Telfer keeps team ticking over
By Michael Guerin
If Covid-19 has reminded us all of one thing it is to plan for what is going to happen rather than react to what is happening.
Which is why trainer Steve Telfer has a small winter team ticking over at his South Auckland property Stonewall Stud.
While many in the racing industry are understandably confused by when racing will return and what it will look like Telfer knows one thing: he can’t win races he isn’t in.
So after giving many of his horses a two week break he has some, who he believes it is beneficial for their welfare to be worked, ticking over.
“We have some horses here who were race fit and need to be jogged at least to stop doing themselves any harm spelling,” Telfer told HRNZ.
“We aren’t working them fast, just jogging them so there are no safety issues for anybody and it is the best thing for the horses.
“And we have everybody living on the property here so we are all in the same bubble.”
With at least 15 horses at the stables for their welfare they can far more easily return to normal work if and when the country returns to alert level 3, hopefully in two weeks.
Telfer says if, as racing bosses suggest, we could be up and racing by late May or early June then Telfer says Stonewall Stud want to support that.
“As soon as racing can get back safely and within the protocols in place we want to be there.
“And I hope other trainers do as well. We think it is really important to get racing again, not only for us but for the whole industry.
“We don’t know what the racing will look like, I presume Alexandra Park would be the logical place to start and if we have smaller fields and, if they have to, smaller stakes to start then we will support that.
“But as long as we do it safely we are 100 per cent behind getting back to racing. The industry can’t make any money without it.” Telfer admits he has the numbers, both in horses and people living on the property so therefore in their bubble, but also urges his fellow trainers to think ahead.
“What we are all going through is really hard but we are trying to think about where we are going to be in a month or six weeks.
“And the sooner we as trainers have horses ready to trial and race the better.”If New Zealand returns to level 3 in two weeks and racing if five weeks later, any base fitness accrued now within the restrictions rule could be crucial not only for getting racing back on its feet but also giving horses who may have struggled their best chance any time soon or remaining financially viable.
Tefler’s stable stars like Triple Eight are in the paddock but it is the lower grade horses who are being ticked over so they can fill fields when racing returns that are jogging as they were race fit and are better off doing light exercise.
“For a horse like Triple Eight once the Easter Cup was scrapped then his season was done so really we are just changing the dates of when he would have been spelled.
“Instead of starting his spell in say May, he is doing it now and he will be back earlier because of that.
“Everybody with an open class horse is in the same boat and I think it could actually make for some good early season open class racing providing we can get those races off the ground.
“At the moment all the open class horses will be spelling and many of them will come back in at the same time so hopefully we will see some good racing for them.”