Tough times don’t last. Tough people do.
Robert H. Schuller’s quote could easily be echoed by Darren McAuliffe.
Racing folk are a resilient lot, often having to adapt to adversity and grueling setbacks.
It’s a fickle game that is often an examination of character and temperament.
Loss of races, injuries to star horses and the pressure of winning are brutal realities of racing.
That’s why yesterday’s (Wednesday) meeting at Belmont was a bit of a game changer for McAuliffe.
For the first time in months, he had cause to smile. That indulgence came courtesy of Goldfrapp in the Furphy Handicap (1400m).
The daughter of Universal Ruler gave McAuliffe his first victory since The Velvet King won the Belmont Sprint (1400m) in May.
Ending an unusually lean stretch for a successful stable, McAuliffe hopes Goldfrapp’s maiden win can signal a change of fortune.
Aside from improving his win-loss strike rate, her victory is a confidence boost after recent body blows to two of his stable stars.
Glamour mare Clairvoyance, her career hanging by a thread after knee surgery, copped another stumbling block.
Solaia, a star three-year-old last season with wins in the Challenge Stakes (1500m) and Natasha Stakes (2200m), had leg surgery.
McAuliffe admitted it had been a tough patch for his stable.
“Clairvoyance had a nasty colic attack and it was touch and go for a while,” McAuliffe told The Races WA.
“We got her to the vets just in time, but it’s another issue to deal with.
“Her knee is looking really good and she’ll work under a saddle in October.
“Soon after Clairvoyance we had Solaia go down with a leg injury.
“She fractured a splint bone in her hind leg.
“She could have kicked something in the paddock.
“She had surgery yesterday (Wednesday), but it shouldn’t be career threatening.
“I can honestly say it has been a difficult time for our team.”
McAuliffe can look forward to Goldfrapp’s future with confidence.
He likes what he has seen and identifies her as stakes filly with staying potential.
Having her second career start , she ran through the line strongly to defeat He’s A Sizzler by one length.
“Very happy with the filly,” McAuliffe said.
“She was a little unlucky first up and got stuck behind a couple of slow ones.
“There was good form to come out of the race and I was pretty confident she could get the job done.
“She has always shown me she is going to be an Oaks-type filly.
“We’ll give her a little bit of a rest now and she can come back in and hopefully sneak a couple of nice three-year-old races in the early part of the summer.
“Then we’ll bring her back for the Oaks and just focus on that.”
Adding polish to McAuliffe’s day and cause for double celebration was jockey, Chloe Azzopardi.
She won her first city race on Goldfrapp since returning from a five month drug ban in April.
McAuliffe, a driving force in Azzopardi’s comeback to racing, said he was proud of her return.
“She’s always ridden really, really well,” McAuliffe said.
“I had to pull her aside last week and said she was just trying too hard.
“You just have to let things happen with horses and keep them comfortable.
“She responded really well to it and I couldn’t be more proud of her.”