Paul is on track
WHILE Paul Curtis admits he has gained a couple of kilograms since his days as an apprentice jockey, he has not lost any of his ability for handling racehorses.
Curtis is a new name around the local racing scene but that doesn’t mean he is lacking in experience, having been apprenticed to his father, a top Western Australian racehorse trainer, he then continued his career nationally and internationally around the racing scene.
Not as a jockey, Curtis admits he outgrew that ambition, but nevertheless working horses in a career that has seen him work for trainer David Hall, prior to his success with Makybe Diva, before taking off for the United Kingdom where he was based at Newmarket as a travelling foreman for trainer Jeremy Noseda.
“We were looking after competitors from group one races,” he said.
Not just racing the tracks in the British Isles but for the big overseas meetings.
“Racing in America, Dubai and Canada,” he recalled.
After that three-year stint Curtis returned to work in New South Wales as a stable foreman during which time he worked with two of the big name trainers in John O’Shea and Joseph Pride.
Then he met Anna, a vet who was from the American racing centre of Kentucky, with the couple marrying last year. Anna accepted a post with the Acacia Veterinary Surgery at Yeppoon and that is why Curtis is setting up a business, Curtis Thoroughbreds, in Central Queensland.
Curtis plans to put his experience to good use, training horses capable of competing and winning races, not just locally, but also at metropolitan tracks.
“I’m able to ride my own horses, there is only so much you can see through a pair of binoculars,” he said.
“I like to get a feel for my horses as that is a great advantage.”
He also believes his experience in preparing horses to race in the heat of Dubai will be an advantage locally.
Already he has a small string of horses he looks after and is confident his goals are achievable.
“I’m looking to build the number of horses and support a strong core of owners,” Curtis said.
He has also bought a horse, arriving this week, and is equally confident of its potential.
“It’s well bred and well performed at Brisbane and in New South Wales,” he stated.
Curtis has plans for racing his new acquisition at Caloundra early in the new year.
Far from looking at Rockhampton as a step backwards in his career, the 34-year-old trainer sees Central Queensland as a vibrant area in the horse racing industry.
“The new track going in is a real coup for the area,” he enthused.
Curtis is also impressed by the local people he has come into contact with.
“I’ve been received really well by everyone and things are slowly progressing,” he said.
“The people around the track have been very helpful.”
Currently Curtis is conducting his operation from the Springton Thoroughbred Farm near Yeppoon where he has been working with a horse named Dane King for its owner Dusan Cech.
“It’s a four-year-old gelding that has never raced. He has untapped ability,” he joked giving very little away.
Over the next few months Curtis plans to have six to eight horses in his care.
Having watched racing at Callaghan Park, Curtis is enthusiastic about the quality but admits it will be much stronger over the new turf.
“It is hard to gauge form on a sand track,” he said.
Curtis said as it is tough placing stayers he will concentrate on sprinters and middle distance horses.
For further information Curtis can be contacted on 0405 791 256.