‘Remarkable’ seems an inadequate synopsis of the story of Electrum and her trainer Marg Potts.
Take a deep breath and try this on for size (and remember, this isn’t a clickbait headline):
A 75-year-old woman finally living her dream to train horses, preparing a nine-year-old mare that has already foaled – and could race against her own progeny.
Understated, no-nonsense, but – as regular 18-hour working days attest – fiercely determined to follow her chosen path at an age when most people are retired and reflecting on the past, Marg is simply amazing. Even inspiring.
A teacher for over 30 years, Marg’s long-planned move into training was put on hold – for another 15 years – when she became a full-time carer after her mother suffered a stroke.
She finally gained her trainer’s licence at 65 and now runs a property of 20 horses at Echunga with her husband Bob, who is away all week driving trucks in Adelaide.
Over the past decade Marg has trained just three winners and can reel off the details – distance, jockey, even how the race panned out – of each victory. However, it is her affinity and patience with older horses that led to Electrum racing at Strathalbyn recently – and the mind-boggling possibility of the nine-year-old eventually lining up against her own daughter.
“My husband bred Electrum and when she was a three-year-old – before we were married – she was on agistment and trod on a dropper broken off at ground level,” Marg recalled.
“She broke the petal bone in her hind foot and just needed time off.
“Anyway, the owners put her in foal and she had a foal at four. She reared that foal, was weaned and she was put back into work.”
Electrum originally raced with Murray Bridge-based trainer Roslyn Day, before being transferred to Marg. Meanwhile Electrum’s foal – by Shinzig – also found a home on Marg’s property.
“That foal is four now,” Marg said.
“She’s had a jump-out where she was identified as ‘chestnut filly, Shinzig-Electrum’.
“She went okay, but she pulled up shin sore. She’s had time off, but she’s coming back into work now.
“Electrum is still a maiden, so yes, they could run against each other in a maiden.”
While Marg’s list of winners is sparse, she has big plans for the future, with new foals on the ground and “some really nice mares” at her property.
At an age when others are slowing down, she is now fulfilling her “lifelong ambition” to breed and train horses.
“I was a teacher for over 30 years and I took a package when I turned 50, to get a trainer’s licence,” she said.
“Mum and I bought this little property ourselves, but not long after we bought it, Mum had a stroke, and I finished up looking after her and caring for her.
“That’s why I didn’t get a licence until I turned 65.
“I used to compete in eventing and that was where I got my horse buzz, but I always wanted to train racehorses.
“It’s taken a long time, but we’re getting there.”
NOTE: Electrum has accepted for Strathalbyn this Wednesday and is a third emergency.
Caption: Marg Potts with grey mare Electrum (right) and Quick Biscuit. PHOTO: Felicity Stanway