Fresh off a 22-week spell, the Gayna Williams trained seven-year-old was fourth early in the jump and run sprint, trailing early leader Cardiff by some seven or eight lengths on the home turn before hitting the line well to win stylishly.
“It was a really nice trial,” Williams said.
“The horse has thrived this preparation. He is a lot bigger and stronger than last prep. The change in work patterns has helped and we are aiming to keep him fresh, which seems to have suited him a lot as well.
“The horse has been working well, and I know it was only a barrier trial, but it was good to see him going nicely.”
Healing Hands in only lightly raced, winning five times from 11 starts, and despite injuries plaguing a once very promising career, he has managed to qualify for the finals of the Country Championship Series in 2020 and 2021, finishing sixth and eight respectively.
“He has had problems. He started late, he was very immature, and he went shin sure and he bled once, it’s just a few niggly things but because he is ours, we just took our time with him and didn’t want to overrun him,” Williams said.
“He ended up being a bit dour last prep and he was trained for a first up 1400m championship heat, and we changed his work this reparation and that seems to be working with him.”
After the trial win, Healings Hands has been thrown around with other contenders for The Kosciuszko, and with slots still available, Williams is hoping someone will call, wanting to run the enigmatic I Am Invincible gelding in the $1.3 million event.
“We weren’t really thinking of any race and had no aspirations at all with him, but it was a bit surprising to us with how well he went over the 900m yesterday (Tuesday),” Williams said.
“We would love to go (to The Kosciuszko) full stop. I am more comfortable this year compared to previous years, and I think he is a very capable type.
“This year, I’ve changed my opinion of him. I think he would be very competitive in The Kosciuszko and at Royal Randwick with plenty of pace in the race.”
With Williams waiting for a potential Kosciuszko call-up with Healing Hands, the Bathurst trainer will also have to focus her attention on Sunday’s Dubbo Gold Cup with From The Bush taking on the $100,000 race.
The five-year-old was a Randwick winner three starts back on July 10 before winning the Forbes Cup on August 1 than finishing runner up to Wild Rocket in the Narromine Cup on August 15.
Anthony Cavallo takes the ride and from gate six, From The Bush is the current $5.50 favourite to win the 1600m feature event.
“The horse is going well. He is a horse that likes a soft track, but he drew well and looks well placed,” Williams said.
“He has had a long preparation. Our ultimate aim, obviously depending how he pulls up, is the Bathurst Cup after the Dubbo Cup but I am still very confident he will run well on the weekend.”