Day At The Track

Schumacher to return to galloping code

08:03 AM 24 May 2017 NZST
Comment (...) Tweet Share Email Print
Fergus Schumacher

Up until last Thursday it had been 19 months since Fergus Schumacher last drove a New Zealand winner - and sadly his future wins might also be few and far between.

The 22-year-old Cambridge junior driver saluted behind the Derek Balle trained Janet Guthrie at Cambridge Raceway last week.

“I was rapt to drive a winner for both Derek and Owen Gillies (owner). Owen has put a lot of time and effort into the game and I respect him and Derek a lot. That was a very satisfying win,” Schumacher said.

Schumacher’s previous New Zealand victory came behind the Steve Telfer and Chris Garlick trained Better B Amazed, also at Cambridge in October 2015.

“It’s not an easy game to make money and in September I intend returning to Milan Park. That’s where I went and worked when I returned from Australia last October,” Schumacher said.

Milan Park is a thoroughbred Stud in Hamilton. Schumacher was employed there throughout the summer and did yearling preparation up until February. That’s when the work dried up he went and worked for Nicky Chilcott in Cambridge.

Schumacher left New Zealand last April in search of better driving opportunities. He ended up working for former Kiwi trainer Brent Lilley in Victoria (Bolinda). He drove four winners during his five-month stay in Australia, including his first city win behind Let’s Elope in July last year.

Then on August 21 Schumacher drove the Lilley trained Motown Muscle to victory at a Sunday meeting at Melton's Tabcorp Park. That was his last Aussie triumph.

“It was a good learning curve over there but it’s racing, racing, and more racing almost seven days a week. It wasn’t what I was looking for so I returned home and worked for Milan Park.

“I’ll be heading back there (Milan Park) in September to do more yearling preps. I’ve always enjoyed galloping and Dad (Brendan) used to have thoroughbreds early on, and my Uncle Aidan still has them,” Schumacher said.

However, Schumacher said he wouldn’t be entirely lost to harness racing.

“I still intend keeping my licence and will hopefully get the odd junior drive. Dad still has his team so I’d still be keen to drive for him. I’m 22 now and want to lay a bit of a platform in life and it’s really hard to do that being a junior driver,” Schumacher said.

The Morrinsville based horseman has driven 13 winners from 221 drives since 2013. He's also placed 20 times and banked just over $100,000 in stakes. Janet Guthrie's one-and-a-half length victory was Schumacher's first for the season.

His first winning drive came behind the Brendan Schumacher trained Tuxedo Junction at Alexandra Park on March 15, 2013.

"I love driving and I love winning, but it can be hard paying the bills sometimes. Australia was a good experience for me and so was Milan Park. I just want to further my experience with horses,” Schumacher said.

The former Hillcrest High School student left Mike Berger’s Cambridge stable a week before flying to Victoria in April 2016. It was his first flight abroad. Now, and back then, he said he was grateful for learning so much from so many trainers.

“John Dickie, Todd Mitchell, Arna Donnelly, Steve Telfer, Chris Garlick, Nicky Chilcott and Derek Balle have all been a big help to me over the years, but the highlight has been able to work and drive for Dad," Schumacher said.

“The former Frank Cooney and Tate Hopkins trained Let’s Elope would be the best horse I have driven,” he added.

Duane Ranger


Comment (...) Tweet Share Email Print

Read More News About...

Stallion Name

Next article: