By Duane Ranger
Promising Gold Coast reinsman, Jonah Hutchinson, has left his home State of Queensland, but Racing Queensland’s QBRED scheme could entice the 20-year-old back one day.
Hutchinson left to work for Shane and Lauren Tritton at Menangle at 3am last Sunday January 26. That was four days after his 5-year-old Camelot Hall mare, Torque To The Max, won a $10,000 QBRED bonus at Redcliffe Paceway.
“I was stoked she won because if she hadn’t I would have left her up here to qualify for her bonus. The QBRED incentive is brilliant. I paid only $500 for this mare.
“I’d like to send her back next season to see if she can get her $7,500 bonus,” Hutchinson said.
Hutchinson said he was now employed by the ‘Team Tritton’ until they left for the United States in May. Tritton (Shane) follows his father Peter, who has been training in the USA for several years.
“I’m really enjoying it down here. The horses seem to go a lot quicker. So far I’ve driven maybe 15 to 20 horses in work and none of them have gone slower than a 27 final quarter, and even then most are on the bit.
“It’s quite different. I’ll learn as much as I possibly can before Shane and Lauren leave. Then I’m not sure after that. I’ll be definitely staying here, but I’m not sure who I will be working for,” Hutchinson said.
“Ideally I would like to train my own team like I did in Queensland,” the Brisbane-born and Beenleigh (Trinity College) educated horseman said.
Hutchinson trained a team of nine in Queensland.
“I started off with a couple of horses and then when I had a bit of success the owners stuck by me and I managed to get more horses in my stable. I will always be grateful to them for that.
“I brought three down here with me, and two are spelling. The rest are with Murray Thomas at Logan Village,” Hutchinson said.
Despite Hutchinson’s parents, Jarod and Sally, also residing in Logan Village, he said he wanted to stay in New South Wales.
“I had a good year in Queensland and learnt quite a bit. I just feel Sydney is a better place to further my career for now, and that’s where I want to be.
“Torque To The Max and Tactfilly Magic are both reliable for a $7,500 QBRED bonus next year, so they will probably head back for that. For now I’m loving it at Menangle.
“Shane and Lauren a consummate professionals and I’ve already learnt a lot here and seen a new dimension in racing in just a few days.”
Hutchinson also excelled in rodeo and rugby league before injury ruined those careers. He has also worked for Gary Bond, Shane Graham, and Errol Cain before he went out on his own last season.
He’s ridden angry bucking bulls at rodeos at from Bowral, to Yatala, Toowoomba, and Warwick.
And thanks to natural rugby league ability, and family contacts in the United States, Hutchinson has played top level rugby league (hooker and half-back) in New York, Washington, Philadelphia and Los Angeles.
But two shoulder reconstructions within a couple of weeks of each other put paid to any thoughts of a return to the rodeo or league circuits.
“I’ve got a heap of screws in my shoulder and a lot of fake muscle, but it doesn’t affect my driving. The injury has healed now and I’m totally in control in the sulky.
“I don’t even think about it. It no longer fazes me. I’m just not up to the physical combat of bull-riding or footy any more.
“But you can’t beat that winning feeling that harness racing gives. I really enjoyed that drive. I want to make a career out of this sport. I love it,” Hutchinson said.
He said fellow New South Wales-based claiming driver, Leonard Cain, got him into harness racing.
“I’ve know Leonard since Grade Three, and he is the one who got me hooked. He knew from way back that I loved that winning feeling – and so does he,” Hutchinson said.
Hutchinson’s highlight in Queensland came on December 11 when he steered and Wavedancer and Im Sandy Bay, to his first driving double.
That was at Redcliffe Paceway. He also trained Im Sandy Bay that day. She’s a 5-year-old Somebeachsomewhere mare, who he rated the best in his stable.
“She’s with me and is spelling at the moment. I can’t wait to see her in full flight on the big, fast Menangle track,” Hutchinson said.