Unlike most horse trainers, Joe Pride does not hail from a family embedded in the racehorse industry. In fact, Joe initially studied psychology at Sydney University before his passion for racehorses took over.
He had to build his own legacy from the ground up and has enjoyed extraordinary success in a relatively short space of time. Joe's swift rise to the top of Sydney's training ranks can be attributed to a number of factors but none more so than the early influence of John Size. Joe spent four years with John at Randwick before being given a once in a lifetime opportunity. When John left for Hong Kong, he helped Joe establish a stable and clients which provided the platform from which his career would later flourish.
Now training at Warwick Farm, Joe has carved out a tremendously successful career with a reputation for being able to rejuvenate older horses, most notably dual-Group I winner Vision And Power. The son of Carnegie arrived at Joe's stables with a record of 19 starts for one win and was coming off a 30 length defeat in a hurdle trial. Those who are familiar with the remarkable story will recall that Vision And Power won back-to-back Group Is in the George Ryder Stakes and Doncaster Mile only 18 months later. Those pair of Group Is were the horse's ninth and tenth run of a preparation that yielded a staggering $1.7 million.
Joe has also been able to capture Group I wins with other tried horses such as Sacred Choice (2010 Myer Classic, 2011 Doncaster Handicap) and Steps In Time (2014 Coolmore Classic).
John Thompson has been working in racing for the past 24 years. He started as foreman for his father at Crown Lodge which was an invaluable experience running a big team and setting up systems that are still successful today.
John then made the move to Randwick to gain more experience, working as foreman for Bill Mitchell for 4 years before a small stint with Graeme Rogerson for 6 months. He then joined Bart Cummings for 8 years. Some of the horses in his care included So You Think, Viewed, Gods Own, Wonderful world, Faint Perfume, Dignity Dancer, Kenwood Melody and along with others; totalling close to 40 group I wins.
Some of those races were the Melbourne Cup, Caulfield Cup, Cox Plate, AJC Derby, Caulfield Guineas, VRC & AJC Oaks, and Magic Millions.
John began training in his own right five years ago over which time he became the trainer for Patinack Farm. During that time John enjoyed success at stakes level on more than 50 occasions and accrued more than $22 million in prizemoney. In the 2011/12 season he had the leading Australasian 2yo stable.
In mid 2014 the Patinack Farm operation dissolved which left John to build his career back up again. In the short time that has elapsed since, he has made waves through the Sydney training ranks preparing Group I winning filly First Seal along with Group performers Hooked and Tremec.
Steve O'Dea, the son of North Queensland trainer Graham O'Dea, has had a long standing affiliation with horses. After initially enrolling in a Bachelor of Economics, it was not long before Steve realized his career belonged in the racing industry.
His passion for racing took him to leading trainers Gai Waterhouse, Gillian Heinrich, Alan Bailey and Kevin Moses. After four years of apprenticeship, Steve returned to North Queensland to take over from his father who was retiring. In his first season, Steve achieved a 20% runners to winners strike rate.
As his stable grew, Steve sought to relocate and make the move to Brisbane. A number of successful hit and run missions encouraged Steve to make the bold decision. He has since built up one of the bigger stables at Eagle Farm, complemented by having access to Aquis Farm in the Gold Coast hinterland.
With a bright future ahead, Steve continues to train winners at an impressive rate and has a collection of stakes victories to his name courtesy of Sir Moments, Candika, Fantisha, Bianca Jewel, Kiss Me Katy and Go Cart. His biggest success to date came in the 2014 Group II Queensland Guineas when Sir Moments burst through in a blanket finish.
Archie Alexander is the son of Hamish Alexander, who bought Epsom and Irish Derby winner Generous as a foal and is now working with UK salehouse Goffs. Naturally, there were plenty of sales catalogues throughout the house during Archie’s childhood and by the age of ten he had worked out the training caper was going to be his destiny.
Archie honed his craft with some of the world’s most renowned trainers before eventually deciding to set up shop in Ballarat, north west of Melbourne, where the facilities include day paddocks, treadmills and a unique straight incline track – ideal for preparing stayers.
Among Archie’s mentors were the legendary Aidan O’Brien in the UK, famous French trainer Criquette Head-Maarek (three-time Arc winner) and leading US horseman Todd Pletcher. With O’Brien, Archie was still only in his mid-twenties and working for one of the greatest racing empires in the world at Ballydoyle. This invaluable experience afforded him the chance to observe ‘the master of perfection’ at close quarters on a regular basis.
When Lloyd Williams invited him to become foreman and take part in the training of his large European team in Melbourne, Archie jumped at the chance. There, Archie saw Fawkner win the Caulfield Cup in the spring of 2013 and several other major successes.
Now with his own stables, Archie plans to mix the methods he has learned in Europe and Australia to create a winning formula. And since 2014, the rising star of the Victorian training ranks has won some of the most recognised races of the Melbourne spring carnival, including the Herbert Power Stakes with Lord Fandango and Sandown Cup with Renew.
John Bateman, a former leading jockey of the western districts region, credits most of his horse training education to the late Guy Walter. The pair enjoyed a wonderful working relationship that spanned a total of 14 years, the last seven of which John spent managing the highly successful Goulburn stable.
Over that time period, he oversaw the development of a number of Guy’s stable stars including Streama, Appearance, Toydini and Doctor Doom. He was also able to learn and put into practice Guy’s training philosophies and programs.
Now a trainer in his own right, John has kept a portion of the Goulburn stable, a location which he believes is hugely advantageous. The peaceful surroundings of Goulburn offer a unique training environment and has allowed John to maintain a hands on approach, something which he values highly. His small team of horses thrive away from the hustle and bustle of the city and are able to gallop on the course proper on a regular basis.
When John decided to take out a trainer’s license midway through 2014, it wasn’t long before he captured his first winner with the Proven Thoroughbreds galloper Destined To Win breaking his maiden at Bathurst on August 11. Destined To Win has returned to the winners’ circle since, as have a handful of other Proven stable members including Counterfire, Wyendra and Readabeel. He also lays claim to the 2016 Goulburn Country Championships Qualifier with Lofty's Menu.
Keith Dryden & Scott Collings
Keith Dryden has been one of Canberra's leading trainers for many years. He's prepared hundreds of winners including gallopers like high class sprinter, Into The Night plus stakes winners such as Serkelt, Testa Grande and Coolroom Candidate.
No one knows the Canberra scene better than Keith whose career dates back to 1976, the date he led in his first winner. He brings an intimate knowledge of horses to the table having produced all different types of horses for manifold races. He's also traveled his charges successfully and has made many a successful raid on metropolitan tracks when the right horse comes along - evidenced by his success with one of our city-winning mares Chosen Prayer.
At the beginning of the 2016-17 season, Keith formed a training partnership with Scott Collings.
Passed Horse Trainer
Guy Walter had cemented a position in the top echelon of Australian horse trainers until his tragic passing in May, 2014. Only a handful of rivals produced more than 30 Group I victories and over 100 stakes wins. Only one other can claim to have trifectaed The Doncaster.
Guy was regularly in the top three trainers on the Sydney Premiership and significantly his Group I successes have been with all manner of horses - sprinters, stayers, fillies & mares, colts & geldings, 2yo's & 7yo's!
Guy prepared the brilliant mare Spinning Hill to win the 1000m Lightning as a 5yo and successive 1200m Manikato's as a 6 & 7yo. Darley mare Appearance was limited to only 19 career starts but Guy expertly nursed her to a quartet of Group I victories. She retired as the only mare in history to have won the three biggest Group I mares' races (Coolmore, Myer, and Queen Of The Turf) in the same season. Court's In Session won the 1500m Ryder as a 5yo. Defier crowned his career by annexing the 2200m Doomben Cup as a late 6yo after earlier Group victories from 1200-2000m. The 6yo Patezza led home the memorable Guy Walter 1600m Doncaster trifecta in 2005 and then there was Tie The Knot! He won Group races from 1200-3200ms in a stellar five season racing life that yielded 21 victories (13 at Group 1) and $6.2m.
This talent to prolong quality horses over all distances is complemented by a string of successes with the younger brigade. Current stallion Excites was produced for a Group One triumph in the 1400m Sires Produce at only his 3rd start, 3yo fillies Republic Lass & Wild Iris both won the 2400m Oaks whilst 4yo Danni Martine downed a great field in the 1500m Coolmore Classic at just her eighth outing. Guy's affinity with fillies and mares was never more evident than in the 1400m Listed Tibbie Stakes of 2005 when he trained the first four home - Shalimar Sky, Fantasia, Johans Toy and Hennessy Waltz.
Success as racehorse trainer is due in no small way to the empathy Guy developed for horses from an early age. Pony clubs, shows and stock work segued into studs and a stint in Europe before he honed his craft under Bart Cummings and Neville Begg. He took out a trainers licence in 1980 and promptly trained his first winner a few months later when the family owned Irish Eve appropriately bolted in at Canterbury.