This week I had the privilege of speaking with a new addition to the Stridyl Marketplace, Jack Pilkington. Jack has recently taken out his trainer’s license and has two exciting prospects in his Hawkesbury-based stable. I had the chance to learn more about Jack and his plans for his future racing career.
How It All Started…
Originally from Ireland, Jack had big aspirations of being a jockey from a young age. He did not come from your usual racing family with his parents being a Horticulturist and Art Historian. He first sat on a racehorse at age twelve after lending a pony to a local trainer and didn’t look back.
My family just had an interest in racing as fans of the sport. I used to ride ponies and I thought jockeys were really cool, so I sort of wanted to be one of them.”
Jack attended the Irish Racing School to test the waters of being a jockey but unfortunately became too heavy for the job. That’s when the thought of becoming a trainer came to mind. Jack has quite the passport having worked in over 9 different countries in the space of 6 years but ended up calling Australia home.
Working For The Best
It was clear during our conversation that Jack has an extensive resume and has learnt from some of the best in industry. His most recent venture was working for Chris Waller where he was Racing Manager for the last two years. He has also worked for the likes of Mark Newnham, Ciaron Maher and David Hayes.
I was interested to know which trainers gave him the most knowledge that he will be using within his own stables. One trainer he spoke of highly was South African trainer Justin Snaith and how he admired his hands on approach.
A big part for me is a hands on horsemanship and one of the trainers I have worked for this guy in South Africa called Justin Snaith. He’s very hands on himself, even though he has a big team and just, you know, really knowing your horses inside out. He basically gets to the track in the morning looks at them all and decides what he wants to do with them by the way they look each day.”
Jack also stated working for so many different trainers in different locations, that he learnt how to make the best of your facilities. What stood out to him the most was the combination of horsemanship, management of the business and getting the best use out of your facilities that play an important role.
Standing Out From The Crowd
I was interested to know what sets Jack apart from the many trainers currently in the industry. Referring back to what he’s learnt during his career he stated it was a combination of 3 things.
- Riding the horses himself and knowing them inside and out;
- Having a different perspective due to his extensive International racing knowledge;
- The ability to think outside the box in regards to the facilities at his disposal.
Jack has chosen to take the hands on approach himself and ride his own horses, even breaking one in himself. This has stemmed from his experience overseas and finding this is the best approach for his training methods and getting the best out of his horses. Jack has also had the opportunity to ride on so many different tracks and has chosen the quiet style out at Hawkesbury. He stated he liked the vibe of the track and how spacious the facilities were which he believes are great for a horses mind.
Goals For The Future
The ultimate goal for trainers would be winning a Group 1 during their careers.
I just I love working hands on with the horses so you know there wouldn’t be anything more rewarding than if I if I got a nice horse and really reached its potential and you know fulfilled group one goals and things like that.”
Jack mentioned he does not have plans to be a large trainer but would like to be able to get the most out his small team.
Opinions On His New Additions
Jack has already got 2 purchases in his stable from the Magic Millions and Inglis Yearling Sales. Both of these yearlings are listed currently on the Marketplace.
I asked him what his opinions were on both these colts and how they’re preparations have been going so far.
This colt was a $80,000 purchase from book 2 of the Magic Millions Yearling Sale. Jack said he had looked at a few horses but this colt was the pick of the book. He stated what stood out for him was the colt’s presence and his good pedigree. Recently, his page was enhanced with a half brother by Siyouni winning on debut in Victoria. He has come a family of sprinters so this win adds a lot more depth to this racing prospect.
This colt is very easy going having being broken in straight off the back of the sales. Jack said while he is quite a large colt, he does not want to place any early pressure on him. He stated looking at other yearlings on the track compared to this colt he felt it was almost unfair on everyone else due to his size and physique.
This colt is currently in this third preparation and is absolutely flying. He believes this colt would be a better three- year old but could contest the Autumn two-year old races.
This colt was purchased from the Inglis HTBA Sale earlier in the year by a great first season sire. Jack was after a yearling he didn’t have to wait long to get to the races and found this colt. He had sat on a few Tassort yearlings already before this sale.
They impressed me with how forward they were and, you know, they almost felt like they could they could nearly run already.”
Tassort being an impressive two-year old himself, he is definitely throwing some impressive types. He stated this colt looks like a typical two-year old and had to put a bid on him. This colt has a great mindset with Jack breaking this horse in on his own and stating “he was the easiest horse I’ve ever broken in.”
We are very excited to have Jack on board with us and look forward to celebrating his future successes with him.
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