By Jordan Gerrans
In his youngest days around thoroughbred racehorses, Brisbane trainer Will Hulbert recalls Australian Racing Hall of Famer Vo Rogue down at Nudgee Beach.
Since he has taken on the co-trainer duties with his father Peter, the younger Hulbert has followed that same path that champion Vo Rogue used throughout his stunning career all those decades ago.
Will and stable apprentice, Adin Thompson, are down at Nudgee Beach two or three times a week, walking their horses in the water, working on their joints, as well as getting them away from the hustle and bustle of a busy morning at Doomben or Eagle Farm.
Will points to Listed level winner, Hail Manhattan, who he describes as “silly” around the stables, but once he sets foot on the beach, the gelding is placid as they come.
“We see massive benefits; the older horses’ joints and hooves, they love it, and even the younger horses with the mental side of things for them, it is just refreshing,” Hulbert said.
“We like it ourselves as humans and naturally the horses do as well.
“Rarely do you see horses play up down at the beach, quite often the horses that are naughty at the track in the city, they come to the beach and relax, which Hail Manhattan is a perfect example of that.”
With the TAB Queensland Winter Racing Carnival in full swing, with 10 action-packed Saturdays set for 2021, Hulbert expects to see the big southern stables down at Nudgee over the coming months, just as he did with Vo Rogue all those years ago.
It is not just the Hulbert barn who use the local beach, with several from around Brisbane regulars there.
“I have been coming here my whole life and I can remember as a kid seeing Vo Rogue being down here,” he said.
“Everyone has used Nudgee Beach for as long as I can remember."
Following Trekking's first-up effort on Saturday in the Group 2 Victory Stakes, Goldophin's Nacim Dilmi was quick to take the multiple Group 1 winner down to Nudgee on Sunday morning for a recovery walk.
Being 15 minutes down the road makes it an easy trip to head across to Nudgee after the mornings work at Doomben or Eagle Farm.
Claiming the Tattersall’s Members’ Cup at the Sunshine Coast earlier this year was the first at Listed level for apprentice jockey Thompson and the father-and-son training partnership of Peter and Will Hulbert.
Just weeks before the big breakthrough triumph, Hail Manhattan started his beach work.
“I see a lot of benefits, mostly with the older horses, I always notice that it gives them just a little bit more relief,” Thompson said.
“We also like bringing the young horses down here, it gives them half an hour to be able to switch off completely.
"When they go to the track they can get arked up, but when they come here, they can switch their minds off, which horses like Hail Manhattan loves.
“We only just started taking Hail Manhattan just before he won the Listed race on the Sunshine Coast, I am not sure if that helped, but he has been a really good horse.”