Bruce Sarginson has always held ambitions of becoming a trainer and at Riccarton’s synthetic meeting on Wednesday he recorded his first win in that role.
The local horseman wasn’t overly confident heading to the mid-week meeting with his five-year-old Cruise, but the homebred gelding pleasantly surprised his owner-trainer when taking out the Elmwood Trading Co Maiden (1400m).
It was the first start on the synthetic surface for Cruise, and while he was a last-start placegetter, Sarginson wasn’t sure how he would perform.
“Going in, it was difficult to know,” Sarginson said.
“We were wondering whether the Oamaru run would stack up on the synthetic. He has had a couple of trials on the synthetic, but nothing amazing. The last one was a little bit educational, but it obviously suits him.
“I am absolutely thrilled. My partner and I bred the horse and it has taken a while to get to this point, so I am really stoked.”
Sarginson has been involved with horses since his childhood and he has slowly gravitated toward racing, initially as an owner and subsequently a breeder and finally a trainer.
“I did pony club as a kid and a bit of eventing and showjumping. My Dad and I always used to go the Gymkhanas in Central Otago and we had a lot of fun down at Glenorchy,” he said.
“I have always loved horses and loved riding them, and I always wanted to train. At this stage of my life I am able to train.”
Sarginson raced Cruise’s dam, seven-win mare Irish Bay, as part of a syndicate and following her racing retirement elected to buy her and begin his breeding journey.
While it hasn’t been fruitful to date, Sarginson has enjoyed the process and said Wednesday’s win has made it all worthwhile.
“The mother, Irish Bay, was an open class sprinter and the Prendergast family raced her for us,” he said.
“We were in a big syndicate and had a lot of fun with her. She took us all around the South Island and Deb, my partner, and I ended up buying Irish Bay.
“She was a very fast horse but has a pretty terrible breeding record, but we are pretty thrilled to have this fella.
“We have got the dream of breeding a champion, like a of breeders do. I am on the breeders’ association committee down here in Canterbury and I just enjoy trying to create something.
“We are realistic and you have to be patient with them and enjoy the moments like today.”
Sarginson has two other horses in work and enjoys working them around his business.
“I am very fortunate to work from home. My partner and I have an importing business, we import horse covers, which allows us to work the horses in the morning,” he said.
Racing is now firmly engrained in Sarginson’s life, and he said he gets as much enjoyment in heading to the carnivals as a punter as he does as a trainer.
“Racing is an amazing game,” he said. “A day like today is pretty awesome, but also a premier day watching the good horses go around is pretty awesome as well."