwback to that type of horse.”
Gold Medals won over 1000m as a two-year-old on debut at Warrnambool in 2012 before graduating to be placed at Listed level during Melbourne Cup week as a three-year-old.
He is a city winner at Moonee Valley, won the Terang Cup and has been prolific over jumps, winning the feature Lafferty Hurdle at Warrnambool.
Wilde has switched Gold Medals to steeplechasing this year with the gelding finishing sixth in the Brierly at Warrnambool on the opening day of this year’s three-day carnival.
He says with added fitness Gold Medals is a legitimate chance on Saturday.
“He jumped well in the Brierly but for the last couple when I think he was getting tired,” Wilde said.
“He didn’t get the best of runs in the Brierly. He’s adept on all ground and we’ll ride him a bit quiet and see if he can get home over the top of them.”
Wilde puts Gold Medals longevity down to the Warrnambool environment and the attention he gets.
He says Gold Medals is a stable favourite who will have a home for life when he is retired.
While Wilde varies up his routine, the one thing he can’t change is Gold Medals’ paddock at Warrnambool.
Wilde also has a satellite stable at Ballarat and says Gold Medals is the only horse not to settle in.
“I’ve had a lot of horses go up to Ballarat and come home and they’ve all been happy up there but he’s the only one that wants his paddock at home,” he said.
Wilde would normally take himself to the country meeting if he has runners at multiple locations, but will be at Sandown on Saturday cheering on Gold Medals.
“I love country racing but I’ve got a soft spot for Gold Medals and I love jumps racing so I’ll be at Sandown,” he said.