IT WAS a win that proved well worth the wait and it came just at the perfect time for Wagga horse owner Mick Rudd.
Landmine broke through for his first win in just over 12 months when taking out the $30,000 Magic Millions Gold Coast March Yearling Sale Showcase Benchmark 58 Handicap (1200m) on Championships day at Wagga last Saturday.
Among the winning owners celebrating the win was Rudd, who the victory proved the perfect tonic for after a rough ride recently with his health.
"I've been going through a bit of a bad time of late but I was there on Saturday to see it," Rudd said.
Landmine is the first horse Rudd has raced following a lifetime of following the races.
He said the ride Landmine has provided him with has done more than anyone could imagine.
"You don't realise what this horse has done for me," Rudd said.
"I was down a bit. I wasn't doing much and then we got the horse, then every race meeting, we never miss a run. From Corowa to Gundagai, right around.
"You couldn't get a better horse."
It also brought about a special friendship between Rudd and Wagga trainer Chris Heywood. The pair had never met prior to Landmine but now share a unique bond.
"The day I walked in here, I said can I have a look at my horse mate, and he said you can come anytime you like. He opened the stalls, put me in there with the horse and we've been best of friends ever since," Rudd said.
"He is honestly my best friend."
It was a win that meant the world to trainer Chris Heywood as well.
"Yeah it did. He's probably the most loyal owner you could possibly have," Heywood said.
"He's here every week that he could possibly be here, to see the horse. If he misses a week or two he'll do two or three days in a row to make up for it.
"The horse loves him and it meant a lot."
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Murrumbidgee Turf Club chief executive Jason Ferrario heard Rudd's story on Saturday and organised a special presentation on Friday.
"I'm a big fan of syndication, it gives so many people the opportunity to race horses and experience the thrill of winning but it can be difficult in a trophy race when there is one trophy among a big syndicate," Ferrario said.
"Having heard Mick's story from the trainer Chris, the MTC organised to present Mick with the trophy given his recent run of health. It was a great opportunity to present the trophy to him and you can see how much the horse means to him, and when he's around the horse, his health issues are a million miles away."
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