Hopkins back training in very familiar colours

By Brigette Solomon

As of this week, the North Island will welcome a young trainer back into the fold, with Tate Hopkins returning to the ranks.

Hopkins, who has been working at Woodlands Stud for the past 18 months, said a return to training has always been in the back of his mind. So when Frank Cooney gave him the opportunity to train from his Kumeu property, he thought it’s now or never.

“I’ll be starting off with a team of five horses, including one racehorse, a two-year-old, and three yearlings, and will gradually increase numbers as I settle back into training,” says Hopkins.

The 31-year-old says he will also be taking on some breakers and horses to jog up, and alongside wife Tiffany plans to prepare some babies for the 2024 yearling sales.

It comes as no surprise that Cooney is supportive of the young trainer with the pair previously training in partnership for eight years, tallying 91 winners. The pair have a close relationship and Hopkins considers Cooney his greatest role model in the industry. He is also proud to share he’ll be training in Cooney’s royal blue and gold colours.

Cooney unfortunately suffered a stroke in early March putting a halt to his training career.

“Frank’s doing well, he keeps improving and I’m sure with me working horses he will be down visiting the stables a fair bit.”

Two years ago Hopkins himself had a near death experience when he was knocked off a jetski as he tried to rescue a horse caught up in floodwaters. Both horse and rider, in this instance, emerged ok but it was a scary situation for Hopkins as West Auckland was hit by a severe rainstorm, causing widespread damage.

Tate says his goals for the immediate future will be getting established before looking to entice a few new owners into horse ownership.

He's also looking forward to working with his recent purchase from the National Weanling Sale.

“She’s one I liked, a filly by Fear The Dragon out of a full sister to multiple Group One winner I’m Victorious” says Tate.

While Hopkins is back, no doubt Cooney will be cheering him, and his famous colours, on all the way.


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