Local horse trainer Andrew Dale has picked up where he left off, making a strong start to the new racing season.
Dale is coming off a career high year in which he trained 14 winners, a mark he’s looking to surpass over the next 12 months.
Spring has started well with one of Dale’s geldings, Arthur Poritt, claiming back to back victory’s in recent weeks.
The five year-old won at Griffith on September 8 and followed up with victory in the Benchmark 66 over 1600m at Corowa last Monday.
Dale said smarter strategy and a strong backing from owners have been the keys behind the stable’s most fruitful year and more encouraging results.
“It’s been a pleasing start following on from last season’s success,” Dale said.
“I’m still fairly new to training but I’ think what I’ve learnt in the last little while is a lot more about placing horses and taking them to venues where they can win.
“You’re also only as good as the people around you and I’ve been pretty lucky to have some good support.”
Among Dale’s achievements last season was having one of his newest horses, It’s A Fireball, break the track record at Narrandera over 1200m, in July.
The former Myrtleford football coach has now trained 39 winners in a little over four years after gaining his licence ahead of the 2014/15 season.
Since starting out he’s been based in Albury and has grown his stable to presently have 15 horses while involving more people through shared ownership.
“The most important part about what we achieved this year was introducing a whole lot of new clients, well over 100 in the last 12 months,” he said.
“We’re introducing people at the lower end of the experience.
“I can’t afford to purchase horses that are too expensive so you buy tried horses and try and improve them.
“As an owner if it doesn’t work out you’re not getting fingers burnt and you’ll hopefully have an opportunity to move into another horse.
“All of our owners at some stage during the season were involved in horses that were successful.”
This campaign will be Dale’s last registered in NSW – pending Racing Victoria grants him a licence – with a move to the multi-million dollar renovated Wangaratta Racecourse on the cards.
Dale will move into one of two new 18-box stable blocks and will have access to state of the art facilities for riding and horse recovery as well as a $1.3 million sand fibre track.
Dale’s wife Heather has been managing the project, working closely with Wangaratta Turf Club chief executive officer Paul Hoysted in preparation for a move in the first half of next year.
“It’s really exciting, it’s a big move but I feel the time is right after training for four years at Albury,” Dale said.
“It just makes sense and the horses will be provided with the best opportunity with better facilities to develop them and train them.
“The sand fibre track will be fantastic and maybe just that little bit more in the training facilities allows us to extract a few per cent more out of each horse.”