am starting to get a bit miffed at wannabe trainers who use the media
as a tool to deliver their “expertise” when they have no qualifications
in horse training whatsoever.
Many have raised the issue of a two-year-old called Lucky Elmo,
who had 20 starts in his two-year-old season and is trained at Taree by
A common misconception among many people is that there is
only one way to train a racehorse, that being fast work on a Tuesday
and Thursday and light work in between. Anything else and you are an
These misconceptions were born with training centres where you
had a certain amount of time to work your horses before they shut and
you only had certain days to gallop on the grass, those being Tuesday,
Thursday and Saturday morning.
I can inform Barbara Mercer (1/8) there are many, many ways to get a horse fit and keep it sound, happy and racing well.
Bindi has been hung out to dry on occasion for approaching the training of her horses in an unorthodox fashion.
Bindi has been quoted in the media as saying that Lucky Elmo
doesn’t do any fast work at home, leaving this for raceday. So what’s
the problem? If this is the case then the horse would be doing a lot
less fast work than 99 percent of horses that are trained using
Lucky Elmo ran a very good second at Randwick, at his 19th start
this season, on July 22. One would think if the horse was suffering any
ill-effects of this supposedly arduous campaign that his form would
taper off. But no, the horse seems to be happy and continues to race
A Melbourne two-year-old called Stoneblack, trained at
Caulfied by Robert Smerdon, had 15 starts in the season just passed yet
no one raised an eyebrow.
If he followed a traditional training regime this horse would
have galloped many, many more kilometres than Lucky Elmo while
having five fewer race starts. The only difference is that Robert
Smerdon is seen as a conventional trainer and trains a team of 80-plus
horses so no one would dare to question his training methods.
As Barbara mentioned, Bindi trained a grand old galloper
called Quadri a few years back. The horse rarely had more than a few
weeks between runs and was consistent throughout his career. He
finished up with 131 starts, finishing in the first three 48 times.
I would imagine Quadri winning his hometown cup at Taree the day
after he ran fourth at Randwick would have been very satisfying for
Bindi and is one reason why she will continue to employ her training
methods, however unconventional they may be.
As for the knockers like Barbara, I have no idea what
profession she is employed in, but I do know that If I told her how to
do her job without being qualified in that particular field, her
response would be less than friendly.
Maybe a cap should be put on letters like hers, not the number of starts a trainer wishes her horse to have.