‘Our business is a family one’: Trainer’s tribute to son


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“We had been going right into a three-way partnership with myself and my two boys. It was solely 4 weeks later Jonny took his life and it flattened us for some time. What we had been hoping to do 5 years in the past we have managed to do within the final two years.”

Pitman whispers this from his hospital mattress. It is simply earlier than he is been given the clearance to leap on a spot to observe his finest horse within the largest race of his life after he is been preventing for his personal.

Plotting a challenge: Savvy Coup gallops at Moonee Valley on Tuesday.

Plotting a problem: Savvy Coup gallops at Moonee Valley on Tuesday.Credit score:AAP

He needs to speak about each little intricacy about how the Cox Plate would possibly unfold. By his personal reasoning, “I’ve had loads of time on my fingers recently”. He is virtually learn each report main as much as the $5 million race.

He talks unprompted about Jonny, who was simply 28 when he died. He needs individuals to know the avid proprietor and racegoer can be a presence within the household gathering at Moonee Valley.

“We run our enterprise as a household enterprise, and our homeowners are our pals,” Pitman beams.

He is additionally not opposed to proudly owning a horse that is not in his steady. One in all his newer ones? A nag by the title of El Doute, which he despatched to Australia to be educated by none aside from Waller.

“If we won’t win it, I might be completely rapt to be in a race the place Winx wins her fourth Cox Plate,” Pitman says. “I’ve identified Chris Waller since he first began coaching and I really had a horse in coaching with Chris myself.

“For my part, he is simply an impressive individual to have a marketing campaign with a horse like that . . . I do know you have to have the products, however to handle her marketing campaign like Chris has is simply unbelievable actually. I am filled with respect for him.”

Little question, Waller is stuffed with respect for Pitman too. Pitman, the south island coach, needs to change into the primary New Zealand conditioner to organize 2000 winners, a resolve solely strengthened by a analysis of bowel most cancers within the final 12 months.

He needn’t look far for inspiration in Savvy Coup’s retired co-owner Ray Coupland, who constructed up his bakery enterprise to make use of 600 individuals and recovered from a quintuple coronary heart bypass operation earlier than the 2008 Cox Plate to observe his horse Princess Coup race.


“Michael’s had a petty tough time of it, however they’re fortunate what they’ll do for you today,” Coupland mentioned. “There’s nothing like a high horse to maintain you going. He is received an awesome information, Michael, and he is received an amazing reminiscence.”

Which is why he will not neglect his first Cox Plate runner on a special occasion any time quickly.

Or the son who he is aware of will likely be wanting down on him too.

If you’re experiencing private difficulties, please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or beyondblue on 1300 224 636.

Adam Pengilly is a Sports activities reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald.

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