In the same week Brett Robb welcomed a new addition to the family, with fiancé Maddie Wright bringing Archie Robb into the world, the pair have also won the Western Racing Association Country Championships qualifier, with the aptly named Great Buy getting the job done at Coonamble.
Great Buy, ridden by Mick Heagney, was never headed in the $150,000 race, leading from pillar to post, comfortably holding off the Clint Lundholm-trained pair of Amulet Street (Hugh Bowman) in second and Ferus (Ash Morgan) in third.
Robb, who won the $50,000 NSWPRA Picnic Champion Series final with On A Promise late last year, said winning the WRA qualifier was a different feeling altogether.
“I don’t know what to say,” Robb said.
“It has been a big year and I thought it was big when we won the Picnic Championships, but this is a different feeling.”
Robb said a softish run in front made all the difference, with Heagney able to dictate terms in the 1400m event.
“I thought they handed the lead up pretty early,” Robb said.
“We were always going to go forward and try and get the lead and I thought we got it pretty easy and once he got the lead, I thought he was going to be hard to beat.”
Heagney, who is based in Queanbeyan, isn’t afraid to travel and Robb said he was always going to stick by the veteran hoop, who is also a good friend.
“A lot of people were telling me I was mad, but he is a good honest jockey, a good bloke, and he is a good mate of mine and I’m glad I stuck with him,” Robb said.
Heagney was always confident of winning once he got to the front and was able to relax the five-year-old Helmet gelding.
“The draw was always a bit of a worry, but he has plenty of gate speed,” Heagney said.
“He began really quick and by the time we got to the (first) furlong, he crossed them easy and got to the fence and travelled nice.
“He relaxed on the circle and straightened up with his ears pricked and that’s when I thought he was going to give me a kick here, and he did and was strong to the line.”
Heagney said the Dubbo galloper had certain traits in his favour ahead of the $500,000 Country Championships final at Royal Randwick on April 2.
“If he can draw well, he is going to be up on the speed,” Heagney said.
“He handles the wet as well and he has a few things in his favour.”
The Country Championships final is now taking shape, and with only the Scone wildcard to be run and won next Sunday, connections will no doubt be building with excitement ahead of the rich country-only finale.