By Jordan Gerrans
As the biggest stables and the highest profile jockeys from New Zealand and Australia assemble on the Gold Coast this week, a local trainer who has had a licence for just over a month is aiming to upset them all.
The new-look TAB Queensland Winter Racing Carnival heads to the Gold Coast this week, with the day headlined by the Group 2 TAB A.D. Hollindale Stakes, with names like James McDonald, William Pike, Gai Waterhouse and Ciaron Maher jumping off the page.
While the marquee names and stables will have the turnstiles ticking over come Saturday, the little-known Jonny Field will be right amongst them all, hoping his three-year-old Tramonto can claim the Group 3 Gold Coast Guineas.
The Kiwi native has been around the world in racing, training and educating jockeys back home in New Zealand, living in the Ukraine, before moving to Australia and eventually settling on the Gold Coast in recent years.
He previously trained in his own right back home in NZ but only officially became a licensed trainer in Australia not long ago, starting a horse in his name for the first time early last month.
In his younger days, Field was a keen spectator and punter but didn’t get into horses until his early 30s, where he ran training programs for the unemployed and school leavers to get more people involved in the racing industry.
“I designed and ran the course from 1993 right through to 2009 before I sold the business to teach young people to work with thoroughbred horses - similar to a TAFE - but we were a private training establishment,” Field said.
“Our focus was trying to get young people to be apprentice jockeys, which can be tough at times, but we had 60 students graduate to race day ride with Linda Meech being the most successful of them all.
“She obviously came over to Australia and went great.
“That was how I first got into the game of racing and eventually got an owners and trainers licence in New Zealand, deciding to get a few racehorses so the students could see how they got trained and progressed to race day.”
He estimated he picked up 20 winners back in New Zealand.
“I had a horse that ran second to Winx’s mother in a Stakes race back home,” he said.
After selling his business across the ditch, Field moved to Ukraine for four years, explaining he wanted to live somewhere English was not spoken so he could challenge himself.
From Ukraine, he has eventually settled in Australia for the last six years, first working at Warwick Farm in Sydney for Godolphin, as he was keen to learn and educate himself around how the biggest trainers in the world operate.
He would often travel with some of their best horses for interstate carnivals, including Trekking and Kementari, among others.