Richard Fahey was fighting back the tears after Zap came from last to first to claim a poignant victory in the bet365-sponsored Silver Bunbury Cup at Newmarket.
Earlier on Friday it emerged the trainer’s former apprentice Laura Barry had sadly lost her battle with cancer, aged 25. She was due to marry jockey Tony Hamilton’s brother, Ben Hamilton, on Saturday.
An emotional Fahey said: “She was a wonderful girl and will be truly missed. She was loved by everyone.
“She was a very tough girl, but had been suffering for a long time. She was just such a star and never complained.
“She came over as an apprentice from Ireland. She was a very helpful and very kind person.”
A field of just seven runners went to post for the consolation race for Saturday’s prestigious handicap, with Zap one of two runners for Fahey and owner Peter Timmins, along with Gallipoli.
The latter disputed the lead for much of the seven-furlong journey along with Saluti and Maksab, with Zap and PJ McDonald seemingly struggle to keep up at the rear of the field.
However, the complexion of the race changed late on as the pacesetters faltered and while 4-1 joint-favourite Swift Approval battled his way to the lead in the final furlong, it was 7-1 shot Zap who came home best of all to prevail by a head.
North Yorkshire-based Fahey said of the winner: “The decision was made not to run in the consolation race and if we got into the big one then fine, but when I saw there were only five runners I thought we had to have a go.
“I wasn’t planning to run in the race then two minutes before (declarations) I saw the race had cut up. I spoke to Peter, we declared them and we’ve ended up finishing first and third, so it’s fantastic.”