What started as a hobby almost 20 years ago has become a fully-fledged business for trainer Theresa Bateup, but her love for her horses has not changed.
Bateup took out her trainers’ licence 18 years ago so she could play around with a few thoroughbreds as an aside to her fulltime job.
Working mainly with tried horses, many of whom had been through several stables and were beset with problems, Bateup described the time as a tremendous learning curve.
Over the past five years, things have become more serious and the Kembla Grange trainer now has 30 horses in work, headed by multiple city winner Monegal.
She is hoping improving geldings The Guru and Golly I’m Lucky, who line up at Rosehill on Saturday, can also establish themselves as city-grade.
The Guru progressed from a maiden winner at the Sapphire Coast to metropolitan placegetter last preparation and showed he had returned in good order with a first-up second at Hawkesbury.
The class clown of the stable, The Guru keeps Bateup on her toes but also has his share of ability.
“There’s not a nasty bone in his body but he’s like Dennis the Menace, he likes to push the boundaries,” she said.
“At the races he will lean on the tie ups until they break, not that he’s interested in going anywhere but it’s a game.
“He’s going to be better as he steps up in ground but his first up run was super.”
Golly I’m Lucky also has a unique personality and at six, Bateup says the slow maturer is still learning.
He strung together three provincial wins last campaign and was a late-closing fifth to Mo’s Crown when he resumed at The Gong meeting at Kembla Grange last month.
Top jockey Jason Collett has the ride and his patient style is expected to suit the gelding.
“His stable name is Spider because he literally has legs like a spider and very early on he didn’t know where they all went,” Bateup said.
“He’s always shown a great deal of ability and a lot of work has gone into him to teach him how to settle in his races.
“He deserves his chance in a Saturday city race and he’s up to winning one of them, he just needs a few things to fall into place for him.”
Bateup might not have the firepower of the big city stables but she gets good results from her team and is hoping to continue to be a regular visitor to town.
“I’ve never had a big budget behind me to go to the sales with and I’ve been lucky to snag some cheap horses that have gone on to win races and be competitive,” she said.