Jack Bruce is about to embark on the most exciting adventure of his career as he takes the plunge to start training.
The young Kiwi expat has been entrenched in the competitive racing jurisdiction of Sydney for the best part of a decade and he is now looking forward to training on his own account.
Bruce has worked for some of the top trainers in Sydney, including Bjorn Baker and Chris Waller, and has been running the Sydney barn of Ciaron Maher and David Eustace for the past two years.
The transition into training also brings about a change in location, with Bruce identifying Queensland as an ideal place to start his business.
“It is really exciting, I can’t wait. I start on May 1,” Bruce said.
“I see an opportunity in Queensland for someone who is young and driven to make an impact.
“The prizemoney in Queensland is increasing all the time. There is a real opportunity to build here, moreso than in New South Wales.”
Bruce initially began his career in the breeding industry in New Zealand before undertaking the prestigious Godolphin Flying Start programme, and subsequently making the move to Sydney to work for Bjorn Baker.
“I am lucky that I have had some good experience so hopefully that holds me in good stead when I move up here,” he said.
“I worked at Windsor Park Stud in New Zealand and I am a graduate of the Godolphin Flying Start Programme.
“My first job in Sydney was with Bjorn Baker. Coincidentally I met Bjorn in a bar at Rosehill one day when I was on the Flying Start and we just got chatting and kept in touch.
“I spent five years with him as his right-hand man. He really opened my eyes to Sydney racing and how it all works. He was a great mentor, I have been good friends with him, and that still continues.
“When I was thinking about going out training on my own, one of my biggest helping hands was Bjorn in terms of setting things up. Bjorn and I are very close and that relationship has been something very valuable to me.”
While he enjoyed his time with Baker, Bruce also spent time under Sydney’s leading trainer Chris Waller prior to heading the Maher/Eustace Sydney barn.
“When Liam Prior left Chris Waller’s I was offered his job there,” Bruce said. “That was something I grabbed with both hands. I spent a year with Chris and he trained something like 18 Group One winners that year, so it was amazing to see the quality of horse flesh and the attention to detail, planning and patience he has.
“That was a great experience but after a year there Ciaron Maher offered me the role of running his Sydney stable. I have been doing that for the last two years but I feel like the time is right to go out on my own account and there is an opportunity up in Queensland.
“I will be at Deagon. There is no racing there but they run trials and it is one of Brisbane Racing Club’s training centres.
“It is three minutes from the beach, which I am sure I will be utilising quite heavily with the tried horses I will be getting early days.
“It is 10 minutes from Eagle Farm and Doomben, and I have permission to gallop there. It gives me plenty of options and it is going to be a good base to start.”
Bruce recently returned to New Zealand to attend New Zealand Bloodstock’s National Yearling Sale, and he said he would love for some New Zealand owners to join his stable.
“I am a very proud New Zealander,” he said. “Fortunately the borders were open (to Kiwis) and I was able to come back to Karaka for the sales.
“After spending a week at Karaka it just makes you realise what a great country New Zealand is, and how lucky New Zealanders are anywhere in the world.
“I would love to have Kiwi owners involved in my stable where they will be racing for good prizemoney in Queensland. They will be able to take a holiday in the Sunshine State and watch their horse race as well.”
While Bruce is set to kick off with a couple of tried horses, he said he has been trying to add some younger stock to his barn at the sales over the past month or so.
“It is good to have tried horses to kick off, but I think it is important to have yearlings in the stable too. That is the next generation,” he said.
“I would like to get to 20 initially in the stable and I will have as many runners as I can, as soon as I can, and get as many winners I can as soon as I can.”