By Jordan Gerrans
Coming from a varied background within the racing industry, up-and-coming Gold Coast trainer Michael Costa understands there is more to a stable than a fit horse come race day.
Working as a track work rider, stable foreman and steward in his earlier days, on top of studying equine science, acupuncture and massage, Costa has built up a unique resume compared to many other trainers in the Sunshine State.
Wearing countless different hats in the racing game has paved the way for an emerging powerful stable, and for the second season in a row the Costa team has one of the best strike rates in Australia.
As well as regular success at the races, Costa and his team present a professional outfit, diving head first into promoting themselves and the industry itself through extensive social media work as well as video productions.
While at the end of the day it is about having a horse that is fit and well at the races, Costa believes doing the “one percenters” on top of winning races will lead to his stable’s growth.
“You are trying to add value to your client data base, if you can have the barn that is adding the most value then hopefully the owners come and it becomes an arms race for the trainers to have the best horses in the barn,” he says.
“The way of the world, everyone is on their phones and everyone is expecting more video content - that is key.
“Being a trainer now is not just getting a horse fit, we are wearing many hats and one of those is being more of an entertainment marketing company than we are a training operation.
“I would love to just pot around the barn and train horses, if you are just doing that then you will not get the horses in the future.”
Gold Coast-based hoop Jag Guthmann-Chester is a regular at the Costa operation in the mornings and has developed into one of their main riders.
The 22-year-old says the Costa’s social media presence has helped bring new eyeballs into the racing industry and helped others understand more about his riding.
“The last few seasons I have built up a bit of a relationship with the Costa team and he is someone I like working for,” Guthmann-Chester said.
“He is a young trainer on the way up, he is very professional in the way he runs his stable and organisation, in the workplace and away from the workplace as well.
“He is big on the social media, keeping his owners and fans updated, and in today’s day and age, that is how it needs to be.
“He is an easy bloke to ride for and I like riding for him, he does not put pressure on me, he relies on me to get the job done.”