David Eustace made his first appearance in Hong Kong on Thursday night as a fully-fledged trainer in the city.
Meeting with local media before the first of eight races at Happy Valley, Eustace laid down the roadmap for the coming months as he prepares to make the full-time move from Australia to Hong Kong.
“It’s been fantastic. The Hong Kong Jockey Club have been extremely helpful and efficient – it’s great to be here for it to be official and the hard work starts now over the next few months. I’m looking to get an understanding of the rules, the setup, the races and most importantly try and build a stable,” Eustace said.
Formerly in a training partnership with Ciaron Maher, Eustace will finish up at one of Australia’s leading stables later this month before embarking on monthly trips to Hong Kong ahead of his permanent basing at Sha Tin in April.
“I’m looking forward to the challenge and pressure of building a team myself. It was not an easy decision. I had a great five and a half years in partnership and eight years working for him (Ciaron Maher), but I felt that it was time to take on the challenge and I’m really looking forward to that.
“I head back on Saturday evening. I will head to Magic Millions for the stable and I finish up with Ciaron at the end of January. I’ll look to move full time in April and my understanding is that I can train a horse from June 1 and then start having runners at the start of the 2024/25 season in September,” Eustace said.
No stranger to the Hong Kong racing scene, Eustace is the nephew of David Oughton, trainer of Cape Of Good Hope, Precision, San Domenico, Che Sara Sara and Idol.
“David (Oughton) was a massive influence. He was here (in Hong Kong) and he had a great career and it was something that always hugely interested me. It is genuinely a dream come true to get the opportunity to train here,” Eustace said.
Eustace was a former amateur jockey. In Great Britain he worked with Roger Varian and also his father James Eustace.
“I did two trips (to Hong Kong). One with War Artist for my father and a couple of years later with Farraaj who ran in the (Hong Kong) Cup for Roger Varian.
“They were two great experiences and only bolstered my enthusiasm to hopefully one day get the opportunity,” Eustace said.
Maher and Eustace trained 347 winners across the last racing season in Australia, including a string of Group 1 triumphs. They’re best known for Group 1 winners Gold Trip, Hitotsu, Sir Dragonet, Pride Of Jenni, Bella Nipotina, Explosive Jack and more.
“Every trainer wants to win the big ones and I have no doubt that is going to take a bit of time, so I think it would be wrong to set targets. I just want to get the right horses in the stable, not necessarily to work on numbers, but quality and competing for the good races to make sure that the product that arrives for owners is the right one,” Eustace said.