There’s a photo on Darrell Burnet’s Instagram page of him and a young Super One colt on the ground together in the round yard.
The horse is a bit quirky, nervous, and unsure of himself as he’s begun the education process to be a racehorse. Laying down with the animal is a method the 26-year-old horseman says he doesn’t use often.
Burnet says “there’s potential in every horse to be something” and he saw it in that young horse who would turn out to be Another One – the 2022 Newhaven Park Country Championships Final winner.
He may not be an instantly recognisable name in the form guide but Burnet has, in the space of around five years, quickly made a name for himself behind the scenes.
But the fruits of his work as a breaker and pre-trainer can be seen on the track – and Another One is a prime example.
“The whole way through university I rode trackwork for Gary Colvin,’’ he said.
“He was the first one who gave me a breaker and that year he went to the sales and bought three yearlings. He dropped them off to break them in and at the time I was rapt I got three nice horses from the sales.
“Of the three Another One was the hardest to break in. He was really timid and reactive, and I resorted to a method I don’t use too often.
“I’d lay him down a few times and desensitise him. By the time we’d finished he was a really cool, relaxed, animal and his whole career he’s been cool and relaxed.”
It may not be widely known that of the 16 runners in Another One’s qualifying race at Wagga last year six had been educated by Burnet, and in 2023 six of the field had again been through his yard including the runner-up Our Last Cash.
“It’s the biggest race in the district and a large number of runners have come through my stable, that’s given me immense satisfaction,’’ he said.
“They are coming to me as babies and have graduated to the best race in in the district.”
So it was something of a special day for him, with his now wife Brittany Heywood and friends, to be at Randwick to watch that once timid horse win the $500,000 Final, ridden by his now brother-in-law Nick Heywood, for a trainer who took a chance on him and trusted him with his horses.
“To see Another One get that success, and Nick get that success, a horse I’d had a fair bit to do with was really exciting,’’ he said.
“We were right on the finishing post that day and I’ve never had a feeling like it. The way they position the Country Championships it’s just before the Group 1s start and it’s a big crowd and a huge atmosphere and it was a great feeling.”
Burnet says he’s always had an interest in racing and that’s a strange thing because most of his family don’t. He’s UK born but his father is Australian and the family moved to Australia when he was a young teen.
His father worked for well known owner Gerry Ryan and at 15 he found a job working weekends and school holidays for Mornington trainer Robert Kingston, who trained for Ryan.
He went to school with former jockey turned trainer Dylan Dunn and also had a dip at being a picnic jockey – but at six foot three those days were always going to be numbered and he retired on the day he rode his first winner, a horse called The Soprano, in 2015.
He moved on to work for Matt Laurie and then for Jason Warren while completing a Bachelor of Business and Commerce at Monash University before making the life changing journey to Wagga where he’d complete a Bachelor Degree in Equine Science.
“As much as I would have wanted a career in (Business) all I was doing was watching racing and skipping lectures to go strap horses,’’ he said.
“So it made more sense to do the degree in Equine Science instead because it was something I was passionate about and will always want to be involved in. I love being hands on with the horses.
“From a young age I loved racing. I remember as a kid in England being fascinated at Makybe Diva. Some people love footy, some love golf. I just love racing.”
Burnet is far from one-eyed about where his place in the industry might be in the future. It’s not lost on him how far he’s come and how fortunate he’s been to have already had success in a number of arenas.
It was education work for the likes of Mitchell Beer, who Burnet knew from his time working for Jason Warren, and Donna Scott that led to him taking out a trainer’s license. He was handed problem horses or barrier rogues as his first couple of runners to try turn around and make the best of it.
He trained his first winner Idle Fancy on New Year’s Day 2021, a horse who arrived at his stable with multiple embargoes and apart from leaving the jockey in the barriers his first start for Burnet the gelding performed impeccably after that winning two of his next three starts.
Around that time he ventured to the sales and spent $40,000 on a filly who would be named Supido Beauty, a winner of three of her five starts to date, and it’s fair to say she’s put him on the map to an extent as a trainer.
He’s outlaid $85,000 this year for an All Too Hard colt at the Classic sale, and recently celebrated his first breaking success for Peter and Paul Snowden when Magadan won at Warwick Farm plus his first international winner Bransom who won on debut in Singapore in February.
While Supido Beauty is the stable star he’d like to think with around 12 yearlings/two-year-olds, most unnamed, and a handful of tried horses on his hands there might be something special yet to be unlocked.
“I’m not in a rush to get huge numbers, I just want to get the right horses and win races and hopefully it snowballs from there,’’ he said.
“I’m really concentrating on getting yearlings and of those dozen if five of them can win nice races then the following year I’ll hopefully get more and that’s how I’ll try and build the stable up.
“Even if it takes me a while to get a yearling to the races, if I build my team up slowly, I’m hoping they will reward me.”
– This article originally appeared in the April 2023 edition of the Racing NSW magazine