Craig Weeding’s winding road to training racehorses will lead him to Canterbury for his first city runner.
Agent will be just his third starter and is nominated for the July Sprint (1100m) and the benchmark 85 handicap (1250m) at Canterbury on Saturday.
Weeding would rather run Agent in the July Sprint with a lighter weight but will accept for the benchmark 85 if he doesn’t gain a start.
The eight-year-old gelding won a trial at Wyong on Monday, defeating Group One winner Le Romain who was hard-held to finish second.
“He did exactly what we wanted,” Weeding said.
The 33-year-old started his racing career riding trackwork at Morphettville.
Weeding worked for stud farms in South Australia and Victoria, as well as Ultra Thoroughbreds which took him to Kentucky to learn about a hyperbaric chamber for horses which they would later import to Australia.
He was also retired Caulfield trainer Rick Hore-Lacy’s foreman before leaving to work in hospitality, real estate, sales and a call centre.
He returned to stud farms and left again to help set up a Sydney-based horse sales website which was bought by Inglis in 2011.
“After that I went off to the Northern Territory and broke in horses in the outback just to have a bit of a break from the city,” Weeding said.
When he returned to NSW in 2012, he set up his Hawkesbury property and used it for breaking, pre-training, eventing and show jumping.
It has now become the training base for Agent, his only horse in work.
“I always wanted to do it but you want to do it right,” Weeding said.
“You really only get one chance to make the impression.”
He said Agent, formerly trained by Hawkes Racing before he was bought as a tried horse on the website Weeding helped establish years earlier, was thriving in his paddocks.
“It’s more the peaceful life which he seems to like,” he said.
Agent will soon be joined by a small team of young horses, with Weeding’s long-term goal to build his team to about 20.
In the meantime, he has the prospect of making his first city runner his first winner on Saturday.
“It would be unreal,” Weeding said.