Joe Kington is looking after Raymond Tusk in Australia and is completing a weekly blog for Great British Racing International about his progress. Joe has worked for us for three years and is a key member of our team;
After spending two weeks in quarantine at Side Hill Stud in Newmarket, I arrived in Melbourne last week after a 23-hour flight. Raymond Tusk flew with experienced travelling grooms from International Racing Transport who fly around 5,000 horses globally each year and he travelled very well! I was greeted at the airport by Racing Victoria who took us to our hotel and gave us an induction detailing all the do’s and don’ts in quarantine, including how not to get locked in the shower!
In the UK we had to shower every time we entered Side Hill Stud and now we are in Australia we have to shower for three minutes when leaving quarantine. Raymond Tusk is in the ‘Vintage Crop’ stable at Racing Victoria’s Werribee International Horse Centre. Vintage Crop was a Melbourne Cup winner, trained by Dermot Weld and ridden by Mick Kinane. It is great to be in a stable with such a famous namesake. The UK based contenders are in
one barn and the Japanese contenders in the other. We are in a barn with Gold Mount who is trained by Ian Williams and Red Verdon who is trained by Ed Dunlop.
The first couple of days after we arrived were really quiet whilst the horses acclimatised and we were suffering with jet-lag, we took the horses out for a trot and let them see the sights. The weather has been a bit cold since we arrived with a couple of frosts in the mornings which was unexpected.
Racing Victoria have been really helpful. We had an integrity meeting which was held by one of the head vets of Racing Victoria, where we discussed all of the raceday procedures, which was really insightful. They have also organised evenings out for us since our arrival.
On a day-to-day basis, we go in and feed at 5.30am which gives Raymond plenty of quiet time to eat his food. At the moment we are allowed on the track at 9am but once quarantine is over, we will be allowed out on the track at 7am. I pull out at about 8.30am as I like to give him a walk around the sand ring in the yard to warm him up before a good trot around the track and then we canter on either the fibre sand or the turf. Evening stables are from 4pm until 6pm, when I give him a pick of grass for an hour and weigh him and then the normal evening stable routine. Raymond has settled in really well and is enjoying life in Australia ahead of his first run in the Caulfield Cup on Saturday 19th October.