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Australian Horse Racing Trainer Profiles
PETER MOODY - from Charleville in Queensland got his early racing experience working for some of the top stables in Australia including T. J. Smith & Colin Hayes. He spent 10 yrs. with Bill Mitchell in Brisbane before taking out his training License in 2001. First Group 1 win with Amalfi in the Victoria Derby 2001and after setting up satellite stable at Caulfield decided to move his operation to Victoria. He rapidly established himself as a rising star and won his first trainers premiership in 2009/2010. In a short time he has become a leading figure amongst the Victorian training ranks. Responsible for many highly successful runners teamed with leading stable jockey, Luke Nolen, his most famous stable star to date is the exceptional unbeaten mare Black Caviar who retired in 2013. Peter Moody's website.
Australian Racing Report's independent guide to the top horse racing trainers in Australia.
MARK KAVANAGH - worked as a jumps jockey for 12 years and claims to have ridden 3 Melbourne cup winners despite never having competed on the flat. His mother used to cook for the next door neighbour’s racing stables and as a youngster he got to ride Light Fingers, Galilee and Red Handed at Bart Cummings' place. Took a trainer’s license in 1991 training in Mt. Gambier. After initial early success moved to Adelaide in 2000 and in 2003 bought his stables in Morphettville, then followed a dream to train from Flemington where he quickly began to make his mark. Has been a consistent high achiever and among other achievements won the Adelaide Cup 2004, Blue Diamond Stakes 2005 and Emirates Stakes 2006. Faced some highs and lows 2007 when Devil Moon, Divine Madonna and Maldivian were all Group 1 winners, but Caulfield Cup favourite Maldivian was a late scratching after becoming injured in the barriers. The horse recovered to win the following year’s Cox Plate. In 2009 Mark cemented his place in Melbourne’s top training echelons when Shocking won the Melbourne Cup at good odds, he then found success again with the talented mare Atlantic Jewel. Mark Kavanagh's website.
THE FREEDMANS – The Freedman family has strong historical racing links with brothers Lee, Anthony, Richard & Michael all involved in the industry today. Their great grandfather Bill (Midge) McLachlan was a jockey who won (among many other things) three Melbourne Cups (1909, 1910, 1917) and two Caulfield Cups (1908, 1909). His son, ‘Young Bill’ was also a brilliant jockey and is credited as the first Australian jockey to ride for England’s Royal Family. Their father Tony Freedman is the son of Bill’s daughter, Maude. The young Freedman brothers honed their horsemanship skills at his thoroughbred breeding farm in Yass until Tony suggested they move to their own stable complex in Melbourne in 1984. Sadly Tony died shortly after the move to Melbourne, but his inspiration led Lee to become the head of what would become one of Australia’s most important training establishments. Initially working with his brothers as the FBI (Freedman Brothers Incorporated) the operation grew rapidly with their first Group 1 Miss Clipper in the Australasian Oaks at Morphettville 1986, then training the Quinella in the 1989 Melbourne Cup with Tawriffic and Super Impose. In 1991 Super Impose won the Doncaster- Epsom Double and in 1992 they won the Caulfield Cup with Mannerism, The Cox Plate with Super impose and the Melbourne Cup with Subzero. Lee Freedman won the Melbourne Trainers Premiership in ‘96/’97 and ‘97/98. In 2003 Lee moved the operation to Markdel, a purpose built modern establishment with training track and access to beach and sea for the horses near Rye. He took over care of the 2003 Melbourne Cup winner Makybe Diva, training her to defend her Melbourne Cup crown in 2004 and again in 2005, when she also won the Cox Plate. He had further success with the sprinting mare Miss Andretti. Along the way, Richard moved into a media role and Michael took up training in Singapore 2008. With 6 Premierships, 5 Melbourne Cups, 4 Caulfield Cups, 8 Derbies and 2 Cox Plates, Lee stepped back and handed over the training operation to brother Anthony in 2011, who returned to train at Flemington in 2013 where their Melbourne story began almost thirty years ago. Freedman.com.au
GAI WATERHOUSE - Gai has a very strong racing pedigree as the daughter of the legendary T. J. (Tommy) Smith but spent her early years as an actor in the U.K. where she appeared in a number of T.V. series including a brief stint in the iconic Dr Who with Tom Baker. By the time she returned to Australia, Tulloch Lodge was a very large operation and Gai took a big hand in the running of the business. Married to bookmaker Robbie Waterhouse who was involved in the Fine Cotton Affair and warned off racecourses for many years, this also prevented Gai from obtaining a training licence. After 15 years assisting Tommy and many attempts she was finally permitted a license in 1992 and trained in her own name for the first time. In her first year she won the A.J.C. Metropolitan Handicap and was second in the Melbourne Cup with Te Akau Nick. In 1994 Tommy retired handing control of Tulloch Lodge over to Gai. In ’95, among other successes, Nothin Leica Dane won the Victoria Derby beating Octagonal and came a gallant second to Doriemus in the Melbourne Cup. In the 96/97 season Gai beat of John Hawkes to win her first Sydney Premiership, but it would not be her last. An outgoing and forceful personality, she is usually spotted near the winners stall on race days and stands out both for her exceptional taste in fashion and her extraordinary skills as a trainer. Gai won her first Melbourne Cup trophy with the imported Fiorente in 2013. Gai Waterhouse's website.
GERALD RYAN - a successful jockey before moving into training in the early 90’s in Melbourne. Soon in the top rank of Melbourne trainers, moved to Malaysia for a short time before returning to Australia to take out a trainer’s license on the Gold Coast in 1998. Quickly picking up where he left off, rapid success followed allowing him to open up another stable at Rosehill. Gerald is one of Australia’s top trainers with many Group 1 winners to his credit and past winners now successful at stud like Racers Edge and Snitzel. Gerald Ryan's website.
DANNY O'BRIEN - Danny comes from an unusual background having first achieved degrees in Economics and Law before trying a life with horses. Strapped for Bart Cummings under stable foreman Leon Corstens, also a noted trainer in his own right. Danny took out his training licence in 1995 at Epsom, then moved to Flemington taking over Freedman’s old stables and has since added a purpose built modern training stables near Barwon Heads. He is in the front rank of the newer group of trainers making the old guard work for it and with Group 1 wins to his credit always has a major hand to play in the Spring & Autumn racing carnivals. Danny O'Brien's website.
CHRIS WALLER - first worked with the former New Zealand and well known Singapore trainer Paddy Busuttin in Foxton on the North Island and got his first taste of success in Australia during his time as a travelling foreman for the stable in 1992 with the horse Castletown when they managed a gallant 3rd behind Subzero and Veandercross in the 1992 Melbourne Cup at Flemington. Chris took over the Foxton Stables when Busuttin moved to Singapore. In 1998 he made the trip to Sydney with just one horse - Party Belle - and went home with the winners prize money in his pocket. Over time he established a small operation at Rosehill, eventually moving his operation there in 2003. By the end of the 2011 season with over 100 wins he had become the top trainer in Sydney, beating the Darley operation under Peter Snowdon and with Gai Waterhouse a close 3rd and has been top of the training premiership table ever since. Punters can make their lives a lot simpler by including every runner from the Waller stable in their Sydney selections. Chris Waller's website.
MICK PRICE - spent his first 10 years gaining experience with a number of trainers at Epsom (a training track near Mordialloc Victoria) and took out his own licence in 1991. With the closing of Epsom, moved into Lee Freedman’s old stables at Caulfield in 1996. Starting from only one horse to train in 1991, Mick has built his success and reputation as a first class horseman to where he has many Group 1 wins to his credit as one of the top trainers in Victoria. Mick Price's website.
PETER SNOWDEN - started as a rider in country racing and took out his trainer’s license working a small collection of horses. Joined the Ingham Bloodstock organisation as one of six foremen, soon promoted to manager under trainer Vic Thomson and then with John Hawkes. In the ten years with Hawkes, Peter was often seen in the media representing the stable. When Hawkes left to form a new training partnership with his sons, Peter became the trainer for Ingham. A short time later, Ingham Bloodstock and Woodland Stud was sold to the Darley Racing group, with approximately 230 employees and 1000 horses in training and at Stud in Sydney & Melbourne. Snowdon managed the Australian arm of one of the largest horse racing groups in the world until 2014, when he left Darley to take up his own family horse-training business with his son Paul and the support of Dynamic Syndications.
BART & JAMES CUMMINGS – James Bartholomew (Bart) Cummings AM began working as a lad for his father Jim, strapping his horse Comic Court when it won the 1950 Melbourne Cup. Granted a licence to train at Flemington in 1953. In an extraordinary career, he achieved his first trainer’s premiership in 1966 and during his career trained the winners of 12 Melbourne Cups, 5 times training the quinella. Bart has won every significant Group1 Race in Australia, many more than once, and been premier trainer in 3 states. His eye for a horse and his canny training methods are legendary, and while he is mostly known for training stayers also has 4 Golden Slippers to his credit. Bart's son Anthony is a trainer with his own successful operation and James Cummings is the fourth generation of his family to enter the racing industry. He worked at Patinack Farm in the stallions barns and at the age of 21 was given the position of Foreman at Bart’s stables Leilani Lodge. Granted a licence to train in 2013 when Bart and James entered into a co-training partnership. Bart & James Cummings website.
MIKE MORONEY – New Zealand born Mike Moroney began working with Paul Sullivan at the age of 16 and progressed to the position of Stable Foreman. In 1983 he obtained his training licence and after 16 yrs in New Zealand during which time he won 2 N.Z. Premierships he started to expand his operation into Australia. He first set up in South Australia in 1999 but after 2 yrs he made the move to Victoria. He now operates 2 successful stables both called Ballymore. He spends most of his time at Flemington and brother Paul looks after Matamata. Mike often transfers horses from New Zealand to Australia with success. While he is more often associated with middle distance to staying distance performers he has had success training two year old horses to win races such as the Blue Diamond Stakes and has had some top class stayers in the Melbourne Cup.
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DARREN WEIR - he has been around for quite a long time and is well respected as a country trainer, his high winning strike rate has also brought him plenty of success at the city tracks. He began his involvement with racing working for country trainers and spent time at Lindsay Park with the Hayes organisation on the breeding side of their operation, also worked in Ireland for various trainers. He spent some time as a horse breaker and even worked as a farrier so his background is varied and his horsemanship second to none. He became a trainer in his own right in 1995 and steadily built his team and contacts moving to Ballarat in 2001 and by 2005 was the leading trainer in country Victoria. He is now a competitive contender in the trainers premierships and is always a force to be reckoned with in the Country Cups. Darren Weirs Website.
MICHAEL, WAYNE & JOHN HAWKES – according to the Hawkes Racing Website, John Hawkes rode the first winner he ever trained at Strathalbyn in 1971. In those days dual licences to train and ride were permitted, but when this rule was revoked John made the decision to concentrate on being a trainer. Within a year, he trained the winners of a number of Group 1 races including the Victoria Oaks. Moving to Melbourne in 1989, he trained for Jack & Bob Ingham at Epsom before taking over as the head trainer for their operation at Warwick Farm. John’s impressive record of winners include champion horses such as Octagonal and his son Lonhro, he was inducted in the Australian Racing Hall of Fame on 2004. Wayne and Michael Hawke always enjoyed working at the dad’s stables after school and on weekends and it seems there is no other vocation they would have considered. They became an official racing partnership in 2008, the same year Bob Ingham sold his racing operation to Darley, and Team Hawkes continues to be a powerful force in Australian racing.
MATHEW ELLERTON & SIMON ZAHRA – Ellerton & Zahra have a promising racing partnership which began in 2009. Mathew began his career with David Moodie at Caulfield’s Hobson’s Lodge and was quickly elevated to the position of head trainer where he rewarded Moodie’s belief in his abilities by training many high profile winners. His first Group One winner was Black Bean at Randwick. Mathew’s cousin Simon Zahra is more often the public face of the partnership, and his enthusiasm for his work is obvious. Unable to wait to complete his education before joining the racing industry, he began working for John & Wayne Hawkes and was made stable foreman in Melbourne, a position he held for 6 years. Gaining his own training licence in 2008, he joined forces with Mathew and they have been going from strength to strength ever since. EllertonZahraRacing.
DAVID HAYES - from one of racing’s legendary families. His father Colin (C.S.) Hayes was a master trainer who dominated racing in Victoria and S.A. from the 1970’s to the 90's before handing over the training to David, who ran the Lindsay Park operation from 1990 to 1995 and was leading trainer in both Adelaide and Melbourne for 5 years before opening up the family business in Hong Kong where he trained for 9 seasons for 458 winners, twice the premier trainer in Hong Kong and always in the top four. David’s brother Peter successfully ran the Lindsey Park operation until his death in a light plane crash in 2001. David returned to Australia in 2005 to run Lindsay Park and once again was quickly recognised as the leading trainer in Adelaide and Melbourne. With a swag of Group 1’s to his credit including the Melbourne Cup, Cox Plate and Caulfield Cup, he is the only Australian trainer to win the Japan Cup with Better Loosen Up 1990. In 2008, the Lindsay Park Angaston was sold and the operation moved to a new training property at Euroa:- David Hayes website.