By Grahame Timbrell
A love of working closely with her late father and their shared passion for horses meant it was a forgone conclusion that 23-year-old Danielle Seib would take out a trainer’s licence to continue to prepare the small team he trained at Muswellbrook.
Lewis Seib died on June 3, one month to the day that he was admitted to hospital with a grade four brain tumour and on Sunday, Muswellbrook Race Club will honour his memory with the running of the In Memory of Lewis Seib Class One and Maiden (1770m).
Danielle will start a horse called Not For The Lord in the race in a bid to win it and perhaps ease some of the family’s pain and grief. Most of the Seib family share in his ownership.
“It will be an emotional time if he was to win the race but even more so because he was Dad’s favourite horse,” Danielle said. “Dad always thought that once he matured he would develop into a nice stayer.”
In-form Sydney apprentice Rachel King will be aboard as her way of honouring a trainer who helped her as she tried to get established in the riding ranks.
“Rachel and I became friends through Dad giving her rides early in her career,” Danielle said.
Not For The Lord will not be Danielle’s first runner as a trainer. That will be Tudor Sunrise which runs in the Class Two (1100m) at Gosford on Friday with Grant Buckley in the saddle.
“She loves a wet track but it’s a tough field,” Danielle said. Two starts back Not For The Lord ran third over 2100 metres on a wet track at Gosford but followed that up by running last over 2340 metres at Newcastle.
“Normally he is slowly out of the barriers and drops out then finishes his races off which is what he did at Gosford,” Danielle said. “However, at Newcastle he came out the barriers quickly and pulled hard all the way.
“We have decided that Rachel should try and ride him a little more forward and I have made some gear changes, putting a snaffle bit and cross over nose band on him.”
Horses have been a passion for Danielle since she started riding at four years of age and developed through pony club and later eventing. After completing her HSC she worked for two years, first at a pre-training centre at Scone and later with her father at Arrowfield.
“Working with Dad both in the stables and also at his day job at Arrowfield are memories I will treasure forever,” Danielle said. However Danielle has another passion. She is 12 months away from graduating from Newcastle University with a degree as a Batchelor of Secondary Education (Science), majoring in biology.
In her final year at St Joseph’s High School at Aberdeen she was captain and one of the highest achievers and gained a score of 93 in the HSC.
“I loved school and I loved learning and I want to teach,” Danielle said. “My dream is to teach and just have a small stable with a couple of decent horses.”
Juggling training, riding work and studying at university has been a challenge and Danielle said she realises juggling a teaching career with training will be an even bigger challenge but it doesn’t faze her: “I love challenges,” she said.
Danielle had combined her studies and working in the stable with riding trackwork, not only for her father but for several of the smaller stables at Muswellbrook including Les Roberts, Craig Bermingham, Peter Englebrecht and Andrew Robinson.
When her father was admitted to hospital she continued to ride work as well as run the stable, drive to Newcastle three days a week for lectures and tutorials and spend as much time at the hospital as she could. The remainder of her study was and still is done online.
“When dad became ill all the trainers pitched in but especially Andrew and his partner and I will forever be grateful to them,” Danielle said. “It has made my job that little bit easier.”
Duane Dowell, the secretary/manager of Muswellbrook Race Club, is in awe of Danielle: “She is highly intelligent and has an incredible work ethic and I am sure that with her energy and commitment she will succeed,” he said.