New era for Eurell starts at sales


1 week ago Horse Racing

Trainer Greg Eurell (Pic: Reg Ryan, Getty)

As he arrives for work each morning and opens the gates to Cadet Lodge on course at Cranbourne, trainer Greg Eurell’s chest puffs just a little with pride.

Since moving his stable from its long time base on Craig Road, somewhere between the back blocks of Devon Meadows and a place called Junction Village, to a brand spanking new complex at the Cranbourne Training Centre, Eurell has felt like he’s had the keys to a shiny Rolls Royce.

“Craig Road was a good property for a long time, but just have a look at this place,” Eurell said.

“It’s got everything you could want and it’s absolutely brand new. It’s an exciting time for our business especially bringing yearlings home from the sales to a place like this.”

The former Olympian – Eurell was a member of the 1984 Australian Equestrian team – has become a fixture of the Victorian racing scene over the last thirty years. The baldy faced and much loved eight-time G1 winner Apache Cat spread the Eurell name through racing households around the country.

“He (Apache Cat) gave us that connection to the everyday people that love racing, he was a crowd favourite that’s for sure,” Eurell said.

It comes as little surprise then to learn that those “mums and dads” as Eurell puts it, are his stable’s biggest supporters come sales time; the majority of Cadet Lodge horses carry the full compliment of shareholders.

“I think that’s the beauty of the industry at the moment, you can buy in at two and a half or five percent and have an ownership experience. We like to make our owners feel a real part of it,” he said.

Eurell will join countless colleagues at the Inglis Oaklands sales yard on Tuesday as he begins the painstaking process of inspecting the 700-odd yearlings scheduled for auction at the Melbourne Premier Sale.

The best pedigrees and most physical specimens will be obvious to most, but Eurell is searching for young horses that fit both his budget and also his selection criteria that has been refined over three decades of training.

“For where we buy in the market I target proven stallions and proven families. We look for success where we know success has come from before,” Eurell explained.

“Ultimately though type is a big determining factor for me and plays a big part in the selection process because longevity is important for us.

That means veterinary checks, x-rays and scope reports are added to the list of checks and balances before Eurell raises his hand in the auction ring.

Minimising risk in the tried horse market comes down to race form and general soundness, but for yearling buyers there are many more variables.

“There are some pitfalls if you don’t do your homework but we are very thorough, you have to be,” said Eurell.

“Longevity is important for us, we want to give our clients value for money and make sure they can enjoy their horses for as long as possible, that gives everyone the best chance of a good return.”