Racehorses provide relief for dairy farmer

The relief package Victorian dairy farmer Peter Chow is counting on comes with four legs, a tail, a long face and answers to the name of Lord Tennyson.

But there is nothing poetic about how Chow has to rely on a racehorse for an income as he and fellow dairy farmers fight for their survival.

In the less-than-secure jobs stakes, Chow has found the quinella.

He milks cows and trains racehorses.

But having a team of six in work has come as a welcome distraction for the Warrnambool dairy farmer as falling milk prices rip apart his industry.

“It’s not much fun this dairy caper at the moment,” Chow said.

It can be just as tough for a part-time horse trainer to earn a dollar, especially when your opposition on country Victorian racetracks is the incomparable Darren Weir.

Weir’s Warrnambool stable produced last year’s Melbourne Cup winner Prince Of Penzance among the 300 races he has won this season.


Yet horses might be Chow’s best chance at the moment and getting to the races is a lot better than worrying about milk price wars that are sending farmers broke.

“I look forward to having a horse race as it gets me off the farm,” he said.

Chow starts his morning at dawn looking after six thoroughbreds before he turns dairy farmer a few hours later and his long days could have a sizeable reward when he takes Lord Tennyson to Sandown on Saturday.

Lord Tennyson, a last-start Warrnambool winner on a heavy track, runs in the Le Pine Funerals Handicap and no-one is happier than Chow that the meeting is likely to be rain-affected.

“I’d love to have a heavy track up there,” Chow said.

“I know he handles it and I’m not too sure whether the others do.”

Chow concedes Saturday’s race has some quality and he expects Lord Tennyson will need a lot to go his way from a wide barrier.

He said his small string of horses was the best he had trained but there would be extra pressure to win more races, given the uncertainty in dairy farming.

“It will be a long, lean winter otherwise,” he said.

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