Former builder Darren Hyde has had the longest wait for the Country Championships Final of any runner with Westlink after winning the Dubbo qualifier in February but he is ready for his biggest day at the races.
Westlink capped a 12-month plan with that win, which was Hyde's biggest as a trainer.
“It has been the longest six weeks of my life,” Hyde said. “You are worrying what might go wrong but when he galloped on Tuesday – so good – I thought it's done.
“We had our vets go over him and he has a perfect blood picture and he said if he is good enough hell win.
“Thats all we can do.”
Hyde has been in the racing game for 25 years, but he has only been training full-time for the last half-dozen.
He used to help out with Tom Mulholland, a legend of Central Districts racing, and when Mulholland died in 2013 Hyde took over the stable.
“Me and me mates used to buy a horse and we would get excited if it won at the picnics,” Hyde said.
“I was builder, doin it as a hobby, and there was always plenty of work but when Tom died there was a stable full of horses and I decided I had to give it a go.
“I have won a Bathurst Cup before before but nothing like this. You dont win $150,000 races from the bush and you dont race for half-a-million.
[Adam Hyeronimus] hopped off and said he would come and ride him wherever he was going next.
"After he won at Dubbo, we said anything from here is a bonus.”
Westlink comes into the final having won his past two starts under Adam Hyeronimus, the conclusion to a plan that started the day he won his maiden.
“He won his maiden on Championships day at Dubbo last year and we went home and said we would be back for the big race next year,” Hyde said. “We were dreaming.
“The horse always showed a bit and we were lucky enough to get it right with him.
“Leading into the heat we had that real hot spell when it was 40 degrees every day, so we couldnt do much with him. I couldn't start him for the fear of cooking him.”
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