Katie Cox the Queen of Addington

By Michael Guerin

Katie Cox has one of the best juvenile pacers in the country but now she has to figure out what to do with him.

Cox was crowned the Queen Of Addington on Friday night as she trained and drove It’s Tough to win the Avon City Ford Welcome Stakes on debut over another debutante in A Little Silence.

Winning a race as renowned as the Welcome Stakes at your first start is a massive deal but It’s Tough did it running past two All Stars-trained favourites in Bronson and Major Hot after they had led and trailed.

When All Stars two-year-olds lead and trail in major races we all know what happens next, right? Well clearly It’s Tough hadn’t read that script.

The son of Bettors Delight went from three back the inner to the one-one and when he was supposed to be dropping off he kept coming and grabbed A Little Silence with the favourites relegated to third and fourth.

“I think it was the Bettors Delight kicking in,” smiles Cox after her first group race training success.

“We have always liked him but it is hard to go into a good race against the All Stars ones and expect to win.

“We you only have small numbers in work you have to be lucky to get a horse like him.”

The popular 33-year-old trainer got It’s Tough in part because she would occasionally drive his dam, five-win mare Cullen’s Mercy, for Ray Reekie and when he bred It’s Tough it was Cox who got to educate him and then keep him to train when Reekie bought in a big team of owners, retaining a share himself.

That big ownership group is one of the reasons It’s Tough is not for sale, a golden situation for any trainer with a horse this promising as the offers would be coming thick and fast.

The only problem is being a home-bred It’s Tough is also not eligble for the Sires’ Stakes or Sales Series so now he has the Sapling Stakes as a target and then not much else until the back end of the season.

“Still, that is maybe not a bad thing. He is a big horse and if we have to give him a break it won’t be the worst thing,” says Cox.

The training group 2 was also the second leg of a driving double for Cox after she reined Time Up The Hill to win the Heather Williams Memorial for female trotters earlier in the night.

While she doesn’t train Time Up The Hill she knows the mare so well, being part-owned by her partner Craig Ward and trained by his father Michael.

“To have two horses who mean so much to us win on the same night is massive,” says Cox.

“She is a lovely mare, so fast for a trotter so it really has been a special night.”

Her driving success on It’s Tough also took Cox to 99 career wins but more importantly made for the type of feelgood story seen so rarely on premier nights.

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