Dream team of Alan Thomas and David Vandyke to aim high in Queensland premiership race

 

QUEENSLAND race calling icon Alan Thomas has joined forces with David Vandyke as the former Sydney trainer plots to become a premiership pacesetter in the Sunshine State.

Thomas, who signed off on his 44-year career as a race caller in December, will on Monday start a new job as Vandyke’s racing manager.

Vandyke recently relocated to the Sunshine Coast and has future ambitions to take on the likes of Tony Gollan and Rob Heathcote on the training premiership ladder.

Thomas’s new role ends wild speculation about the former race caller’s future, with some recent gossip erroneously linking him to a job on the new Racing Queensland board.

 

I think David Vandyke is an absolute wizard as a trainer. But the main thing is I like him as a bloke. I think he is a very good person and that is essential.

– former race caller Alan Thomas

 

“I think David Vandyke is an absolute wizard as a trainer,” Thomas said.

“But the main thing is I like him as a bloke. I think he is a very good person and that is essential, because I could never work for someone I didn’t like, no matter how much the job was paying.

“We are keen to take on the likes of Tony Gollan, Rob Heathcote and Bryan Guy.”

Thomas says the job description of the racing manager role with Vandyke is simple — freeing up the trainer’s time so Vandyke can focus purely on training horses.

Vandyke, who currently has 33 horses in work, has long admired Thomas’s race calls and says there is no-one with better knowledge of the Queensland racing industry.

“I don’t think there would be any person in Australia who would have better credentials to be a racing manager than Alan,” Vandyke said.

“I have admired him since I was a kid, listening to his calls, and his assessment of horses and races is second to none.

“He has got an uncanny sense of summarising a horse’s performance and I think it is a perfect fit.”

 

I don’t think there would be any person in Australia who would have better credentials to be a racing manager than Alan. I have admired him since I was a kid, listening to his calls.

– trainer David Vandyke

 

Since hanging up the binoculars, Thomas has worked in real estate and also travelled extensively. He has been surprised at the rumours which have linked him to becoming a RQ board official.

“There were lots of people ringing me and asking me whether I was going to be on the board, but I never even put an application in,” Thomas said.

“For what needs to be done for racing in Queensland, I think you need people on that board who are smarter than me.”

Thomas and Vandyke have been in touch since they connected at the Magic Millions Carnival on the Gold Coast in January.

The move to the Sunshine Coast continues a remarkable comeback story for Vandyke, who was once a drug addict who regularly slept in his car on the streets of Kings Cross.

Alan Thomas before signing off on his 44-year career as a race caller in December. Picture: Ric Frearson

 

His troubled background now seems a distant memory and he swims over a kilometre most mornings and enjoys clean living, including his favourite kale and celery juices.

Vandyke, who won the Group 1 ATC Sires Produce with Yankee Rose in April, made the move to the coast for lifestyle reasons and says he will never move back to Sydney.

“I could get offered a horse to train in NSW who was as good as Black Caviar, and I would turn it down,” he says.

“I am where I want to live, I am where I want to train and I am where I want to spend the rest of my life.

“Within three years I think I will be having a serious crack at being right up towards the top of the training premierships in Queensland.”

 

David Vandyke after Yankee Rose gave him his first Group 1 success when she took out the ATC Sires Produce during The Championships in April. Picture: Jenny Evans

Story courtesy Ben Dorries Brisbane Courier Mail

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