Belford is a lifelong dog man but has only recently emerged as one of the state’s best, due to the health of the industry.
“In all my time training here things haven’t been better, trainers are buying dogs for more money because they know they can earn it back,” he said.
“I myself have only come back to training the last couple of years, I’ve always done it on and off.
“My old man was a trainer in Brisbane, but this is the first time I’ve had a good run at it full-time.
“We’ve got trainers coming back to the sport who gave it away 15 years ago because the money’s got to the stage they can afford to do it.”
The 2020 edition of the North Queensland Cup has attracted three cracking heats, and Belford is represented with one runner in each, but his most well known is Murphy Rumble in Heat Two, who will look to defend title through adversity.
“He’s had a few issues of late; he got hurt around Townsville Cup Time and we’ve had a bit of trouble getting him back, I’d say he’s a little underdone but he deserves the chance to try to defend his crown,” Belford said.
“He’s getting older and he’s not going as well as he was this time last year, but if he can find a way through the heat, he’ll be much better off for the final.
“He’s drawn well in the two, I’d be very surprised if he wasn’t in front at some point in the run, that’s an ideal box from the 498 start.
“It’s a pretty hot heat as well; Bubbles And Brie, Stratford, On The Buses, Tipsy Four, they’re all chances.”
Murphy Rumble has had some sort of a career, 24 wins for Belford with 21 of those coming at his home track - he even made the grade in Sydney.
“I’ve had to adjust my expectations for him, this time last year he had a clean sweep of just about every feature we had up here including the North Queensland Cup, I’m hoping he can bring his best for this race,” he said.
“He had a stint down in Sydney after that with his brother Rumble Master who he’d been beating at home, but he won 11 races down there to Murphy Rumble’s one, so I was pretty keen to get him back home.
“It was tough sledding down there, both of them had won too many races to be well graded, but I’m definitely happy they both got the opportunity to see how good they were.”