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NTF Q&A – Jeremy Gask

 

NameJeremy Gask

OccupationRacehorse Trainer

Years involved in racing – Training 1998 to present

First horseracing memoryVisiting stripping sheds at Morphettville Racecourse (South Australia) with my Dad

 

Background…..

 

What first stirred your interest in horseracing?    

I always had a fascination as long as I remember. My Step grandfather was a trainer and my Gran used to have 50cents on every race every day. From the age of 10 she would put mine on for me on the phone.

What was the main reason behind you becoming a trainer? 

Long story but always talked of it as child but lost involvement through school and sporting days. I was heavily into sport which took up most of the time but had a long term injury which ended my playing days. Still managed to check the results on the scoreboard at Adelaide Oval while in the middle of a football game as we had a few racing ‘tragics’ in the team. Hope my old Coach doesn’t ever read this.

I was at university when my Mum died and it turned things around a bit. A friend who trained for my father needed someone to help at the stables for the winter while his son went on his honeymoon. That was the start of it. From there went to work on the Studs then a leading Adelaide trainer before coming to England for 2 years before going back to train.

 

Career to date…..

 

Proudest moment of career to date? 

First winner is hard to beat – Rock City at Victoria Park.

Best horse you have trained –

a) UK – I think Medicean Man is potentially the best but have a real soft Spot for Anne Of Kiev. I hope there is better still to come.

b) Australia – Most ability was EL DIABLO. He had a very short career but was a flying machine. Holds Victoria Park 3yo record of 55.4s for the 5f. I owe him a lot for a number of reasons.

 

Australia to the UK…..

 

What is the main difference between Racing in Australia and Racing in the UK? 

Prize money and tradition.

What is the main aspect of your Australian training regime that you have implemented over here? 

We tend to vary distances a bit more in Australia and something I have tried to do at times though I do meet with pressure from the odd owner as it isn’t necessarily the ‘done’ thing.

What has been the most difficult transition you have had to make since coming to the UK?

Keeping horses healthy is a challenge. I am sure climate has a bit to do with it but I think the transfer of horses to and from racecourse stables etc is also a factor. Getting horses educated first time out is a challenge for a small to medium yard without having official trials and jump outs which we have in Australia.

Could UK racing learn anything from Australia racing and vice-versa?

Both ways in some areas. I think UK racing is hamstrung to an extent through lack of funding and the sheer number of racecourses makes it difficult to share the diminishing cake. Sectional timing is something I feel strongly about and hope it isn’t too far from becoming normal practice.

Actually as I write this thoughts come into my head and perhaps it is something that would need a deal more time to answer fully but I definitely think we can always learn from other countries on how to improve our own wherever we are. Tradition is such a factor in the UK that many changes are not given the credence I think they deserve but it is hard to change the mind set.

 

Wish list…..

 

Which horse currently in training do you wish you had in your yard? 

Black Caviar……she is the best I have seen and will race on for a while yet I hope. Frankel will be off to stud next year!

What race (that you had a runner in) do you wish you could re-run?

 The South Australian Oaks of 2004 was one that got away after we were very unlucky not to have won the Group 1 which could have changed a lot of things.

Which race do you wish you had a ‘live contender’ for in –

a) UK?    King George

b) International?    Cox Plate

 

Racing and the general public…..

 

In your opinion what could be done to attract new fans to the sport?

I think RFC is doing a pretty good job. We are lucky to have the likes of Frankel etc to promote the sport at the moment but I think more could be done to promote them to the wider public. The die-hard racing fans will often be opposed to many of the promotional changes but I think they need to look beyond that. The Breeders Cup Coverage I thought is an example of how to get the public ‘into’ the racing and feel like they have some sort of connection to a horse, jockey, trainer or owner. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea but it really hits the mark with the average person watching.  Sure we must support and cater for the punter and traditional fan but a balance is required. Champions day was something I think can create this sort of image but I still think the general public feels no connection to most of the participants. Obviously there is a balance between growing and developing the current, long time industry participants and sourcing and introducing future generations.

Do you think Social Media (Twitter, Facebook, etc…) has had a positive impact on racing and how else do you think it could be used to further promote the sport?

I think it has definitely provided a new source of up to date and current information. However, at times I feel it can fuel ‘negative hysteria’ to some aspects of the industry. I find I read far less print news as I find I can keep up with any news via Twitter for example. I think it is a good thing in general and it is certainly part of the future so participants need to understand how best to utilise the medium. I have found I read far more blogs of people I never would have come across before. I think it could be better served to promote the stars such as the horses and give the public more insight into their heroes. However this requires time and effort in a climate where investment is becoming less and less forthcoming.

 

Improving the sport…..

 

What one thing would you like to see implemented to improve horse racing –

a) on-course?

I do go on about it but ‘sectional times’.

b) off-course? 

A dedicated racing radio station. So much time is spent by UK public on the road and I for one completely lose touch with the racing until I get a chance to check later. I am staggered the industry doesn’t see the need for one but again the question is who would fund it? Surely the wagering sector could see the benefit of it?

 

Horses to follow…..

 

Which 2yo in the yard from this season should we look out for in 2012? 

Wiltshire Life

Which older horse in the yard should we look out for next season? 

Medicean Man will win a good race.

Dark horse in the yard to follow for the AW season? 

Probably won’t have that many running over the winter this year.

Name a horse to follow for next season’s classics (out with own yard)?

I thought Camelot was ultra impressive.

 

Quickfire…..

 

Melbourne Cup or Epsom Derby? 

Honestly couldn’t choose as both so different and either would change my life.

2yo with promise or 3yo with experience? 

2yo with promise

Beating England at Cricket or beating the All-Blacks at Rugby?  

Beating England at Cricket

Xmas on the Beach or Xmas in the snow?

Xmas in the snow

 

Just for fun…..

 

If you could have any superpower what would it be and why?   

Fly!   I seem to spend half of my life on the motorway.

 

You can find out more about Jeremy and the squad at the Horses First Racing web-site.

Amongst their growing fleet of horses is the machine in waiting – TRENDING!

Many thanks to Jeremy Gask for agreeing to take part in the latest NTF Q&A session.

Ben (NTF)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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