Horse Racing is one of the only sports where one single animal can take thousands on a ride of a lifetime. When thinking of this there are some big names that come to mind who have graced the turf and carried not only a nation but the world on their backs, horses such as Phar Lap, Sunline, Winx, Black Caviar and american champions American Pharoah, Sea Biscuit, Ruffian and recent triple crown winner- Justify.
For these elite and regal athletes, the beginning is always the same. They all start as a little foal scrambling to their feet in the wee hours of the morning. Some may never make the race track, while others will and for those special foals the greatness and immortality awaits. For the people lucky enough to be race horse owners, we classify these horses as “once in a life time” horses and all wish that we could own one just as good as the current champion. There are also the people lucky enough to work alongside the elite equine champions that provide entertainment for so many, these are the people who purely do the job for the love of the animal and gladly take pay that most would frown upon and deem unacceptable.
Getting a race horse to the track and performing at such an elite level is a team operation, trainers rely on their staff to keep the horses happy and healthy as well as reporting any issues with the horse so that they can be worked on. Then there are people like myself, while I am not directly involved with the horses my role is to nominate and accept them in the races the trainer has mapped out for them and to book the jockey’s (among many other tasks).
When I first started my role in the stable, there was part of me that initially felt weird about celebrating the success of the horses because I don’t own them and I am not so involved with them. Now that four months has passed and many stable wins under the belt, this is a feeling that has subsided. I can admit that now when one of the horses wins a race I have a little celebration at home and depending on if it was a provincial or city win depends on the size of the celebration. My tradition now for a city win is to spoil myself with Chinese food from my favourite restaurant and have some Cider as well. For the provincial wins it is usually just one or two drinks.
One of the biggest thrills of my job is seeing the owners so happy when their horse wins and seeing the joy in their faces when the winning photos are emailed to the stable. This is what racing is all about, sharing the excitement that comes with being involved with such amazing animals and a sport that can take so many people on the same ride at the same time. Having experienced the winning thrills myself, it is a feeling that I find hard to explain to people, it is simply indescribable when your horse is crossing the finishing post in first position and then working out the all important winning photo.
It has taken my a life time to reach my goals but there is definitely nothing holding me back now and every day I still pinch myself that I was able to turn my dream into reality and I get to share the thrills with some amazing people and the amazing Thoroughbred.