Just over a week ago, Gunnedah trainer Sally Torrens was on the verge of retiring Stirling Shadow but the old stager was having none of it.
The seven-year-old came from last to finish second in a benchmark 50 handicap in Armidale over 1900 metres on September 15 before he went one better to win a benchmark 50 handicap over 2450 metres at Barraba seven days later.
Stirling Shadow blitzed the small Barraba field to win by eight lengths. The step up in distance was just what he needed.
“He seemed to thrive on that distance the other day. He could have gone another lap. He’s been crying out for that [distance] or further,” Torrens said of Stirling Shadow.
“Leanne [Henry] rated him really well. Just led them, stacked them up and at the 800 made it a real staying test.”
With a lack of staying races in country areas, horses like Stirling Shadow have to race over shorter trips.
Torrens would like to see the number of longer distance races in the country change.
“They get up to mile and you’ll get the odd one at 2000 metres but if there were more of them it’d be great,” she said.
While races those longer races are “few and far between”, the stars have aligned for Stirling Shadow.
“As luck would have it, there’s one at Gunnedah in a fortnight over 2700 metres. We’ll step him up to that and see how he goes,” Torrens said.
Torrens also picked up a third placing with Leica Boot in the opening race at Barraba. In the last race of the day – the 2018 Barraba Cup – fellow Gunnedah trainer Gavin Groth just missed out on the top prize as Beale Street finished second.
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