Group 1-winning mare Glory Days returned from retirement at the Foxton trials on Tuesday where she finished fourth in her 1000m heat. The Bill Thurlow-trained eight-year-old failed to fire after returning from her spring campaign in Melbourne last spring and was subsequently retired after her fourth-placing in the Listed New Zealand St Leger (2600m) at Trentham in March.
After her sale fell through her connections elected to bring her back into work and she could once again be on a Group 1 path this spring, with the Group 1 Windsor Park Plate (1600m) and Group 1 Livamol Classic (2040m) at Hastings on her radar.
“The pending sale didn’t happen and just with what is going on around the world (COVID-19 pandemic) it wasn’t that easy to do much with her so we decided we may as well put her back in work and see how we got on,” Thurlow said. “She has had a really good long spell, she has been vetted and is 100 percent sound and looks good, so we may as well carry on.”
Thurlow was happy enough with the Group 1 Auckland Cup (3200m) winner’s trial, but said she would likely have another hit-out before she makes her raceday return. “I thought she trialled well and she found the line okay,” he said. “For an eight-year-old mare I thought it was a good trial. “She is probably not as sharp as what she was 18 months to two years ago, but that is just an age thing, and in herself she is very well.”
While nominated for the last two legs of the Hawke’s Bay Spring Carnival, Thurlow said she may be set towards other targets. “There is nothing set in stone for her at this stage,” he said. “We are just going to give her another jumpout or trial and then find a lower race somewhere. “From there we will make a plan as to whether she will carry on to those races (at Hastings) or goes something else.”
Thurlow labelled Glory Days as the best horse he has trained and he said it is great to have her back in his Waverley stable, however, it may not be for long. “It is lovely to have her back, she is a neat horse to have around,” he said. “There’s a very good chance that she will be served this spring, but it’s still to be decided over the next few weeks.”
While Thurlow is hoping Glory Days shows enough to warrant another Group 1 tilt, he said her stablemate Beyond The Fort is being set on a similar path. The Group 1 performer impressed her trainer with her 1-3/4 length victory in her 1000m heat on Tuesday and Thurlow is pleased with the way she has returned as a five-year-old.
“She seems a little bit sharper this year than she did last year, which is really pleasing,” he said. “She only had a few runs last year but I don’t think we saw the best of her. “She seems very good now, so I am hoping that we will see the best of her this season. “She has got nominations for those races at Hawke’s Bay and if she comes up well enough she could run in one of those legs. She will tell us if she is good enough to go there.”
Glory Days and Beyond the Fort have been the flagbearers for Thurlow’s barn in recent years, but he believes he has unearthed their successor. A three-year-old Adelaide filly Thurlow purchased out of Highview Stud’s 2019 New Zealand Bloodstock Book 2 Sale draft for $20,000 made it two wins from two trials at Foxton on Tuesday, impressing her trainer.
“I really like her,” Thurlow said. “She is a filly we bought at the sales and she has won two trials from two and she has got a really bright future, she is a lovely filly. “She is the next really exciting one in the stable. “There has been a bit of interest in her, but at this stage her owners have decided to keep her, at this stage.”