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Chau excited for new adventure

DSC-0833.jpgBy Jordan Gerrans

For much of Allan Chau’s time within the racing industry, after he would ride a galloper on race day he would follow a regular process.

He would jump off, quickly chat to the owners and trainer in the saddling enclosure about how he thought their horse went and where he believes the galloper can proceed to going forward.

From then on, his mind was mostly free – joking that the horse was “no longer his problem after the race”.

Nowadays, a small team of young race horses are his “problem” 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year for the newly dual-licensed trainer and jockey.

After one of his horses goes around, his mind quickly turns to rehabilitation, planning for its next start and everything else in between. 

The 34-year-old had his first starters as a trainer on Saturday afternoon on the Gold Coast and his stable stepped it up a notch on Tuesday morning when two promising two-year-olds put together impressive trials at Doomben.

Chau, who splits his time between Brisbane and the Gold Coast, has been riding for 17 years and has been thinking of finding a new venture in racing for some time.

A family friend of his - A List Stud’s Chief Executive Officer Christopher Lee – had long pestered Chau with the idea around going into training.

A hoop that has won at Group 3 level and ridden around Australia, he admits he is now past his peak and prime as a rider when it comes to chasing feature success, so he decided to jump into the training world.  

“The owner of the A List Stud – which is a big supporter of mine – gave me an offer that was good to refuse and I had to say yes,” Chau said.

“He has always pushed and encouraged me to have an attempt at training.

“Every couple of months he would mention to me about having a go at training.

“He is a good family friend of mine and is involved with all the horses in my stable at the moment.

“The riding ranks are getting harder; it is tougher to get good rides with lots of good jockeys going around.”

Chau took his first two rides as a trainer last Saturday at Aquis Park, conceding he felt nervous and pressure for the first time in a while at the races.

As a hoop that had battled injuries over the years – including a broken neck – Chau had long wondered what he would do post-riding.

Chau had been around gallopers that A List Stud had produced for some time, riding them in track work, and knew if he was to go into training their cattle on a full-time basis, they would be more than competitive.

All six of the horses in Chau’s barn to kick off his training career will carry the colours of the A List Stud ownership group – including impressive triallers from Tuesday morning in Proud Of You and Russian Warrior.

The A List Stud are originally based in Victoria but are working to expand around Australia.

Russian Warrior
Proud Of You

DSC-3049.jpgThe pair are Magic Millions-eligible and while Chau is not getting ahead of himself, the trainer and connections have one eye on the Gold Coast early next year with the duo, as well as  I Am So Fluffy, who also went around on Tuesday at the trials.

“Two of them really stood out on Tuesday, especially the little colt,” he said of Proud Of You.

“He is the stand out of all of mine at this stage.

“He ticks a lot of boxes and has the right temperament and nature.

“He has the ability to back it up and the filly – Russian Warrior - she is forward and independent.”

Luke Dittman partnered the two trial winners earlier this week – which is likely to be the case when they step out for the first time on race day – with Chau in the saddle of I Am So Fluffy, who ran just over two lengths behind the winner in her trial.

They are set to head to the races for the first time in the next fortnight.

With regulations about being dual-licensed restricting Chau to 10 in work at his stable, he is likely to keep his numbers to single digits in the short term before likely giving up his licence to ride at some point in 2022 to pursue training full-time.

Having ridden and worked for countless trainers across his career, Chau will take bits and pieces from what he has learnt over the years into his own team, as well as aiming to put his own personal touch on the operation.

“I am trying to build up my own style as a trainer,” he said.

“People that I have worked for or have been a track work rider for, they have their own method to find success in their way.

“Recently I have had a bit of success for a guy like Michael Costa, who is a new style of trainer, who goes by statistics and strike-rates and things like that, where the horse is going for their routines and their preparation.

“There is different ways, everyone has their own style and hopefully in the next couple of years I am able to develop my own kind of style and pattern.

“I have ridden for many different trainers and in different states and I have seen lots of different ways to suit different kind of horses and scenarios.”