By Tony Megahey
Canberra’s Doug Gorrel is grateful that most of his working life has been spent around racetracks and horses.
Gorrel, a typical sports loving Aussie, training a couple of live chances at value odds at Queanbeyan’s TAB meeting on Saturday, took time out from his latest job as a Canberra public servant to outline an uplifting battling trainer’s yarn.
And Doug, as a former sports journalist, is well qualified to write his own story.
“Not operating on much sleep, but love it, built up to ten in work now - that’s the most I can handle with a job to make ends meet,” Gorrel explained.
Gorrel has worked as a stable hand, bookmaker’s clerk, jockey manager, scales clerk and sporting journalist. He’s an average, hard working bloke who’s had a decent crack.
“Not many licences I haven’t held in racing but I always set my sights on training and results are improving every season,'' he said.
“Main thing I’m doing what I wanted to do in life-train and race horses. I started punting and going to the races with my grandfather.”
At present for Doug it’s 4am at the stables for trackwork and planning then a 9am start in the Canberra business district in marketing and communication.
Olifants runs third at Cowra on March 2
And then back to the stables to exercise, feed and bed down his team. And finally grab some well-earned sleep.
Gorrel has held a training licence for five seasons with the current being his most productive with 19 winners so far and a rapid extension of last season’s 11 race success, mostly at non-TAB meets.
Doug’s training stats are running at a creditable 19pc the win and 41pc placings.
On Saturday, Doug has three runners at Queanbeyan and links with Wagga Wagga based New Zealand riding new comer Heni Ede on six-race winner Olifants (race 6) and veteran Picnic performer Southern Gamble (race 3), formerly with the Layt stable, who has topped the century of starts.
“Olifants is racing super, put two strong wins together, couple of placings, flies at this track and we’ve gone with Heni’s maximum claim,” Doug enthused.
Olifants offers compelling credentials of two wins from five starts at Queanbeyan, is race fit and in form. Southern Gamble is nearing retirement, but thrives on racing.
“He’s racing out of his skin for an ol’ bugger,'' he said.
"Obviously up in grade from non-TABS but we’ve claimed again with Heni. He won the Tumbarumba Cup from a decent field and held his form in the Tumut and Yass Cups. Heni’s claim brings him nicely in better grade the way he’s racing.
“Heni’s good value, really capable little girl with that claim.”