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Spotlight On: Jonah Hutchinson

10 June 2024

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“Success seems to be connected with action.” And there’s always action when it comes to young trainer/driver Jonah Hutchinson.

If you’re ever around the densely horse-populated area of Logan Village and surrounding suburbs, there’s a fair chance that you’ve seen a grey Mazda BT-50 ute towing an Otto Tuza horse float with the name Jonah Hutchinson emblazoned across it.

He’s a young man on the go!

Hutchinson, 24, prepares his team of pacers with his partner Paige Bevan, 21, from his parent’s 15-acre property at Logan Village. But it comes with a catch - there’s no training track on the farm.

So, here lies the problem. Hutchinson and Bevan rise daily at 4.30am and get to immediate work with their pacers, feeding and caring for them before loading them up and hitting the road to perform their daily exercise.

And the choice of training track has varied over the past couple of months.

The young couple have been regularly spotted at the Marburg showgrounds (a two-hour round trip) or down the road at the property of Murray Thomas while in recent times, they’ve been heading to the stables of Grant and Trista Dixon at Tamborine.

A new training facility for harness participants only can’t come quick enough!

“Look, it’s probably not ideal given how much time is spent on the road, but it is what it is. We’re certainly grateful that my parents have allowed me to set-up their property so my horses have a good base, but it’s not conducive to having a track put down given the landscape,” Hutchinson said.

“We have 15 in work while there’s another seven or eight spelling at different farms around the area. Getting our own property is the dream but it’s not easy given the current climate. We’re really appreciative of the help that both Murray plus Grant and Trista have provided.”

Paige Bevan and Jonah Hutchinson with Blissfulday.

Hutchinson is a rarity given he doesn’t hail from a racing family.

His interest in horses comes from his schoolyard mate and now established driver, Leonard Cain.

Bevan is no stranger to horses. She originally hails from the Riverina and competed in mini trots as a youngster.

Working for several stables over the years has paved the way for Hutchinson while a stint in Sydney working for Shane Tritton has certainly opened some doors.

Over the years, several well-travelled pacers owned by former HRNSW chairman Rex Horne and Leon Jurd have found their way to the Hutchinson stables and with solid success.

“I met Leon during my time in Sydney and once I moved back home, he rang out of the blue and offered me a mare to train called Rousey. She did a super job winning her first six starts before being sold not long after,” Hutchinson said.

“Since then, there’s been several others head my way including the likes of Timely Sovereign, Matai Reactor, Foveaux Major and more recently War Club. They’ve been great for the stable and it’s a good relationship.

“My best horses have been Lets Blaze, Shez Notorious, Favreau, and Motu Cullen while Torque To The Max, Foveaux Major and Tactfilly Magic have been more than handy. Blissfullday is another horse that deserves special mention because that’s Paige’s favourite; he was her first winner as a trainer.”

WAR CLUB Next Racing

With huge overheads, the young couple are aiming for a winner per week as a trainer while catching any pick-up drives is a bonus.

Last year was a career best season for Hutchinson with 55 winners, while Bevan is certainly in-demand as a concession driver. The lightweight driver grabbed a career high 33 winners last season, while that number should easily be eclipsed this year.

“My ute is three years old, and it’s already got around 250,000km on the odometer. It’s basically back at Mazda every month getting serviced, so I know the staff well now while the tolls continue to rise,” Hutchinson said.

“I do my own shoeing to keep costs down. I’ll be carrying out that job while Paige is normally prepping the horses in readiness for the races. We’re taking the racehorses to Grant and Trista’s now and the babies are getting done around at Murray’s.

“The racehorses are the focus but in recent times I’ve tried to introduce new young stock to the stable, I’ve bought from the yearling sales and focused on getting QBRED stock. Earlier this year, I bought from all three sales in Queensland, one each from Australian Pacing Gold and Nutrien while we picked up three from Redcliffe.

“The QBRED system is easily the best in the country and while the older horses have and continue to play their role, introducing the younger talent is a step in the right direction. Having Grant and Murray to lean on for advice is a huge help, I’ve got hope for Boston Harbour and I’ve learnt a heap already from Grant and how he goes about it so here’s hoping he becomes a nice horse in time to come.”

Hutchinson with Lets Blaze.

Hutchinson is effusive in his praise for Dixon, a future Hall of Fame horseman, with the way he prepares his young horses.

“He’s incredible and I’ve gained so much knowledge in a short space of time working alongside Grant, he’s quite unbelievable to learn under,” he said.

“The times my two-year-olds were running wasn’t even close to what he was doing, but the whole build-up was opposite to the way I was going about it.

“If a training facility is ever built, we would be keen to take up a spot. We’ve even discussed moving to Menangle, but we’re happy with the progress of our stable being made up here. It just highlights how important a training facility actually is for this state.”

In the meantime, Hutchinson will continue to ply his trade and gain as many winners as possible plus, rack up even more kilometres on his trusted vehicle.

As we now know, he’s a man about town.

Hutchinson with Shez Notorious.