I became involved in the industry through my family, in particular my father, who have been heavily involved with racing for generations, predominantly as trainers. I always loved being around the horses and it felt very natural to be around them, so it didn’t take long to convince my father to let me work with him during the school holidays and weekends. In my late teens, I rode track work almost everyday before school and traveled around NSW on the weekends strapping dad’s horses. Once I had finished school I started working for top international trainers around the world to learn other skills and other methods before finally coming home at 21 and starting my own business.
THE MOST ENJOYABLE ASPECT OF YOUR JOB?
I love seeing a horse reach their full potential, whether it is a Bathurst Maiden win or a stakes race. Knowing that I played a role in developing an animal that is so unique into a powerful athlete is a really satisfying thing. Each horse has their own idiosyncrasies, personalities, and physical requirements and I love trying to figure each individual out so that I can get them to perform at their very best.
HIGHLIGHT SO FAR
My first winner, which happened to be at Randwick was a huge thrill. I was 22 and the horse was a filly named fathingstone, she was tiny, almost the size of a pony but she had a huge heart and would try so hard every time she raced. I threw her in the deep end effectively when a lot of people around me were insistent I kept her at provincial level but I felt she was better than that so I raced her at Randwick and she won. I was so proud of her that she had tried so hard against some top horses and I think it was simply her never give up attitude that got her home that day!
2013 BIG IMPROVER
I have a few really nice young horses at the moment but one I particularly like that I think will make a decent horse is called Budderoo Dragon. He is possibly 12 months off at least from reaching his full potential as he lacks a lot of immaturity at the moment but he gives me a fantastic feel when I ride him and has been somewhat impressive in his barrier trials.
IF YOU HAD A DAY OFF FROM TRAINING HORSES ON A SATURDAY, HOW WOULD YOU SPEND IT?
Its actually a real treat to be able to relax at home on a Saturday and watch all the live coverage from the racetrack on television. Other than that I am quite a social person and enjoy just catching up with my friends for coffee, lunch etc. Everybody works long hours in this industry so its nice to be able to relax and just hang out with the people who are important to you.
GABRIELLE IN FIVE YEARS
I would like to think that my career has progressed and my stable increase in size. I have about 8-10 in work at a time and in 5 years I would like this to at least double. Its a tough game but my ultimate goal is to get horses racing consistently well and giving their connections a thrill.
YOUR PERSONAL ‘LEG-UP’?
I think when running a business or dealing with a 500kg animal training for a very specific purpose you have to have confidence in your own ability and trust your instincts. There has been quite a few times in my career so far when I have been given advice and sometimes it has been great and other times I know I should have used my own judgement and instincts. Many of the worlds greatest leaders and businessmen have got to where they are because they don’t always work from a text book, they think outside the box and what their gut feeling is and I think when it comes to training a horse, you have to rely on that more so than other professions. Each horse is different and nobody knows that horse better than the trainer so you really have to stand firm with your judgements and back yourself.
Source : YPR Newsletter – Leg Up (edition 4)