By Mark Brassel
NATALIE JARVIS WAITED MORE THAN A DECADE TO LAND HER FIRST METROPOLITAN WINNER AND WHEN IT ARRIVED, SHE WENT DESPERATELY CLOSE TO MAKING IT TWO CITY VICTORIES IN THE SPACE OF FOUR DAYS
Natalie Jarvis and husband Luke came up with a strategy to entice owners to invest in racehorses and it’s working extremely well with a long list of happy owners.
“We found most owners don’t receive much information – usually they get an email when their horse is racing and that’s it,” Natalie said.
“We wanted to go much further and create a point of difference and a major one is being completely transparent.
“We have webcams 24/7 on all our yards and anyone can log on and watch.
“We also had an app developed and the owners love it – it’s very user-friendly.
“And we have owners all over the place. Some are in Sydney, but there are large groups of owners from places like Temora and Forbes.
“Our owners love to make a weekend of seeing their horses race whether it’s Sydney or down here.
“During Moruya Cup time, many owners come down and play golf then go to the Cup Calcutta before heading to Cup day.”
Natalie and husband Luke, both 36, took up full-time racehorse training around five years ago.
“I grew up in Terrey Hills (32km out of Sydney) and my sister and I had horses and we went to pony club,” Natalie explained. “I still ride most of my horses work.”
Several years back to make ends meet, Natalie worked in accounts at Racing NSW in the Sydney CBD and Luke plied his trade as an electrician.
During this time the couple prepared “one or two horses” at Hawkesbury Racecourse (62km away) and trained the horses at dawn before heading off to work – it made for long and trying days.
“I’d had a licence for a few years and we decided we’d have a go at full-time training, so I left Racing NSW about five years ago.
“We moved to Kembla Grange and there we mapped out a plan to build a website and set-up what we call ‘Thorotek’ racing stables.
“Buying the horses is Luke’s forte. He likes to find suitable horses for the right price. He buys most horses online via Bloodstockauction.com or Inglis. And we play it pretty safe – we have the horse vetted and scoped prior to purchase.
“We normally concentrate on maiden and class one horses and that way we can work them through their grades.
“Then hopefully they can step up to better class races down the track.
“Unlike buying a yearling and waiting a long time before they race, the ones we purchase are virtually ready to go.
“Owners buy into our horses and they have so much fun; they get friends into other horses and it keeps going from there.”
One such product is five-year-old Resort whom they purchased for just $18,000 in November last year and he has since won at Rosehill Gardens and returned $52,000 in prizemoney.
Resort won at Rosehill Gardens on the Wednesday (27 February) before Air Free was beaten half a neck in a Highway at Randwick on the Saturday (2 March).
And the run has been continuing with the Jarvis stable capturing a winning double at Sapphire Coast in March and a double own their home soil in April.
“We are gradually building our numbers. We were waiting for that ideal property and it finally came on the market at Moruya.
“We had eight horses when we arrived here two and a half years ago but now have 20 horses in work with a capacity for 28.
“It’s an excellent track as its sand-based so when it rains we can still gallop the horses. And the big difference is the horses are always in their yards [with shelters], and not stabled.
“They are not stressed and go on trail rides and wade in the river or the beach, so they are very happy horses and their mind is in a great place.”
Thorotek publishes a myriad of information for owners on social media with daily horse updates, training diaries, stable news, late mail on their runners, horses available and there’s even an owners’ guide.
And Natalie regularly rides trackwork with an on-board camera showing the gallop with sectional times displayed on the website.
One owner, Richard Barwick, said: “Natalie and Luke buy a lot of tried horses and syndicate them.
“They also have the best communication methods with owners, far out-weighing those of big-name city trainers.
“And they have their own interactive app where they continually place updates … I believe they’ve nailed it!”