Sunday, November 18, 2012

Ambition loses pace as horse breeder sadly calls it quits

Harness racing is exciting but it has lost some of its charm for John Guy (story below). This image from wikpedia is used to illustrate the sport but has no connection with issues raised in this post. Image: Pacers at the 2007 Interdominion Championships held at Globe Derby Park in South Australia (#2 Make Me Smile, #5 Dee Dees Dream, #4 Braeside Seel Star (number not visible), #1 Tactical Dreamer). #5 wears a yellow bit lifter.

THE soil under the dense urban mix of Victoria Point cannot tell its stories, but the legacy of rural heritage runs through the suburb, deeper than the bitumen and concrete.
Nowadays, most of us can only imagine the joyous scenes of a rural lifestyle in tranquil bushland and fields, with the glorious bay as a backdrop and maybe a group of kids fussing over a horse.
Some can remember. Such a scene is crystal clear in John Guy's mind. He was one of those kids.

THAT rural upbringing planted a seed of ambition that inspired John for decades; he can still hear the horse's snort, but times have changed. He moved away from his beloved Victoria Point to pursue his dream of breeding horses.
Now he's back, disappointed.
John still loves horses and says: "They'll virtually talk to you if you get close to them. They all have different personalities and if you give them attention they are quite happy to give it back to you."
But he says his love affair with breeding trotters is over.

ABOUT a decade ago, John achieved a milestone when he bought a property on the Logan River at Beaudesert with the space for breeding from a few mares. Now, the dream property sold, he's back in his trade as ceramic tiler and the disappointment shows in his voice: "I decided it is time to move along in life before it gets away from me."
John says the breeding operation became too difficult. "It's too expensive," he says. "The horse's feed is too dear, there's no money around to sell the foals at the yearling sales and the prizemoney's no good any more."

JOHN blames the government and the racing authorities, which he says have been fostering the gallopers while neglecting the pacers. The crowds at regular trot meeting are small, says a man who has given up hope of a revival in the industry: "Change? I honestly don't know how they could fix it."
Over the past few weeks, John sought help of the Classifieds as a step in winding up his breeding operation.
He sought agistment for two of his favourite mares, one of which punters may remember. Girl About Town won 11 races from her 40 starts and also ran 11 placings. The other mare is one of her fillies.
John received only one call with an offer he says was unsuitable, so he's still looking.

This column has appeared in The Redland Times.

No comments:

Post a Comment