Welcome to the first of my regular blog posts in which I'll be offering my thoughts on our stable, key runners, and wider racing industry issues. Communication is something we're really working on at the stable, not just to owners but to the wider racing public, and these blogs form part of that.
April 28th – Rebuilding for a winning era
Like everyone else in this town, I love my footy and thankfully my team, the mighty Hawks, are enjoying an exceptional run of form.
Since 2007 the Hawks have won three flags, including the last two back to back, and were runners up in 2012. They've finished in the Top 8 in seven of those eight years and have won far more often than they've lost.
It's fair to say it has been pretty easy to be a Hawks supporter in recent seasons!
But before this golden age began, Hawthorn went through a tough period and finished outside of the Top 8 for five years running. In the footy world they call this a "rebuilding period" and Carlton fans would know all about that phrase this season as coach Mick Malthouse works hard to rebuild their once great club.
I remember how tough it was to watch the Hawks during those years but each week there were always signs that better days lay ahead as young guns gained important experience and grounding and game plans began to take shape.
I can't help but feel that my stable is going through the same stage at the moment as the team and I rebuild and recruit again after a successful first five years of operation.
The Racing.com form card shows that I haven't had a winner since Christmas Eve last year, a day I went within a head of a double, but I'm not as worried as some might be by that bare statistic.
I've started 23 different horses during that time and of that 23, nine have either been retired and rehomed or sold by their owners because they simply didn't have the ability to have a successful racing career, call it "list management" in footy terms.
Of the remaining 14 horses, I reckon 3 are genuine senior players, 4 have the potential to be very good but need experience, while the other 7 are solid performers that can fill niche positions around their various benchmark ratings but will never get regular senior game time.
I've also changed stables and now have a dual base operation on course at Cranbourne and at the beach at Corinella.
What the form stats don't say is that the young recruits that I've picked up in the last two yearling sale "drafts" are showing more than enough to say they will enjoy successful careers in town. But instead of rushing them into the senior team to land a few wins, I've had to be patient with them to make sure they develop into top class 200-game players and not burned out could-have-beens.
In my opinion finding that patience and having confidence in yourself is a big challenge that many young trainers face these days. The pressures of running a stable are always there – bills, finding owners, managing staff – and quick success is often seen as the answer to all those problems.
But I'm hoping that patience and careful planning will translate to a far longer winning era for my team later this year.
Just like the Hawk's young guns, I'm sure my young colts and fillies will provide plenty of excitement once they are ready to hit the track, it's just a matter of giving them the time they need.