Broth­ers elated with progress

Matamata Chronicle - - News - DENNIS RYAN Rac­ing colum­nist

Es­tab­lish­ing a train­ing op­er­a­tion has had its chal­lenges for the broth­ers Paul and Kris Shailer, but look­ing back on the past sea­son they’ve got good rea­son to be sat­is­fied with the progress they’ve made.

On the week­end their lat­est tal­ented sta­ble mem­ber Fore­front was sent south to Tren­tham, where he took his record to two wins from two starts with an im­pres­sive per­for­mance to go with his de­but ef­fort in Fe­bru­ary.

Just as sig­nif­i­cantly, Satur­day’s suc­cess took the Shailer’s tally for the sea­son to 21 wins, good go­ing for a sta­ble that has never num­bered more than 30.

Those wins have come from just 89 race­day ap­pear­ances, which trans­lates to a win­ners to starters strike-rate of 4.52, the sec­ond-best of any sta­ble in the top 30 on the train­ers’ premier­ship.

Get­ting to that point hasn’t been easy for the part­ner­ship that be­gan when older brother Paul ar­rived back in New Zealand three years ago af­ter a decade in Syd­ney as fore­man for fel­low ex­pat and now cham­pion trainer Chris Waller.

Ini­tially Shailer Rac­ing was headed by Paul as trainer and Kris as fore­man be­fore the lat­ter also took out his li­cence at the start of this sea­son.

In 2011-2012 Paul had eight wins from 82 starts and it’s a sign of real progress that the cur­rent sea­son tally is now well into dou­ble fig­ures. Star per­form­ers through the sum­mer were the dual two-year-old win­ner Fan­tas­tic Hon­our, who stamped her class when sec­ond to the coun­try’s lead­ing ju­ve­nile Ruud Awak­en­ing in the Karaka Mil­lion, and the tal­ented sprinter Trep­i­da­tion, who like­wise fin­ished her sea­son with a stakes plac­ing.

Fan­tas­tic Hon­our is by the Rich Hill Stud stal­lion Any Sug­ges­tion, also the sire of the Shailer-trained Killa Ques­tion, who notched the fourth win of his ca­reer at Awa­puni last week.

In com­mon with those two, Tren­tham week­end win­ner Fore­front also hails from the Wal­ton nurs­ery and races in the colours of Rich Hill part­ner Alan Galbraith.

‘‘ We’ve had bril­liant sup­port from Rich Hill and studs like Wind­sor Park ( the own­ers of Trep­i­da­tion) and other own­ers, but it hasn’t been easy get­ting our num­bers up to any­where near where we would like them,’’ said Paul, who like his brother cut his teeth in rac­ing as a jockey be­fore in­creas­ing weight forced a change of di­rec­tion.

‘‘We’ve done pretty well with the num­bers we’ve got; in fact I re­ally don’t think we could have done much bet­ter in just our sec­ond full sea­son.

‘‘I’ve come to re­alise the rea­son it’s been so hard to build on our suc­cess is that not many peo­ple are pre­pared to put up any money.

‘‘It hasn’t been easy get­ting to where we are now and much of it has meant buy­ing our own horses. You take this year, we spent half a mil­lion on year­lings and then had to go out and find own­ers.

‘‘It was hard work and not with­out its worries, but we worked our butts off and thank­fully we got them all sold.’’

In mak­ing those ob­ser­va­tions Paul is in a good po­si­tion to draw com­par­isons be­tween New Zealand and Aus­tralia, not­ing the mas­sive dif­fer­ence be­tween the pre­pared­ness own­ers.

‘‘I know that if we had had the same rate of suc­cess in Syd­ney peo­ple would be bang­ing on the door, that’s how it is over there. I guess for a start peo­ple have got more money in Aussie, but they also seem to be keener on get­ting in­volved.’’

A year ago Paul made a de­ci­sion that he now re­flects on as the smartest move from a busi­ness per­spec­tive, when he set up a satel­lite sta­ble at Palmer­ston North’s Awa­puni race­course.

He has since based him­self there while Kris has run the Mata­mata op­er­a­tion from one of the Mata­mata Rac­ing Club on­course barns.

‘‘It’s given us a broader plat­form and helped with the wins,’’ Paul said.

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‘‘We’ve won races with horses that wouldn’t have won up north.’’

Week­end win­ner Fore­front doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily fit into that cat­e­gory, hav­ing scored on de­but at Te Aroha in Fe­bru­ary and mak­ing the trip south from Mata­mata as part of his de­vel­op­ment.

The three-year-old, by O’Reilly from a Zabeel mare, has taken time and won’t be seen out again un­til the spring.

‘‘I wasn’t so sure he would like that heavy ground on Satur­day but Kris in­sisted he would be okay,’’ said Paul. ‘‘That was based more on abil­ity than any lik­ing for a heavy track, but I was happy my brother was right.

‘‘He’s a slow-ma­tur­ing sort of horse and is still a bit soft, but the trip away will have helped him grow up.

‘‘He’s al­ready back home and will have four weeks in the pad­dock.’’

Spring plans are well in hand for ris­ing three-year-old Fan­tas­tic Hon­our, who was turned out af­ter her Karaka Mil­lion sec­ond in late Jan­uary.

She is now in light work at the Awa­puni sta­ble and will be aimed ini­tially at the Gold Trail Stakes at Hast­ings in Septem­ber.

Hav­ing had a decade’s ex­pe­ri­ence of lu­cra­tive Aus­tralian rac­ing, Paul is nat­u­rally keen to com­pete there un­der his own name.

He iden­ti­fies Trep­i­da­tion as his first pos­si­ble sub­ject, with ten­ta­tive plans for a Melbourne spring cam­paign.

‘‘ There isn’t much here for sprint­ers in the early part of the sea­son but if she did head across we’d still have her home in time to set her for the Rail­way and Tele­graph,’’ Paul said.

Keep­ing a close eye on pro­ceed­ings across the Tas­man, Paul was sad­dened by the fa­tal break­down in Bris­bane last Satur­day of one of the stars of the Chris Waller sta­ble, Pen­tire eight- year- old Ran­gi­rang­doo.

‘‘ He was my favourite horse dur­ing my time with Chris and the best horse I’ve ever had any­thing to with.’’

Re­ward­ing: Kris and Paul Shailer with sta­ble jockey Kelly My­ers af­ter win­ning with Ca­sual Fling at Eller­slie ear­lier in the sea­son.

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