“That’s 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 don’t win $150,000 races from the bush and you don’t 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 couldn’t do much with him. I couldn’t start him for the fear of cooking him.”
Westlink had only won one other race leading into Dubbo, but Hyde’s confidence was boosted by a phone call from Adam Hyeronimus’ manager before the qualifier.
“He rang about 10 days before the heat and asked if I had a jockey. He said Adam had watched the videos and wanted to ride Westlink,” Hyde said. “I didn’t know what to say other than yes.”
Westlink would sit on the speed and when Hyeronimus drove him to the front he kept lengthening the margin to more than three lengths.
“I really liked that because he made him do it, even when the race was won,” Hyde said. “He hopped off and said he would come and ride him wherever he was going next.
“The only race I could find between the heat and final was the Digger’s Cup at Cowra and Adam came and he won by three [lengths] again.
“Adam has always said that they are going too slow for him and once he gets to Randwick in a genuinely-run race he will improve. I hope he is right.”
Racing writer for The Sydney Morning Herald