TAMWORTH trainer Craig Martin had two reasons to smile at the conclusion of Sunday's Gunnedah Cup.
The first was that the horse he trains, Present Sense took out the Cup, the second is Martin is also the owner of Present Sense.
"It's always nice to go home with a Cup win," Martin told the Namoi Valley Independent.
"I think it's a bit of a funny feeling though when you are the trainer as well as the owner.
"To be honest, it's not quite the same as being around the owners after their horse has won and sharing that joy.
"But, it is still a good feeling."
The victory was Present Sense's seventh career victory, for a total of more than $130,000 in career prize money and comes after the seven-year-old gelding claimed the Bingara Cup earlier in the year.
"I've always thought the mile distance was his ideal journey," Martin said.
"He proved that earlier in the year and he proved that again in Gunnedah today [Sunday]."
Surviving late charges from Vega De Lago (fourth), A Martin Placepick (third) and Editors (second), Present Sense was first passed the post by just 0.24 of a length.
"He really prefers the soft track and I think the Gunnedah track really suited him in that respect," Martin said.
"He just doesn't really handle the hard tracks too well.
"I think he prefers them to have a bit of sting out of them, but those sorts of tracks can be hard to find, especially at a distance that suits him."
The win was jockey Andrew Gibbons first Gunnedah Cup victory and came after he had ridden a treble for Kris Lees earlier in the day.
"I thought Andrew rode him perfectly," Martin said.
"He timed the run to the post really well and stuck to the plan.
"It would have been pretty challenging, especially considering we didn't think Vega De Lago would have pushed home when it did.
"Still, it was a really good ride from Andrew and it's pretty pleasing that was his first Gunnedah Cup victory."
Martin said he would now "weigh up the options" for Present Sense's next race.
"I think we might give him a little bit of a spell," he said.
"As I said, given he likes the soft tracks, there's not too many options for him given most tracks are hard because of the drought.
"He struggles on the hard tracks, so we will have to keep our eyes open for a soft track option at a distance that suits him.
"In the meantime, I think we just keep praying for rain to help soften up a few tracks.
"We certainly need the rain and while we have had a little bit of rain recently, we're hoping there's more to come soon."