ONE of the horse racing industry’s most intriguing and colourful characters will share the highlights of his extraordinary career as part of this year’s Biggest Ever Blokes Lunch.
Trainer Darren Weir has won 14 consecutive Country Racing Victoria awards as the most successful trainer in country Victoria.
Last season, the affable Weir trained 282 winners in country Victoria, and throughout the state, he had 435 winners, topping $23 million in prizemoney.
Weir is a prodigious winner, but he is also a strong supporter of country racing, and his winners scored at tracks across the state including Gallic Chieftain in the Warrnambool Cup and the Stony Creek Cup. Weir also won the Edenhope Cup with Divine Sanction, the Woodend Cup with Imperator Augustus, and the Donald Cup with Another Coldie.
In recent years, the boy from Berriwillock has established a world-class training facility at Barringhup near Maldon, and Weir describes the property known as Trevenson Park as a work in progress.
“It’s about half finished. We’ve got about 70 horses in work out there. We’re just building a facility to try and train somewhere between 100 and 120 horses.”
As part of his never ending search for perfection, Weir organised for truckloads of specially selected sand to be brought in and used at the property, one of several he operates in regional Victoria.
“It’s worked out well… we’ve got the sand we wanted, and it’s worked out good.”
Regarded as the people’s trainer and as one who enjoys his craft and the taste of victory, Weir remains philosophical about his love of horse racing, and the sport widely regarded as the sport of kings.
“We’re happy with the way things are going but it’s an up and down sport, it can change very quickly, and things can go wrong.”
Asked about what it is that drives him, or for what he considers to be the key ingredients for his incredible success in the sport, Weir remains both humble and forthright.
“You’ve got to have a passion for the sport. You’ve got to be able to ride the tough times and you’ve got to want to work too.
“It’s not an easy game to get into and the main thing is, you need a bit of luck.”
As the trainer of a couple of the current Caulfield and Melbourne cup favourite, Weir admits to being in a position that is both exciting and enviable.”
“That’s what we all do it for….. We do it for those races and its exciting that we’ve got horses in those races, so were really happy with that.”
Three years ago, jockey Michelle Payne steered 100-1 longshot Prince of Penzance to an unlikely Melbourne Cup victory that captured the hearts and imagination of a nation, in a win Weir this week reflects on as “a fluke”.
“I’d love it to happen again, but it would be pretty hard.
“It’s hard enough to get in the race, let alone win the race.”
Weir will be joined on stage during this year’s Biggest Ever Blokes Lunch by his good mate and fellow racing industry identity, Bendigo’s own Ric McIntosh.
Acclaimed for his colourful calling and his passion for the sport of horse racing, McIntosh enjoys cult-like status among racing industry followers for his craft behind the microphone.
Bendigo’s Biggest Ever Blokes Lunch is on Friday, November 23 at Bendigo Stadium.
– Peter Kennedy