Darren Weir

Trainer Darren Weir after his horse /h/ won Schweppes Lemonade Handicap, at Moonee Valley Racecourse on January 21, 2017 in Moonee Ponds, Australia. (Reg Ryan/Racing Photos)

When a trainer has as many horses on his books as Darren Weir, it follows that he must rely more than most on his staff.

 

And when that trainer regularly produces more winners than any other in Australia, it isn’t unreasonable to assume that his staff are performing at an extraordinary level.

“We’ve put together a great team at the Ballarat and Warrnambool stables, there’s everything from accountants to gardeners, truck drivers, exercise riders, you name it,” he says.

“If there’s one thing they all have in common it’s loyalty and I know that without them we’d be struggling.”

To Weir, the Godolphin Stud and Stable Staff Awards reflect his own admiration and regard for his staff.

“Anything that recognises the stuff that goes on behind the scenes in racing is great, because there’s plenty that happens that no one sees or knows about. It’s as important as anything else.”

One of Weir’s 70 or so staff, Lee Purchase, was acknowledged in the GSSSA awards in 2016 as a finalist in the Thoroughbred Welfare section, one of six categories that each carries a $10,000 prize.

Purchase is in charge of the ‘sacked paddock’, a concept funded personally by Weir for horses from the stable who have retired or are no longer racing propositions.

“We’ve found homes for more than a hundred horses and to have the Awards recognise what we’ve done is fantastic,” she said.

“Being a finalist in the GSSSA awards was as rewarding as seeing one of my horses go to a good home.”

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