Ben Currie: A man on a mission

Ben Currie: A man on a mission

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It’s 30 years ago since the brilliant Snippets got the Magic Millions juggernaut rolling and put the Gold Coast in January as a destination and a young Sally Rogers on the map, albeit in her case only for a short time, as a trainer.

As the Magic Millions has grown into a $10m race day, as well as a huge, if not sweaty party housed around a multi-million dollar bloodstock orgy, the focus is on finding the next Snippets for every young trainer like Sally Rogers with a dream.

Such is the case for the current Toowoomba based 26-year-old Ben Currie, working the Magic Millions grounds as hard as any and every trainer, looking for that elusive life changer, and growing a client base to go on the journey with him.

He doesn’t hide his passion, enthusiasm and thoroughly modern way of presenting himself as a savvy racehorse trainer with a clear business plan and a clever social strategy.

He may have missed getting one of his yearling purchases into the $2m Magic Millions Classic on Saturday, but he will be represented by One Golden Day in the Magic Millions Country Cup, a mere $14,000 purchase from the 2015 sale.

But the next 12 months Currie hopes his pivotal in defining his career as a major player, not only in Queensland racing but on the national stage, something he achieved as a wet behind the ears 19-year-old when Rothera won the Group 3 Moonga Stakes on 2010 Caulfield Cup day.

“Things have been going well, I’ve been able to up my sights at the yearling sales and for the first time I’ve got some orders, but that’s no guarantee of getting a horse at a sale like this,” Currie said on the Gold Coast this week.

But one key part of the 2018 strategy for Currie is expanding his training base to Brisbane. Whilst he has been in discussions with Brisbane Racing to access boxes at Eagle Farm, there has been no green light at this stage.

“It has become quite frustrating really. It has just dragged on and I need to make some decisions but I need someone else to make decisions also so I know where I stand,” he said.

“Eagle Farm would be the pinnacle address for any trainer in Queensland, it would help attract new clients and to invest more in their horses, it would be the best fit for my job.

“When I started I was just buying cheap horses and putting mates in, getting results, selling and rolling on. We have worked hard to grow the business but to take the next step I really have an ambition to compliment what I have in Toowoomba with a base at Eagle Farm,” Currie said.

Currie has 85 horses in work, or virtually as big a stable as Queensland’s leading trainers Tony Gollan and Rob Heathcote.

He is leading the Queensland trainer’s premiership with 73 winners this season and an amazingly healthy 25.5% strike rate. 16 of those winners have come in Brisbane, placing him equal 5th on the premiership in town.

“I am looking at this long term, but if I can’t get an answer on boxes at Eagle Farm I am looking at purchasing a property outside of Toowoomba to accommodate more horses in the system. That’s not my preferred choice, but it is something I am seriously thinking about as I need to do something,” Currie said.

“I understand there are boxes available at Eagle Farm and the club also is looking after many long term trainers who mightn’t have enough horses to fill their boxes or don’t train that many winners these days.

“This is nothing personal against any of them, I am just looking for a business and commercial decision. I’d be able to fill 20 boxes in town if I was given the go ahead and it’s something I am very keen on doing,” Currie said.

“If I am going to grow my business the way I hope to, it would be about having a base in Brisbane and keeping Toowoomba as the basis of the operation.

“The facilities in Toowoomba are very good and have been good for me, Eagle Farm itself won’t improve the horses, but it’s the perception of owners and breeders to have their best horses trained at Eagle Farm,” Currie said.

Currie comes to racing from a real racing background via his father, grandfather and uncles, who have all been involved in the game.

It is why an education that led him to a journalism and marketing degree (armed while working weekends with Tony Gollan) was pushed aside to become a racehorse trainer – and do “combat’ with his former mentor.

“I am sure the growth in Tony’s career was helped significantly by being able to move to Eagle Farm, and I look forward to further talks with the Brisbane Racing Club to see if we can make any progress,” Currie said.

By Bruce Clark

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