Robbie Close’s first training win at Rangiora on Sunday was memorable on more than one level.
The diminutive horseman, noted as an accomplished freelance driver to this point in his career, recorded win number one as a trainer when Majestic Mannequin streeted her opponents by eight lengths in the maiden trot.
And while chalking up what will no doubt be the first of many was satisfying, the presence of those closest to him made it all that more notable.
“My parents came down for the day and were on course for the win, as was my girlfriend.
“We all own the horse together so that made it a bit more special for me.”
Close purchased the now four-year-old daughter of Majestic Son as a yearling and drafted his Waiuku-based parents, Michael and Shelley, and girlfriend Brooke McHardy into the ownership.
“I bought her at the Auckland yearling sales for $8000 and immediately rung my father to see if they would take a half-share.
“Brooke came in for 10 percent too and I kept the rest.”
Close, who did his formative years in the game with Michelle Wallis and Bernie Hackett in Waiuku, is now employed by Regan Todd on the beach at Woodend.
He trains just the one horse, but is open to adding to that while learning from a slew of experienced trainers.
“Regan is a very good trainer and one I enjoy learning off.
“Then I’ve also got the influence of Davey Butt there too, and Mark Jones as well; they all look after me.
“Eventually I’d like to train a lot more on my own, but I’m pretty happy working for Regan right now.”