Trent Edmonds never lost faith in he and his father Toby’s ability to train horses but Saturday’s shock Gr.2 Missile Stakes victory by Hard Empire helped remind the wider racing public that the Gold Coast-based pair know what they’re doing when they have the right stock. Soon after the 9YO gelding upset the likes of Group One-winning mare Forbidden Love.
Trent posted on social media: “We haven’t forgotten how to train just had a rough trot that felt gooooood!!” Reflecting on the stable’s confidence-boosting Gr.2 win at Randwick, Edmonds yesterday opened up about the seemingly innocuous “tongue-in-cheek” Twitter post in the immediate afterglow of the new season success.
The landscape has changed dramatically in the more than six years since Edmonds Racing went to the 2016 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale, purchasing four yearlings for a combined $695,000. The sale reaped the stable the following year’s A$2 million Magic Millions 2YO Classic winner Houtzen, Gr.3-winning three-year-old sprinter Eptimum, and dual Listed-winning sprinter Whypeeo.
As Houtzen and company were showing their wares on racecourses in their home state and further afield, along with the tried horses of which Edmonds Racing built their brand, interstate trainers were also moving in on the Queensland segment of the Australian industry, and the competition for horses - and owners - intensified.
Champion Sydney trainer Chris Waller opened a satellite stable on the Gold Coast in 2017 and since then it has been seen as a destination for fellow trainers to expand their businesses, such as the now Dubai-based Michael Costa and, more recently, prominent trainer Annabel Neasham.
It’s far from doom and gloom, though, for the Gold Coast father-and-son team. Toby Edmonds trained 25 stake winners during his career, prior to officially bringing his son into the partnership in 2019, with the duo combining to win a further 15 stake winners, including the 2020 Stradbroke Handicap (Gr.1, 1400m) winner Tyzone (Written Tycoon).
Hard Empire has not had a dearth of trainers. He started his career in Tasmania with trainer Adam Trinder before joining Darren Weir and subsequently Richard and Chantelle Jolly ahead of finding his way to the Edmonds. The stable has won three races with the sprinter, including a victory over Aquis Farm’s Gr.1 winning sire Jonker in the 2020 Gr.3 George Moore Stakes.
While Edmonds is mindful of Hard Empire’s age, the 44-start veteran and winner of A$732,130 in prize money could race on this preparation interstate, having resumed with a luckless run in the Ramornie at Grafton.