Just over a week after being on hand for the official opening of Gawler’s new equine pool, local trainer Aimee Bush had another reason to celebrate.
The 26-year-old attended this month’s ribbon-cutting ceremony in a formal capacity, as an employee of the Darren Magro Racing stable, and was as pleased as anyone with the new $495,000 state-of-the-art facility.
The following weekend her excitement went ‘next level’ when she prepared her first winner, thanks to Oliver’s Tale surging to victory at Port Augusta.
“It was so much excitement, but relief as well, because I’d been wanting to get a winner so badly,” she said.
“I just couldn’t believe it – there’s been hard work and effort from a lot of people, so it was amazing.
“It was a day I’ll never forget.”
Aimee trains two horses, Oliver’s Tale and Arctic Blaze, and before last Sunday’s win had three seconds and a third to her credit. Her first winner came with her 15th starter.
Aimee hails from Victoria, but crossed the border in 2012 to gain her Bachelor of Animal Science, then her Honours in the same subject. A lifelong horse lover, during her university studies Aimee started riding track work for established Gawler trainer Darren Magro.
However, she soon “caught the racing bug” and after completing her studies began working full-time for Magro, doing everything from helping with accounts and owner updates, to track riding, social media updates, and taking horses to and from tracks on race days. She continues in the role today, and says she is fortunate that Magro allows her to stable her two horses within his facilities.
Both her horses are likely to be entered for Sunday week’s City of Port Augusta Cup meeting and she hopes Oliver’s Tale can reproduce last weekend’s form.
“At the top of the straight I thought ‘he’s gone’, but he’s such a little fighter and he gets quite competitive,” she said.
“Sairyn rode him a treat and he got up, so it was awesome.
“His last two starts at Port Augusta he’d run second, but before (last week) he’d drawn quite wide.
“He needs to draw a good gate at Port Augusta because he doesn’t have much gate speed. Barrier three meant he was able to slot in the first half of the field, not the second half, which he normally does. It made it a little bit easier.”
Aimee says she was destined to work in the racing industry, but has no plans to expand her stable.
“I never wanted to be a jockey, but I wanted to do something to do with racehorses,” she said.
“I’ve learned a lot from Darren and I thought it would be really exciting to have one or two horses in my own name, and make all the decisions – where they race and what they get fed – and it’s been really great
“But I’ll probably take it as it comes because I’m enjoying what I’m doing right now. That’s not to say that in the future I wouldn’t like a bigger team of horses, but at the moment I’m enjoying having my couple and just playing around with them.”
Meanwhile Aimee described the new equine pool – established after the Gawler and Barossa Jockey Club received a grant as part of the State Government’s $24 million industry stimulus package – as “absolutely amazing”.
“It’s a state-of-the-art pool, and we’re really lucky to have that facility at Gawler,” she said.
“It’s going to help all of us trainers a lot.
“I’ve used it already. Arctic Blaze loved it.”