By Duane Ranger
New South Wales businessman, Michael Taylor, has high praise for Racing Queensland and its juvenile trotting initiatives, so much so he could send more horses up here to race, and could even one day be tempted to throw in some sponsorship.
“I’m seriously thinking about sending my 3-year-old trotter, Speedway Queen up there, merely because of the enterprise, especially towards trotting, that your State body has shown in recent seasons.
“I really love what they are doing. It is a step in the right direction. My ‘fella’ certainly enjoys racing up there. I never thought I would ever have a trotter good enough to race at Albion Park, let alone on a Saturday night,” said Taylor, who owns the travel agency, ‘Taylor-Made Travel’ in Central Coast, NSW.
Taylor’s “fella” is Queensland Trotter-of-the-Year candidate, Empire Bay. The Wayne Graham trainee has won 19 of his 73 starts and placed in 19 others for $179,448 in stakes. Last season he won five races and placed on eight occasions from 27 starts, and banked $53,527.
The 6-year-old son of The Pres and Miss Adelade (by Monarchy), who is a former Group Two NSW Breeders Challenge 2yo winner, has also won four of his last five starts.
“I’ll be in Brisbane on Sunday night for the annual Awards, but I’m not holding my breath. I think he’ll probably be runner-up behind his old rival Our Overanova.
“They’ve had some great battles in recent times, and Our Overanova is a very good trotter. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if he won it again. Grant (Dixon) has got him going along very nicely,” the 64-year-old said.
“His Mother (Miss Adelade) won the Queensland Trotter-of-the-Year, and Trotting Mare-of-the-Year in 2009-2010,” he added.
Taylor said he purchased Miss Adelade, from New Zealand after she ran in the New Zealand 3yo Trotting Oaks at Addington Raceway on April 4, 2008.
“I remember watching the race, and although she finished eighth (of 14), I was really impressed with her run because she was three-wide and then parked, and stuck on well to finish 10 lengths from the winner (Lady Eskay).
“I rang her trainer and driver, Carl Middleton, after the race and asked if he wanted to sell her. He said yes and we negotiated a deal. She was exported on April 18, 2008,” Taylor said.
Miss Adelade placed in just two of her nine New Zealand starts, but went on to win 19 of her 149 Australian starts, and placed in 49 others for $113,838.
That is the same number of wins as her son, but Empire Bay has won $65,610 more in stakes.
“I couldn’t be happier with the way Wayne has got him bowling along. He was originally (April 2016) trained by Gavin Fitzpatrick and came to Queensland in November 2018. We came here to win the DJ Trot (Darrell Alexander Memorial Trotting Championship), and he’s been here since.
“He’s never been a good traveller, and even though the Auckland Interdominions (November and December) we’re a brief consideration, he will remain in Queensland for that very reason.
“I can’t speak highly enough of Wayne because he has not been an easy trotter to work out. Same goes for his driver, Peter McMullen. He’s really got to know the horse,” Taylor said.
Taylor added that Empire Bay was his only racehorse in Queensland, but he was tempted to bring his little 3-year-old half-sister here to compete.
“She (Speedway Queen) is by Crazed and has placed in five of her 11 starts for Brad Angove in Victoria. But the trotting incentives are becoming too good to resist in Queensland, so I’m seriously looking at bringing her north to Wayne,” said Taylor.
Taylor said he had been an avid race-fan since the early 1960s.
“I remember going to the races with my grandfather when I was a young boy and have been hooked since. I’ve owned a few horses over the years, but did not jump over the sponsorship fence until about 2007 and 2008,” said Taylor who has sponsored numerous trotting races including the NSW Trotting Oaks and Derby.
“I always felt there was a need for more recognition for young trotters, and that’s why I got into sponsoring them. I’m very impressed with the way Racing Queensland is heading. Their bonus incentive scheme is a winner,” he added.