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What is your background in Queensland racing?
I started shoeing horses when I was a teenager and I just went on from there. I took out a trainer’s license 10 years ago with my son Peter and I’ve been fortunate enough to kick a few goals since then. I’m a butcher by trade and when I turned 50 I decided to try something new. Some people have affairs, some people buy Harley Davidson’s and I started training horses. I’ve won the premiership in Cairns probably 6 or 7 times in the last 10 years.
Tell us about your operation? How many horses do you have in work and how many staff do you employ?
I’ve got 20 in work and my wife and my son work with me every morning and afternoon. I have a full time stable hand and I have casual staff in.
What do you love about racing?
I just love the animals, they say it’s the sport of kings and until you’re involved in it, you don’t realize what a great sport it is. I love the atmosphere on race day. What I really enjoy is when you have a couple of horses owned by 10 or 20 people, and It doesn’t matter on the day whether they own the horse outright or they own its tail, it’s their horse and to see the excitement and expression is unreal, its really really good.
Tell us about the horse you have qualified for the final?
He’s a loveable villain in the stable. He’s not a nasty horse but he likes to play and have a bit of a nip at you. Apart from that, he’s a nice horse and he’s balanced up. He’s easy to train and in saying that I think he’s a big chance. After a freakish win in Townsville last year I made a statement that he’s one of the best horses I’ll ever train. Barring bad luck, he’ll be right in the thick of things down there.
What do youthink of the Battle of the Bush concept and what it would mean to win?
I think it’s really fantastic that Racing Queensland have thrown sponsorship and put some emphasis on country horses, trainers and jockeys. As anybody knows, people from the country travel for hours to go to a race meeting and work as hard as anybody in the industry, and for anybody to even get in it, and even win it, it’s just huge.