Image: Darren Winningham
In big breaking news from the Queensland trainer’s ranks, trainers Les Ross and Brenton Andrew have confirmed that they are in the process of establishing a training partnership.
“We are still getting through the paperwork, but the agreement has been reached and, hopefully, we can get underway at the start of the new season on August 1.” said Ross. “It all depends on how long the paperwork takes to come through… but we are doing it.”
Ross has trained successfully for Mike Crooks, who heads the large Mishani Enterprises racing organisation, with the duo having enjoyed success together over a number of seasons, particularly in the QTIS Two-Year-Old arena, which Ross and Crook’s sky blue and white colors have dominated to a large degree in recent years.
Andrew, to date, has been a quiet achiever, mostly on the country circuit where his honest endeavor obviously caught the attention of Ross and Crooks.
“It quite came by chance actually,” said Ross. “We’ve been looking for a person to join us for quite a while now. I did plan to retire towards the end of the year, but that has been put on hold now… but I want to semi-retire.
“Once I get Brenton set up, I’ll be able to have a bit of time out, and vice versa, he’ll be able to get a break … whereas at the moment we are at it 24/7.
“There is no change in my relationship with Mishani. Mike is very much behind us and so it will be a win/win for everyone.
“I think training partnerships are the way to go. Apart from spreading the workload and freeing up time, I think it is good because there is always somebody there with the horses who have got the most important interest in them.
“Also, one of the most important things we needed was a work rider… and Brenton solves that problem too. He rides and his wife (Billy) rides… so that will be another plus for us.
“What will happen is that Brenton will go out to Mishani (Mike Crooks’ super farm facility at Beaudesert) and I’ll continue to run things here in town.
“I’ll keep ten stables in town. Hopefully I can still rent ten once I lose my stables … which I sold twelve months ago. We’ll have ten in town and twenty-five out there.
“I’m looking forward to it. Brenton is a good, clean-living guy and hopefully we can do what Steven O’Dea and Matt Hoysted have done with their partnership.”
For Brenton Andrew, when the new training partnership with Les Ross does come into effect, it will represent a new beginning.
“I was invited down to Mr Crooks place the other week,” said Andrew. “Mr Crooks, Les and I went for a drive around the farm together. It is a fantastic setup. I was really impressed.
“Mr Crooks made me feel right at home. He said that if I ever needed anything to help with the operation, I only had to ask.
“As everybody knows there are a lot of Mishani horses. They wanted someone there to help out and he saw that as being best as a partnership … which obviously is a great opportunity for me and my family.
“The offer did come out of the blue,” admitted Andrew.
“It was Gatton Cup Day when they approached me… just before we won the Cup actually. I had to cut the conversation short because I had to get the saddle and I said I’ll come back.
“Then we won the Cup and I spoke to Mr Crooks. He said, look, this is the plan. We want you to be apart of it. He said Billy and I should come down to the farm and have a look.
“We’ve gone from there.
“We are proud to have received the offer. We’ve worked bloody hard for a long time and we have always tried to do the best with what we have got. I’ve got about ten in work at the moment so it will be a big step up, but we just couldn’t pass up an opportunity like this to further our careers.
“What Mr Crooks will get from me is an honest person doing his best. That’s all I can do.
“I’ll be looking after about twenty-five horses now, but, with my ten horses at Gatton I was doing everything. At Mishani I will have staff to help me so, hopefully, things might even be easier, in spite of the increase in the number of horses I will be looking after, because the operation is so well set up. At Gatton I’ve been trying to be ten people at once.
“We will be moving to the farm so we will be right there with the horses.
“A lot of what they do is with young horses. You have got to have riders there and that is probably one of the parts they are missing at the moment. It’s a struggle everywhere to find riders… whereas if you have got somebody to fill that role who is reliable, everything will go forward. I ride. Billy rides … and I think that will also a very positive factor in how we are going to contribute to Mr Crooks’ operation.
“We’re excited. We can’t wait to start.”
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