THERE was an element of student v teacher in race six at Wodonga on Tuesday.
Albury trainer Andrew Dale’s runner Shelbyville finished second to the James Fraser-trained gelding Get Ya Kicks ($6.50) in a thrilling finish to the BM65 Handicap (2050m).
But the pair have a history that stretches far beyond Dale’s tenure as a trainer.
“Ironically enough, James Fraser was a lecturer of mine at TAFE about 15 years ago,” he said.
“I completed a basic diploma of horse management.
“Even after the race he made mention of the student-teacher dynamic.”
All jokes aside, it would be fair to say Fraser might not have expected the former Myrtleford coach to be one of his trackside rivals some years later.
Dale gained his training license in October 2014.
After breaking through for his first win with Itsmycall on Albury Gold Cup day in 2015, he hasn’t looked back.
“It was something I’d always wanted to do, but back then I didn’t really get the opportunity to do it,” he said.
“It was a bucket list type of thing.
“I didn’t want to finish my career unfulfilled.
“I love my footy, coaching and the Myrtleford footy club but from a personal point of view there was something burning away at me.”
For a relative newcomer to the industry, Dale has seen his fair share of highs and lows.
After waiting 33 starts for Itsmycall’s breakthrough win, Dale said the mare had “saved my stable”.
“Training is an expensive pursuit, it puts a lot of pressure on your family,” he said.
“I don’t come from a natural horse background, I’m not a horseman, so to speak.
“I spent a couple of years working on and off with Rob Wellington, he’s an old fashioned a horseman.
“I didn’t go into a high profile stable as a foreman or assistant, it was something that was hands on.
“Learning that way was fantastic, it was the best grounding you could have.
“I’ve made plenty of mistakes along the way, I’ve almost crammed four or five years worth of work and knowledge into the last two.”