By Duane Ranger
Blowing two discs in his lower back ultimately led to Jurgen Strohschon training his first winner at Redcliffe Paceway last Thursday afternoon.
Up until about a decade ago Strohschon had spent all his working life as a carpenter in his hometown of Brisbane.
“The industry took its toll on my body, and 10 years ago Cheri (wife) and I decided to move to Calvert. I pottered around the home, while Cheri worked, and then about three years ago I ran into ‘Crossy’ (Ray Cross).
“He lived down the road, and I did some farm work for him - and then before long I was helping him with his horses. That was my first introduction to harness racing. Up until then I had never even touched a horse,” Strohschon said.
“In fact, Kid Calvert was one of the first horses I ever drove,” the 45-year-old added.
Kid Calvert is more than just the first pacer that Strohschon worked. He will forever go down as the first horse he trained to win.
Not only did he just get up in time in the fourth event at ‘The Triangle’, but Kid Calvert also earned Strohschon a $10,000 QBRED Bonus.
Not bad for a three-figure purchase!
“What an adrenalin rush! I couldn’t believe what was happening. I was watching the horse and listening to the commentator. To win was great but to also get a QBRED $10K bonus, well that was special. What a great initiative. I’m extremely grateful.
“Even less than a week later it’s still hard for me to take in. If you had said to me when I left school in the early 1990s that I would have trained a harness racing winner, I would have laughed at you. I got my carpentry apprenticeship and that was supposed to be my lifetime career.
“But now I even own the horse as well. Life can be real strange sometimes,” Strohschon said.
Kid Calvert and Matt Elkins drew the ace in Thursday’s $5,200 Comfort Inn Northgate NR 30 - 49 Pace.
They sat in the trail throughout, before getting the passing lane run to win by a nose - in the last stride.
The Ray Cross-bred Badlands Hanover gelding paced the 1,780m mobile in 2:12.7 (mile rate 2:00.0). His sectionals were: 30.9, 30.9, 29.6, and 29.5.
The 6-year-old bay has now won two of his 87 starts, placed in 12 others, and banked just under $20,000.
Strohschon has had 21 starts with Kid Calvert, with a second on the same track on November 7 his previous best placing.
“I followed Ray around the race meetings, and after I got my strapper’s licence, he suggested I apply for my trainer’s licence – which I did. It was because of ‘Crossy’ I fell in love with horses.
“Ray left for Victoria about six months ago, and I got my licence just before then. He left me the horse and as a mark of respect to him I use the same three training colours (red, white and black) he has on his silks.
“I’m really loving the training. I’m still very green and am mixing with industry people who have given their lifetime to the sport.
“Crossy got me into the game and he is one of three people I owe a lot of gratitude to. The others are Warren Hinze and his daughter Lacey.
“They let me work my horse, and theirs, at Calvert and they have taught me so much. I enjoy it so much I try and get there seven days a week if I can. The horse is going so well because of them,” Strohschon said.
“I’m hooked. Maybe one day I’ll get another horse, but for now I’m more than happy learning by helping out Warren and Lacey,” he added.