In this weeks edition we speak to Warwick Farm Trainer Gabrielle Englebrecht.
It is no surprise that Gabrielle is experiencing great success given the extensive training she has completed both within Australia and overseas.
Following in the footsteps of her Father and successful trainer Steve Engelbrecht, Gabrielle is now carving out her own training career with an eye on Group 1 glory.
Sit back and enjoy –
Growing up in a racing family was it inevitable that you would follow the same path or did you have different aspirations?
It was somewhat inevitable in that when you are exposed to 25 beautiful, elegant and athletic racehorses as a child you very easily become immersed in it and form a deep respect for the horse itself and want to incorporate that into a career. I always wanted to train and was incredibly determined to make it happen.
You have travelled the world and worked with many great trainers including Sir Michael Stoute, Laurie Laxon and Moira Murdoch – Can you describe those experiences and how have they influenced your career?
All the trainers I have worked for are exceptionally brilliant trainers yet all train slightly differently. I wanted to work for a few trainers and in places where the racing was a bit different so I could see how horses responded differently in a physical sense depending on the style of training and racing in that place. Naturally England and singapore are polar opposites in the way horses train and race so to be able to compare the two was a great learning experience for me.
You also worked for Nathan Tinkler and his Patinack Farm operation. In 3 words how would you best describe the experience?
Exciting, challenging, educational.
When did you decide to start training in your own right? What was your biggest obstacle?
I was a couple of months shy of my 22nd birthday. The biggest obstacle and what continues to be somewhat of an obstacle is being so young and getting people to take you seriously when you don’t have a long list of group one winners to back you up.
Who was your first winner? Where was it? and can you describe that moment?
My first winner was a beautifully little filly called Farthingstone which was at Royal Randwick and ridden by world class jockey Jeff Lloyd. I was a bit cocky about her chances despite that she was 25/1 and wasn’t going to listen to anybody telling me to race her in weaker grade first. She lead all the way and kicked clear of the field at the 200 and it felt like I was winning a group 1 as I cheered her to the line!
What has been your most satisfying moment in the sport so far?
There are publicly satisfying moments like every time you get a winner but there are the behind the scenes moments that I really love. Some horses can be a bit complicated and have different issues going on and spending time with them, figuring out how to get the best of the them and see it slowly come to fruition and that horse perform to the best of its ability then that is really satisfying.
How many horses are currently in work/training. What is the optimal amount for your stable?
I usually have about 8 in work but I would like to increase this number over the next few years.
How would you describe your training style?
My training style is slightly eclectic and adaptive to every horse. The beauty of having a small team is that I can do this quite easily. Some horses thrive on hard work while others need a bit of gentle approach. The core basics of my training style remain the same though and that is to provide a good foundation of slow work before starting fast work which serves to both relax the horse and to ensure they handle the intensity of fast work and racing when that stage happens.
You are very hands on and often ride your own trackwork. What is the main advantage of doing this?
The benefit of being hands on is you get to go an extra step forward in getting to know your horse and what it needs/could benefit most from. There are little things in their movement and temperament that you can really only pick up through riding yourself that can be hugely important to their training.
As a young up and coming trainer how do you promote yourself and go about obtaining new owners?
I try to make myself available and personable to all my clients so that they get the most out of their experience owning a racehorse. To get new owners I try and step outside the square with what the other trainers are offering and try to stay that little bit different. Our latest initiative has been really popular in the fixed price training costs, owners don’t have to worry about managing all the different bills for their horse, and just pay an affordable weekly amount throughout the year.
Do you feel the pressure to prove yourself in a male dominated industry?
I absolutely feel this pressure every day of the week but I thrive on pressure and it forces me to keep thinking what I can do to constantly improve.
There is no doubt that training is a tough gig. Do you ever get time to partake in other activities outside of racing?
Probably not as much as I would like! Haha. I have just purchased a new camera so am getting into photography as a bit of a hobby but most of my spare time is spent catching up on sleep!
There are many colourful character’s on a racecourse, who brightens up your day?
There is a trainer at the track who has about 6 in work called Bruce Cross. He is a fair bit older than me and has trained some amazing horses including group 1 winners and every morning is in a great mood, has great words of wisdom, and get embroiled in the competitiveness and ego’s you sometimes find. At 4am in the morning when you are feeling a bit stressed he is a breath of fresh air and highly respected by top trainers.
Like me, do you purchase a new outfit for every meeting?
I used to! I am running out of closet space now and it was becoming quite expensive! I do though like to indulge in a new hat or dress for the big days!
FilliesForm have recently purchased a horse with you, ‘Stella’. Will she be winning a Melbourne Cup any time soon?
The beauty of this sport is you never know whats around the corner! Stella is doing a wonderful job in training and I am very excited about getting her to the races. I think she would be more a Golden Slipper/Sires Produce type of horse than a Melbourne Cup though! I would happily take any Group 1 thought!
Is there one runner in the Gabrielle Englebrecht stables we need to keep an eye out for?
A little filly called Miss Redlan is not far off racing. She is tiny but exceptionally tough and has improved rapidly on her last preparation. Look out for her over 1400-1600m!
Do you have any advice for women wanting to enter the training industry?
Try and put as much time into developing business skills as much as horse skills. Its not enough these days to be able to get horses based just on being a good horse woman. You are your brand and have to market yourself like you would any other brand.