Trainer very much on home turf

Trainer Brian Anderton, of North Taieri, stands with Blossom Festival, a 4-year-old mare about to...
Trainer Brian Anderton, of North Taieri, stands with Blossom Festival, a 4-year-old mare about to compete at the Omakau gallops. Photo by Peter McIntosh.
Racing is definitely in the blood for the Anderton family.

Brian Anderton, who turns 75 this month, has been attending the Omakau Gallops since he was 13.

His mother came from a family of jockeys and his father was a jockey who became a trainer.

"So it was destiny, it was natural that I followed in the footsteps."

Mr Anderton also used to be a jockey and is now a trainer.

He trains in partnership with son Shane at White Robe Lodge, a thoroughbred horse stud in North Taieri with more than 60 horses.

There Mr Anderton and Shane train horses, as well as jockeys.

All Mr Anderton's children are involved in horses in some way.

His son-in-law and oldest daughter run the stud.

His daughter-in-law runs the office and some of his grandchildren work there.

When he first starting going to the Omakau meets, Mr Anderton's family would board the "old goods train" with their horses in Wingatui at 7pm and arrive in Omakau at 7am the next day, then ride the horses out to White's farm, then to the racecourse, back to the farm, then travel back to Wingatui on the Monday night train.

Attending race meets was quite different for the Andertons now.

Their day began at 6.30am when they fed the horses, cleared their boxes and then "worked" the horses that would not be racing.

At 8.15am Shane left, driving the float with the nine horses that were to race.

Mr Anderton followed, arriving at the course about 11am.

By that time Shane, with help from staff, had unloaded and groomed the horses and they were waiting in the stable area to be saddled up for their races.

Two of the Andertons' horses went head-to-head in a race.

The other seven were spread out over the 11 races.

Ya Sea won race 2; Inferno came second in race 10; Smudgee came third in race 7 and Tug O' War came fourth in race 2.

Although modest about his achievements, Mr Anderton said he had won 126 races as a trainer.

Six of those were Grand Nationals, as well as a New Zealand Cup and the 1000 Guineas, a club-run event in Christchurch.

When asked what the secret to a good racehorse was, Mr Anderton smiled as he said, "Brains, natural ability ... and they have to be good eaters."



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