By Jordan Gerrans
A subtle push from his son – who is a keen thoroughbred owner – has led Townsville’s Robert Rix back to the training game for the first time in over a decade.
Last starting a galloper in his own name in November 2007, the Rix stable is back at Cluden Park this Friday afternoon with Danites and Coastal Prince to mark their return.
Rix’s son, Damien, owns the duo, after he initially purchased consistent North Queensland horse Jemadar around 12 months ago, which sparked the family's interest back into the thoroughbreds.
The Rix's have a long history in both codes of racing in NQ, heavily involved in the harness industry in the early days, before crossing to the gallopers.
Jemadar has since been retired after winning seven races from almost 60 starts, which led Damien to search out Danites and Coastal Prince.
“My son bought one on an online auction about a year ago and we were going down to the stables and seeing him,” Robert recalled.
“More or less, that got the spark back going again.
“He has gone and bought a couple more and asked me if I would get a licence again and that is how it has come about."
Although he has been in the racing wilderness since late 2007, Rix has 55 victories to his name since 1995.
The 2007 Australian equine influenza outbreak pushed Rix away from training all those years ago.
The returning Rix stable is based at Bluewater, which is 30kms north of Townsville, and also allows them to work their horses on the beach.
“It is tough on the body, I have not got any younger, that is for sure,” Rix said with a laugh.
“But it hasn’t been too bad, my son gives me a hand as he loves the horses too.
“It is good when you see them go good, it gives you a good feeling, all that is still there.
“The horses have been doing well.”
Rix’s father Jack was a stalwart of the harness racing industry in North Queensland before he sadly passed away a couple of years ago.
Described as a highly respected horseman, Jack had his last starter Bistro Star in Townsville in 2005, the same horse was his last winner in June 2005.
Jack trained many winners in his career including multiple winners Nells Son, Condorman, Smokey Gaze, Duarango Kid, Oh Lord, Torpid Boy, Commander Byrd, Freedom, Wipe Out, Attaviros and Captain Sunshine, among others.