Seven-year-old gelding, Al Mah Haha has long been a bright talent on the Goulburn racing scene.
However, trainer Tash Burleigh said his second consecutive Goulburn Cup win on Sunday was one of the most special wins of their careers.
Over the last three years, Al Mah Haha has shown an affinity for his home track.
Three of his four career victories have come in Goulburn, a pattern which Burleigh believes is a result by his comfort at home.
"I think, you take the travel out of the equation, and a horse like him does enjoy his home track," Burleigh said.
"He's a nice, big horse, but he's quite sensitive as well. he probably does take comfort in running at home. Some horses are just like that, I've had wins here with quite a few horses because they really love their home track. And then there's others who can't stand to run at their home track, it's too much for them and they need that trip."
Al Mah Haha's strong form in Goulburn gave Burleigh confidence ahead of Sunday's race, as did his form leading in. In his previous two races, at Kembla on September 11 and Royal Randwick on October 2, he claimed second and third place respectively.
However, Burleigh knew the field was going to be highly competitive, even after Al Mah Haha drew a good barrier.
"On paper, the race looked fairly even," she said.
"They were all on par with each other, but Art Cadeau has been going really well. Al has raced up against those horses in the cup, one had listed race form.
"We were more excited about seeing how he would go up against those horses, especially with a good barrier. His couple of good runs in town were from good barriers, so that's always a bit of a leg-up."
Though Burleigh's attention was fixed on her star horse for much of Sunday, it was also shared with her six-week-old daughter, Elly, who spent the day swaddled in her mum's arms.
Thankfully, Burleigh said, her daughter proved to be extremely comfortable in that environment, even as her support for Al Mah Haha got more vocal towards the end of the race.
"She did really well, because I did have hold of her and the finish was so close," Burleigh said.
"They were going nose-to-nose for it. I don't usually get too consumed in screaming at horses to win, but obviously it was a pretty big deal to try and pull off a second Goulburn Cup.
"So I was doing a bit of screaming and she did well with it. She didn't cry and just let me do my thing."
During her pregnancy, Burleigh took a step back from preparing Al Mah Haha for this year's race. Instead, much of the work was done by her team and her partner.
"When you're so hands-on, and you become pregnant, you've got to take a step back a little bit," she said.
"We're lucky that we've got all the support from the girls, and the track riders, and my partner, Ash.
"It was pretty special, and a little bit emotional because it has been such a big deal the last six weeks, and the nine months before that."
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