Gippsland: Mildura maiden tops Aussie Cup
By Damien Donohue, September 11, 2019 - 8:13 AM

There were plenty of big races contested in Australia last Saturday and plenty of delighted connections afterwards, but it’s doubtful there was a more excited, satisfied and relieved trainer than young Cranbourne trainer Aaron Laing.
Laing, the 28-year-old son of outstanding horseman Robbie, made the long trek from Cranbourne to Mildura to land his first winner as a trainer, combining with jockey Christine Puls and seven-year-old gelding Hold Infinity to take out the Mildura Holden Genuine Parts and Service Maiden Plate (1100m).
Working a small team (currently seven), from a property at Clyde, Laing has held his trainer’s licence for less than 12 months, having previously held a pre-trainer’s licence. 
Hold Infinity was his 26th starter and three agonisingly close seconds were distant memories just after 2pm on Saturday.
Even after a few days to reflect, Laing’s excitement was still evident.
“It was literally the best day of my life, a dream come true,” he told me.
Laing works his team at the Cranbourne training centre, utilising the Carrum beach for “easy days”. 
He uses a combination of training and conditioning techniques gained while working at various times for his father, Richard Laming, Ciaron Maher and Darren Weir.
As a youngster, Laing strapped 2006 Australian Cup winner Roman Arch, which had been his favourite day at the track until a trip to Mildura in early September 2019 changed that.
Hold Infinity has now had 11 starts for Saturday’s win, a second and $24,010. He will now target a benchmark 58 handicap at bet365 Park Kyneton next Friday (September 20).
Trainers on the mend
It’s great to hear that Cranbourne trainers Robbie Griffiths and Bruce Purcell are both on the road to recovery.
Griffiths, recovering from brain surgery, is currently resting at home. Although he still gets tired, his progress is in line with expectations. We can expect Robbie back at the track in six to eight weeks, training plenty of winners.
Purcell sustained a number of serious injuries, including swelling on the brain and a fractured skull, when he was trampled by a spooked horse at the Cranbourne Training Centre in early July.
The 76-year-old is making a steady recovery after being placed in an induced coma following the early-hours trackwork incident.

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