Menindee horse trainer Wayne Marsden who frequently travels up to 9 hours to get a race for his horses, said that nothing compares to a “country meeting”. Mr Marsden will be racing 6 of his 9 horses at Broken Hil St Pat’s races next month. The trainer said that he has had twenty-seven meetings put off in the last year and that it is a treat to travel just over an hour to a place he knows he will be “well looked after”. Mr Marsden said that with 8 races, the Broken Hill St Pat’s race has something that caters for everyone.
“As a trainer, it’s a constant challenge to make sure each horse gets a run.”
If you live in Dubbo, Wagga, or Swan Hill you can easily race every weekend within 2-3 hours, but out here, there are big distances all the time.”
“I’ve put myself in that situation by living in Menindee, but it’s been a lot tougher recently with all the restrictions.”
Mr Marsden said that it had mainly been non-TAB meetings that had been put off during COVID, which presented significant challenges in finding races for his horses not yet qualified for TAB meetings.
Currently, he is trying to find a race for horse Rebecca’s Quest before the St Pat’s races in March.
“I’ve got to get miles on her legs for fitness before Broken Hill”
Mr Marsden said that as a country trainer, he trains because he loves spending time with his horses.
“It’s my hobby and that’s how I treat it. If you go to a big stable, it’s a money-making machine and that’s all it is.”
“Country trainers spend a lot more time with their horses, I would pat these horses or do something with them 4-5 times per day,” he said
“You have to be dedicated to your horse, wash them, shampoo them every day. When they come out here, they live a great life.”
Mr Marsden has been involved with horses his whole life, with his father and Grandfather also training horses in Menindee.
He recounted that from as recently as the 1970s, the Menindee Racetrack, which is the longest track in NSW, was a big racing destination for Broken Hill and other station holders in the area.
“Nearly all the station owners had 8-10 horses.”
“Broken Hill people would come out by train; the trainers would unload their horses and walk four or five kilometres to the track for a race.”
“Some of the station owners might have left a week before the race with a horse and cart and jog up here, and there was no such thing as floats and trucks.”
Mr Marsden says that this year will most likely be his last year on the track despite his love of keeping and training horses.
“I have six to eight horses on the truck, going all the way up to Griffith, Leeton, Walgett, Bourke or Narrandera. It’s getting a bit too much for me at 70 years”.
You will be able to catch Allez Rev, Rebecca’s Quest, Drummed Out, Late Return, Three Rar, and Banteux on the track at the Broken Hill St. Patrick’s Race Club meeting on March 12th.