Paul Stuart Podcast
ARG: Okay. We’re here for our first ever podcast for ARG and we’ve got Paul Stuart as the inaugural victim. How are you Paul?
PAUL STUART: I’m good, thanks. Yourself?
ARG: Good mate. I’m good. I’m joined here with Molly Haines as well. Paul, first question, when did you start training?
PAUL STUART: As soon as I got – as soon as I turned 18. So it would’ve been 11 years ago now. So since I turned 18, I applied for my licence. I was learning dogs probably a few years before that. But yeah, as soon as I could, I got my licence. And away it went.
ARG: So what was the first dog you had?
PAUL STUART: The first race dog I had was Stars And Fire. I think she had her first start at Cannington and she ran – she led all the way and got beaten a nose, so it wasn’t a good start, but she was my first runner.
ARG: How long have you been training for the Wheeler Camp?
PAUL STUART: Since I was 18, I’ve always had a couple of dogs for them through a mutual friend, Johnny Tompkins. So that’s how I sort of got to known the Wheelers through him and they gave me a couple of dogs to start off with. And then so I’ve sort of been with them from the start.
ARG: That’s a nice welcome to the industry for you.
PAUL STUART: It is, yes. It’s handy to have the support of the biggest trainers in the world. So it’s very good.
ARG: Yeah, that’s good. So how many are in the work – in work at the moment?
PAUL STUART: I’ve got sixteen in the work at the moment. We’ve got a delivery of pups to come home. So it should be a full house very shortly.
ARG: So who’s – obviously, you’ve got Dyna Nalin, who else is the kind of star of the team?
PAUL STUART: Hillbilly Flash, he’s a nice one coming through and Fancy Dreamer has been performing very well as well. So there’s quite a few there that are probably a little bit just below being really good, but some nice ones have come through for our fleet. They can take the next step.
ARG: So do you have a really young one coming through, the blue one?
PAUL STUART: I have the little blue one. She’s only – she’ll be nearly two years old. She’s a Winsome Bluebird. She’s trialling okay at the moment. So hopefully she can progress and follow in her bigger sister’s footsteps.
ARG: Molly was saying you’ve got a nice nickname for Winsome Bluebird yourself?
PAUL STUART: Her kennel name is Min, but we just call her “Gut Butt” at home.
ARG: “Gut Butt”?
PAUL STUART: No, she just goes by whatever name we call her. But there’s – Min, she’s the foundation of everything that we’ve got at home at the moment. So she’s got a nice spot at home on the lounge or in the house and wherever she wants to go. So she’s got a free rein of the joint. It’s nice to have her around as a reminder of where it all started.
ARG: That’s good. So you got it back to when it all started, back to 18 years of age. If you’ve got something to say, some advice for another 18-year old who’s just kicking off, what would you give them?
PAUL STUART: Don’t give up. A lot of bad things happen; I didn’t have much luck very early at all. I remember even working for the Wheelers. The amount of things that went wrong, they reckon, I could write a book about hard luck stories and things like that. But just a reminder of – you’ve got to get through the bad times to get to the good times. So it’s all that. Yeah, pretty much, don’t give up and in a way keep trying to learn. And don’t think you know everything because the day – there’s a good saying always being told by a very wise old man that the day you think you know everything about races is the day you should give up, because there’s no such thing.
ARG: So, the best dog you’ve trained is an obvious one, that’s a question I was gonna ask most people I interviewed. So who’s the second best?
PAUL STUART: Pedrosa. He’s my favourite dog. He kick-started my career off in Perth, and he was just a super dog. If I could have any dog back again now, he would be the dog I wish I could have now and start off again. Because, yeah, I learned a lot off him and he was – unfortunately, he had never won a big race but of all the dogs that I’ve ever had, he was the one that deserved a good race and he never got one. So I would like to try and get one with him just to have it on my CV but he’s my favourite.
ARG: Again, we’ll sort of go back to something that you could lead into advice for those hobby trainers or people who are sort of kick starting off. What would a daily routine for Paul Stuart involve?
PAUL STUART: Well these days, I don’t know. Some way you get up at 5:30 or 6 o’clock in the morning and get up and get straight in to the dogs and knock them over as quickly as you can, before the heat sets in over here. Basically, everything’s just a routine. You always let them out early, well first thing, and you give them breakfast. And then I suppose, whatever they’re up to, you can put them in a straight track or free gallop around the paddock. Or if they trial, they go trialling. So it’s pretty basic and it’s just a matter of a routine, more than anything. Once you start changing things up with the dogs all the time, they don’t know what’s going on because obviously, they can’t – you can’t be talking to them and they understand what’s happening. The better you can be at your routine, the calmer and more relaxed the dogs are and probably the better they’ll perform when they’re like that.
ARG: So you have an individual routine for different dogs or do they always get the same?
PAUL STUART: Initially, they’ll come through and do exactly the same as whatever everyone else does, and then, if they have little injuries or problems that they can’t handle the normal routine obviously, you re-adjust from there or if you’ve got a dog that’s too lazy, you re-adjust that as well with how much work it gets. Try and get it fitter so it’s all dependant on the dog. There’s definitely a set standard of what should be going on but if a dog doesn’t fit, you just got to alter it a little bit and hopefully you can adjust and you go from there.
ARG: So what’s been the highlight of your career so far?
PAUL STUART: Obviously having three good dogs in a row has been a pretty lucky little thing going on but – probably no real highlights they’re all good in their own way. There’s no different – I get no more – not much more difference when they’re Group one than when they’re a maiden dog with the dog that I’ve bred. So it’s all the same. Every dog has their own little special meaning to you, so there’s no individual performance or anything that stands out in my mind. They’re all – as long as all dogs are always happy and performing well, I will always be happy with them and from there hopefully, the good time can keep going.
ARG: Molly had an interesting question for us before relating to Ash Flash and Hillbilly Flash? Do you wanna tell us how you come to get those two dogs?
PAUL STUART: Yeah, they’re both owned by a fellow named Trevor Rhodes who lives in Victoria. He actually rang me up quite a few years ago, asking me to train a stayer for him but at that time, I just had Miata come along. And I had full – at that time, I had 10 or 12 kennels and I was full. That was the end of the – I never heard back from him and then probably, at the end last year, I had a phone call from Darren McDonald saying he had a – he was training for Trevor. He trained Ash Flash for him and Trevor actually had Hillbilly Flash just coming back from injury, he had his tonsils taken out and he was looking at sending him to Perth ‘cause his racing style in Melbourne is probably a little bit slower for the city class straight away and he’s only a young dog but he had heaps of ability so we wanted to place him some where he could get away with being a little bit tardy earlier and then show his speed so he sent him over first and he was fast from word go. He’s fit in really nice and then, obviously following on that – Obviously, staying at Darren’s place he had Ash Flash there and she was going pretty well but she was probably a little bit lacking in confidence over there with their racing style. She was getting too far back and getting knocked around in races. Darren thought it would be a good idea to send her over to Perth for a little while and with the smaller fields we got these days. There’re a lot of – there are 700 metre racing with five or six dog fields so which suits me down to the ground and trying to get a bit of confidence. And so she’s only been here probably six or seven weeks. She’s improving and her confidence is growing every week. She goes around Cannington and so it’s reflecting the times that she’s running and the way she’s going about her business. It’s been a good move on that behalf. And hopefully, she can now – well she’d be racing the Victorian dogs that she used to be racing over there without too much luck so hopefully, she can change it this Saturday.
PAUL STUART: Well, they’re both, well, he’s up against a very fast field and he’s very inexperienced and in saying that so are half the field. They’re all nice dogs coming along. But he’s got the four box which is probably not a good thing for a dog with his, I suppose, starting habits. He tends to dwell probably half a length early and then musters up, so a lot of speed on his outside on Saturday night. If he gets a clear run, he’s fast enough to win it if a dog like Zelemar Fever doesn’t jump to the front. He’s interesting whereas she is drawn off the track where she doesn’t really like, she wants to get down to the rails pretty early but she’s learned to deal with a wide box since she’s been here. She hasn’t draw inside of five since she’s been here. She has learned how to go around dogs which is very pleasing. But again, she’s up against dogs that have got a lot more experience and in the group/company. They’re probably an even a chance as each other and they’re just gonna rely on a lot of luck early and if they get a clear run, they’re both fast enough to win it. But it’s just a matter of getting the breaks early.
ARG: You’ve got a pretty busy schedule in the consolation with Fancy Dreamer, Dyna Nalin and Dannie Bale. Best of those chances, any tips for the listeners?
PAUL STUART: Well, Dyna Nalin and Fancy Dreamer are well drawn. The red dog, he loves the red and he’s a quick beginner but you can’t go past class, so I’d have tip Dyna Nalin on top of all my ones.
ARG: You got any questions for Paul yourself, Molly?
ARG: No, I think everything’s covered.
ARG: Everything’s covered. Paul thanks for joining us for podcast number one. First victim’s out of the way so good luck tomorrow night and catch up with you next time we’re in WA.
PAUL STUART: No worries. Take it easy.