By Tony Megahey
Adversity for rookie trainer Danielle Seib spawned a driving racing ambition, and along with a mischievous family sense of humour, she’s up for the challenge of racing her former boss at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday.
Danielle, 25, who rides her own trackwork, lost her trainer/father Lewis Seib (60yo) to brain cancer two years ago, and after stoically keeping his Muswellbrook stables operating and also studying teaching at University, she moved to Goulburn for a time as a foreman for Danny Williams.
As well as training her own small team in just her second season, and with Danielle’s first TAB Highway runner, quaintly named Assault'n'bathory (Murtajill-Countess Bathory), there were as many chuckles as reserved inquiries.
“My brother David is a policeman and he’s in the family ownership - when we came up with that through his job experiences, it was crazy-hilarious,” Danielle chuckled, at recess, teaching at a Crookwell School.
“It's so cold I just saw my first snow; lot different to Muswellbrook, but still a lovely part of the region to train horses.
“I’ve got six in training, ride them work, but I’m not working for Danny any more because it was too much along with the teaching,” explained Danielle, who is up before dawn for Goulburn trackwork and then off to teaching in Crookwell.
“This is a smart horse, he won a maiden by ‘six’ and really well bred. Countess Bathory won a [Group 3] Dane Ripper and another Brisbane Listed race.” No deriding the name there.
“After his big win at Canberra we planned to take him to a Highway race.”
However, it's some task on Saturday, after drawing barrier 17 for Winona Costin and attempting to win a Class 2, $75,000 TAB Highway (1400m) with 55kg straight out of maiden grade against the 'big guns' of Williams and Matthew Dunn stablemates, Danielle accepts it will be tough.
“No luck there, but it still might be better than being near the inside because he’s a lovely actioned big strider - we don’t want him cluttered up. He needs galloping room,” Danielle explained.
“But he has got the gate speed and the ability to get across and we’ve planned to go forward with Winona.
“She was really excited winning that maiden, the way he did and when he led and ran second last start she said, he didn’t handle the softer conditions.
“Didn’t let down anything like when he won. But he’s a lovely massive type, been a really slow maturer, just the eight starts as a five-year-old.
“As a family, we’re really looking forward to the day, it’ll be special because Dad bought him as a weanling at the Sydney sales because of the dam.
“Dad worked for [Brian] Mayfield–Smith for years at Rosehill and lived across the road from the track, before he took out his training licence back home.”
And should Danielle’s stable favourite defy the odds, she’ll again explain the name with a chuckle to the waiting media throng.