Gold Coast horse trainer Gillian Heinrich’s succession plan begins with training partnership

Gillian Heinrich is looking to secure a training partnership with Ben Rodgers (L). Picture: Richard Gosling.

Gillian Heinrich is looking to secure a training partnership with Ben Rodgers (L). Picture: Richard Gosling.

 

GILLIAN Heinrich says a training partnership with Ben Rodgers is part of a succession plan as she looks at life after racing.

The prominent Gold Coast trainer, who won her battle with bowel cancer last year, officially applied for a training partnership with the Queensland Racing Integrity Commission last week.

Heinrich said it was the next step in what will eventually be her withdrawal from racing in the next couple of years.

“Ben’s been working for me now for about four or five years and before I got sick I had just put him on as foreman with the intention to — when he was comfortable — take the stand and go into a training partnership with him,” Heinrich said.

“He is a great young guy and he is very knowledgeable. I’m soft with my horses and when I retire it was always going to be very hard to find someone that we were going to be happy with. “I’ll probably only go another couple of years and then Ben will take over and I couldn’t be more happy with that.”

Heinrich has been involved in racing for over 30 years and won the city’s biggest race, the Magic Millions 2YO Classic, with Military Rose in 2010.

She was diagnosed with bowel cancer at the start of 2015 and flew to Germany twice as part of her treatment before being cleared in August that year.

The experience changed Heinrich’s outlook on life and has influenced her decision to begin her transition out of the sport.

“It used to be all horses, horses horses,” Heinrich said.

“I have realised that family is a lot more important so I need to take a little bit of a backward step so that is where Ben comes in.

“He is younger and has put in all the hard yards and has enabled me to take that step back and take it a little easier.

“I can’t afford any stress in my life so and racing’s very stressful so I’m lucky to find someone young like Ben who can take on all those stresses for me and we work together really well.”

Heinrich has two runners named to race in the Racelandia Benchmark 70 Handicap (1200m) at the Gold Coast today including Eliminator and Lord Lonhro.

But Heinrich said 6YO gelding Eliminator would likely be the only one to run after Lord Lonhro drew barrier 15.

Eliminator has faced its own struggles after fighting back from colitis, an intestinal condition that is often fatal, at the age of three to return to racing and form.

He won a barrier trial in August and managed to get fourth in his first start of this preparation on the Gold Coast two weeks later.

“We nearly lost him so he was out of action for a long time and I’m just trying to get him right,” Heinrich said.

“He had a couple of light preparations coming back again but I was never happy with him.

“But I do feel at the moment the horse is really well so I’m hoping for a really good result from him.”

 

Story courtesy Tom Boswell  Gold Coast Bulletin

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