MORPHETTVILLE trainer Trevor Dansie is marking two significant events in his life: turning 80 and retirement.
Trevor joins the octogenarian club today and from next week will forfeit his training licence, handing the reins to his long-time training partner and former stable strapper, Natasha Storr.
The duo have formed a training partnership since 1995, but Trevor’s association with the sport started 66 years ago, as an apprentice jockey in the state’s South East.
Since then he has trained in the South East, left the industry professionally and moved to Adelaide, enjoyed success as an owner, and returned to training “about 20 years ago”.
As a trainer, identifying his best horse is a no-brainer.
“Idalou would be my best horse, by a mile,” he said.
“He was a very good horse, but he had bad feet. He could’ve been anything.”
Idalou won 10 races, including the 2008 Group 3 DC McKay Stakes at Morphettville, and was regarded as among South Australia’s top sprinters of his time.
“I’ve had handy horses, without having champions,” Trevor said.
Starting as a 14-year-old, Trevor rode for 10 years in the South East before weight issues forced him out of the saddle. He took on “all sorts of jobs, just to survive”, including shearing and truck-driving, before moving to Adelaide.
“I ended up getting a job with Telecom and I was with them for 20 years,” he said.
“But I still owned a few horses during that time.”
Among them was Not Related, a $4000 purchase who won the 1991 Group 1 Sires Produce, a 1400m autumn feature at Flemington. Not Related also won the Christmas Handicap at Cheltenham in 1992, while 10 years later a horse Trevor bred and trained, Hidden Value, captured the same race.
Trevor – who has prepared over 200 winners – says his 80th birthday was a perfect time to end his time as a trainer.
“It’s getting harder for me to get around,” he said.
“Natasha works pretty hard and I thought it was time she stepped up and had a bit of a go, but I’ll still hang around and help her out.
“For the last six months, Tash has been saddling up and everything. I just wander over and get the saddle for her, and she does the rest.
“I put my name down as a foreman for her, but until she gets going I’ll be there with her, like she’s been with me.
“I’m going to leave her with four horses, including Double Blue. She’s had two seconds her last two starts, so she’s got her foot on the till.
“But we both love horses and that’s our outlet.”
The absence of horseflesh in his everyday life might require some adjustments, but one aspect of retiring will come easy for Trevor.
“I know what I won’t miss,” he said, “and that’s getting up in the morning quite so early.”
Note: Trevor also part-owned another Christmas Handicap winner, 1994 winner Sportsbeat, in partnership with Mal James and the late David Balfour.