by Olivia O'Sulliavn, courtesy Racing.com
New South Wales trainer Mitch Beer has informed his ownership base that horses won't race due poor air quality surrounding his Albury stables.
New South Wales Rural Fire Service workers are attempting to control the blaze around the Jingellic area, which is more than 182,000 hectares in size and causing a smoke haze to surrounding areas, including Albury where the Air Quality is listed as 'hazardous'.
Beer, who is listed as the trainer of over 50 horses, informed his owners of his decision on Monday by issuing the following statement:
"As you would all be aware Albury is currently surrounded by heavy bushfires with the air quality extremely poor and smokey (sic)."
"This means we will have to reduce all of the horses trackwork over the next week or so and as we have done over the past couple of days.
"We do have runners at Echuca today (Monday) but they were able to be galloped prior to the heavy smoke.
"Since Saturday we have been doing minimal work with the horses but will keep them ticking over with light work on the walker.
"We do thank you for your patience and understanding in this time and will keep you further posted over the coming days."
Working with the lights on, feels like 4am not 11
Two Beer-trained horses, Bertone and Rarer Than Rubies, were entered to run at Yarra Valley on Wednesday but have been withdrawn. Beer elaborated on his decision to Racing.com.
"After Wednesday we haven’t made any nominations," Beer said.
"I can’t get the work into them and I don’t think the next few days I’m going to be able to work them.
"Our staff are really starting to feel the effects of four or five days of heavy smoke.
“It’s going to be hard because even just thinking about the weekend, or the weekend after that, we’ve got to get work in them to get there.
"In the scheme of things there’s a lot of people worse off than us, it’s just a frustrating time."
Beer relocated from Mornington to Albury in September 2018 and has trained 53 winners since moving from Victoria to New South Wales. He has been active on social media in an attempt to help his new local community, putting the call out for supplies and assistance for those effected by the bushfires.
Go to work Twitter!
"We’ve sort of had things being dropped off at the stables over the last couple of days and Sunday was the first day that they opened up the roads enough that we could get out there and we took a load up," Beer said.
“Albury itself is not under any threat. The actual townships of Albury and Wangaratta are pretty safe but obviously Albury, Wangaratta and Wodonga are the three sort of big towns that are the gateway to the smaller regions.
'It’s a pretty vital place and a lot of people have been cut off from those towns.
"I use it (social media) for enough stupid things, it’s good to actually make some good out of it.”
Vale Brian Cox
Last week Clanbrooke lost one of our closest friends. I grew up knowing Brian and his father Olle from Pony Club days and I always thought that Olle was the iconic Man from Snowy River - and if that was so, then Brian was the real life version of Jim Craig. His training statistics are unparalleled in the North-East and his forays to Melbourne were immortalised in the media because 'he's not bringing them down the highway for the float ride'. Ironically it was in Melbourne Cup week of 2002 that he trained 3 individual winners to be the leading trainer for the Carnival.
But Brian was more than just a horse trainer. He was a friend to many and a mentor to a litany of jockeys, fellow trainers and stable staff. He could be gruff at times because he didn't accept mediocrity but it was always short-lived and he then would turn educationalist and explain how the little things could be improved. In the early days of Clanbrooke, Brian became one of our biggest supporters. His words of encouragement when things were tough remain as a testament to both his horsemanship and his friendship. It was always a pleasure to sit down with Brian and Janet and just talk about anything and everything. The racing world will be poorer for Brian's passing and we at Clanbrooke mourn him as much as anyone.
Humour The Best Tonic According To Beer
By Ray Hickson
Always look on the bright side of life - it's straight from the Monty Python songbook and goes a small way to summing up the breath of fresh air that is Albury based trainer Mitchell Beer.
Trainer Mitchell Beer on strapping duty. (Pic: Bradley Photos).
When he made a permanent move from Mornington to the border town in NSW with 20 horses in September last year it was seen by others as a huge risk, that he was 'absolutely mad' for doing it, and someone even told him he'd probably starve.
Twelve months on, and with his horse numbers almost tripled, it seems Beer is having the last laugh - mostly at his own expense of course.
His Twitter feed, filled with biting satire, witty observations and just making light of serious things like winning and losing in racing and in life, is testament to that.
And he's lapping up everything that comes with being a country trainer.
"I'm not afraid to be an average 31-year-old guy, I just happen to be an average 31-year-old guy who trains racehorses,'' he says.
"I never wanted to let becoming a trainer change me in any way and how I go about life.
"You don't have to act serious and play that whole game to the public to justify that you're dedicated and are doing a good job.
"I couldn't give any more time or effort to my stable but I don't live in the fear that's not perceived.''
Whether you're a trainer, jockey, stablehand, strapper or any other participant in what many refer to as 'the great game' if you're a member of the racing industry it's a way of life.
So why make it harder than it already is? That's the Beer philosophy anyway.
"We get beaten more than we win in this caper and having the attitude that losing is okay, and not putting a huge amount of pressure on myself, really translates to the way I train and run my business,'' he said.
"This industry can be very consuming. It's a lifestyle, it's not just a job where you can clock off on Friday afternoon and come back.
"It's really important not to let the job and the racing game consume you as a person.
"I worked for a lot of trainers who have trained for a long time and have felt the brunt of that. It's a demanding job.
"It's taken a toll on them from spending 30 years working in the racing industry. I made a promise to myself that I didn't want to become that.''
Mitchell Beer with UK import Perfect Illusion, aka Gavin. (Pic: @mitchellbeer)
The short version of the Mitchell Beer back story is, despite his best efforts to step outside the racing bubble, he was always going to play some role in racing.
His father Les was a prominent jockey around country Victoria and his sister Ashlee is also an ex-jockey.
Even though it sounds like one of Beer’s gags, this isn’t a joke - he wanted to be a golf coach, and spent a year as a pro shop apprentice, and he wanted to fight fires.
"One day I accepted that racing was my fate,’’ he said.
“I thought if I'm going to do it I'm not going to be mucking out boxes for the rest of my life and I'll have a real go at being a trainer.
"Fast forward and I'm waking up to 50 horses in the back yard in Albury.''
When he moved from Mornington, which for someone who grew up in Melbourne was considered to be 'the bush', across the border Beer knew he was making a shrewd business decision.
He'd worked with many of the big names in the industry and transitioned to training in his own right four years ago through a partnership with Max Hinton.
What he didn't know was how much it would open his eyes.
Not only to a more relaxed setting to train his horses but to a racing community that embraced him the more he embraced it.
"I was unsure about how I'd go living here. I think this place has been as good for me as it has the business,'' he said.
"I get out of bed at 5.30am. We're not rushed, we can work at a slower pace and we can spend more time with the horses.
"I have a life here and my staff have a life.
"I've been to every racetrack in Victoria 100 times but in the past year I've been to racetracks I didn't know existed and country towns I didn't know existed let alone hold a meeting.
"It's given me a whole new zest for racing and the country Cups circuit is phenomenal. Country racing is so strong in NSW, the prizemoney is one thing but the support from the towns in the area is phenomenal.''
What a terrific day it was!.
With a winner for Clanbrooke in the first at Morphetville on the day (Regardsmaree), we were lucky enough to be wined and dined in the Committee Room before presenting to the trophy for the Clanbrooke Racing Handicap to one of the largest group of owners we have ever presented to.
Nice shot of our Steeplechaser, Mapping, negotiating the fences at Ballarat last Sunday.
Two Winners in Two Days!
Congratulations to all connections in Regardsmaree. He saluted yesterday at Warrnambool at only his second career start after a nice even run on debut at Sandown when he was beaten less than four lengths. A nice, patient but soft ride by stable rider Josh Cartright yesterday who has ridden the horse a lot in work.
Well done and thank you to Henry Dwyer and his dedicated staff on a job well done.
6.8.2019 We're on the Board for Season 2019/20
Congratulations to connections of Swift Serenity who saluted at only her second start at Wodonga for Clanbrooke and Lindsay Park. Swift Serenity's win marks the first of the new Racing Season for Clanbrooke. With a stable full of promising youngsters we are looking forward to another successful Season.