Cambridge horseman Glen Harvey. Photo: Trish Dunell
Cambridge horseman Glen Harvey is loving being back in New Zealand and is fulfilling a life-long ambition.
The 30-year-old became a licensed trainer only a few months ago and will send out his first stakes runner when two-year-old filly Beaune contests Saturday’s Listed Fasttrack Insurance 5k Bonus 2YO Stakes (1100m) at Pukekohe.
Harvey, the son of well-known racing and bloodstock identities Bruce and Maureen Harvey who operate Ascot Farm in Cambridge, has grown up with racing in the blood.
“I always wanted to be a trainer, but it has just been a work in progress,” Harvey said.
“I was only five-years-old when Roysyn, who was raced by my grandparents, won the New Zealand Derby (Gr.1, 2400m)
“When mum and dad got back from the races I said ‘one day I want to be a horse trainer’.
“It was quite cool the other day to have mum and dad’s colours go around on Alamo and Vinnie Colgan, who rode Roysyn, in the saddle.”
Having worked in several capacities in the thoroughbred industry, Harvey has most recently returned from a stint in Singapore just over four months ago.
“For the last couple of years I have been in Singapore, where I was assistant trainer to Kah Soon Tan and we had a fair bit of success,” Harvey said.
“It was great. I got to spend a lot of time with the horses there and we were very patient. In addition to Soon, I was able to connect with trainers like Lee Freedman, Shane Baertschiger and Donna Logan.
“Whenever I’m questioning whether I am doing the right thing with a horse, I ring them, especially Lee, who I talk to quite frequently.”
Harvey used his time in Singapore to good effect, growing his list of contacts, with first-starter Beaune raced by a leading owner.
“The filly is owned in Singapore by one of the biggest owners up there, Aramco Stable, and they have won two Group Ones in Singapore this year. They have most of their horses with Shane Baertschiger,” Harvey said.
Harvey is basing himself at his parents Ascot Farm, which is ten minutes from the Cambridge track.
“I am preparing the horses from Ascot Farm and we take three truck loads to the track every morning,” Harvey said.
“We have got a treadmill at home, plus our own track and it is well equipped with walkers and good staff.
“Mum and Dad have been right behind me and although they still have horses with Guy Lowry and Neill Ridley, as well as five in Singapore, it has been great to have their support and it probably works well for them too.”
Whilst keen to make a success of training, Harvey is realistic about the economics of training versus trading.
“It is difficult to survive unless you are trading horses,” he said. “We sold one to Hong Kong last week and that is like winning a Derby.
“I am quite keen to train a few fillies as it would be nice to have some horses to take through to the races that are not competing with the trade horses, which are mainly colts and geldings.”
With around 30 horses on the books, Harvey is hopeful Beaune can help garner further interest from prospective new owners.
The daughter of Kermadec finished second in her only trial and has drawn barrier nine in the 11-horse field on Saturday.
“With the draw, she is most likely going to have to go back, but we will just see where she lands,” Harvey said.
“The way she has been working this week would suggest she is not just there to make up the numbers. If she could run a place, she is a very valuable filly, but whatever she does she will improve again and she will make a lovely three-year-old.”
Harvey purchased six horses from this week’s Ready To Run Sale at Karaka and is looking forward to racing one of them in partnership with retail-King Gerry Harvey.
“It was good buying if you did your homework. I am looking forward to racing one with Gerry Harvey, who has the same initials as me. It will be good to see the GH brand on one I train.”