Making Their Mark With Annabel Neasham

Annabel Neasham | Maher/Eustace Racing

In this new series we sit down with a selection of Europeans making a significant impression in the Thoroughbred industry on foreign shores. Today we have Annabel Neasham.

Position: Assistant trainer to Ciaron Maher and David Eustace. We are based in Melbourne and Sydney and I currently run the Sydney operation, which is based at Warwick Farm.

Original Hometown: Croughton, Northamptonshire, UK.

Current Hometown: Sydney, Australia.

Things you miss most about the UK: Other than a good old- fashioned village pub, I miss open spaces to train horses. It's no wonder the Europeans are so much better with stayers when they are prepared up beautiful rolling hills with endless grass. In Australia, most of the training is done around a racetrack and it makes it hard to get stayers fit whilst keeping them sound. I also miss the jumps racing and all the Cheltenham Festival build-up.

Hidden Talent: I was musical growing up and got to grade eight in piano, violin and trumpet but haven't played a note since leaving school.

Person in the industry you admire the most: I may gain some brownie points by saying the boss Ciaron Maher. He is a visionary man. His training operation has quadrupled since I started working for him and he is one of the few diverse trainers who can train sprinters, 2-year-old stakes winners, Classic winners, and Grand National Steeplechase winners.

He has also built up a fantastic internal bloodstock team which allows him to be very bold at the sales. He purchased 24 yearlings on spec at this year's Magic Millions sale and all 24 of them are sold out. His ability to delegate and trust has allowed him to build such a large, diverse and successful team.

Three dinner guests: Bradley Cooper, John Gosden, Rich Ricci.

Best thing about a career in the Thoroughbred industry: If you like Thoroughbreds and want to work with them, it can take you almost anywhere in the world. With racing and breeding prominent in so many countries, it opens doors for young people to explore other parts of the world whilst doing what they love. I love being in Australia now and what was supposedly a one-year trip has turned into nearly four and counting.

Favourite racehorse: Dubious (Aus). He was the first horse we took to Sydney when we opened up our operation there and I was with him from the very start. He won us the Breeders' Plate and I then travelled with him for a month in the lead up to the Magic Millions.

When you spend that amount of time with one horse you become quite attached. He has more air miles than most and is just a lovely character. I have a feeling Cellsabeel (Aus), a very smart 2-year-old filly, is fast becoming another favourite. She has been a Queen since the day she arrived and is currently the Golden Slipper favourite after a stunning performance at Rosehill on Saturday.

Piece of advice for someone starting out: Travel around at the start and spend time working in different places, seeing different things and meeting new people. When I started out, I spent various seasons doing yearling preparations, a breeding season, a breaking-in season, time with a bloodstock agent, office work with a consigner, trackwork etc.

It is one of the few industries whereby it is seen as ok to jump around from place to place when starting out, and it will ensure you are well-rounded. Eventually you will find what you like and that's when it is time to stay put in one place and get stuck in.

One thing I have learned is that success usually boils down to attention to detail and the little one percenters make the difference. You can't take short cuts and very few people get successful without working extremely hard. Work hard and you'll make your own luck.


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