Prettyfamous “best I’ve seen presented”, says race-caller

After Prettyfamous won impressively at the Gold Coast’s Metropolitan race meeting on Saturday, race-caller Steve Hawkins said,

“She was pick of the yard.

“I’ve been around for a long time, and I’ve never seen a horse presented as well as Prettyfamous was today”.

Trainingthoroughbreds caught up with trainer Mario Caltabiano and asked him how he had his charge looking so good.

“Well she’s a really lovely mare.

“She’d had a good break, she’d done really well and she was feeling great. She had ten days or so in the paddock after her last run in Brisbane.

“She’s always raced well fresh and she’d done really well since she came back in so I was expecting her to race accordingly,” he said.

“She had a soft trial during the week and came through that in very good order so we were quite confident going into Saturday’s race.

“I have good staff who look after her – she gets a lot of dressing in the stables, and we give her a little bit of extra corn in her feeds.”

Caltabiano’s long-time owner Roy Levy purchased the daughter of Fast ’n’ Famous as a yearling in New Zealand for $55,000, and so Caltabiano has always trained the mare and knows her very well.

“I had her when I was training in Sydney and we worked out early that she preferred to be kept fresh,” he said.

Aided by a well-judged ride by three kilogram apprentice Travis Wolfgram, Prettyfamous worked forward from barrier six to settle just off the leader, before kicking clear in the straight to score strongly by a length.

Saturday’s metropolitan win took the mare’s earnings to more than $189,000.

Asked what advice he would have for young trainers starting out in the industry, Caltabiano doesn’t hesitate.

“Find good owners.

“You need good owners. That is the most important thing,” he said.


Customer Service for Racehorse Trainers

with James Curtain

The most successful racehorse trainers are invariably good at dealing with people. Owners need to feel valued. Mark Horstmann and Michael Auzenne, of Manager Tools, identify three critical elements of good customer service:

1. The Customer is Always Right
2. Be Nice
3. Over-Communicate

The first of these is the time-honoured maxim of salespeople around the world. It is the second two that are too-frequently missing. It is not hard to “be nice” – a welcoming smile and expressing interest in the other person usually goes a long way. Communication is something that can be more difficult. Racehorse owners want to know how their horses are going – What does the trainer think? What did the trackwork rider say? How’s the horse eating? Any problems? When are we racing? Where to next?

A good trainer preempts these questions and provides owners with frequent, high-quality information in relation to their horse. Many trainers’ websites now have a “log-in” function for owners where they can access information that the trainer has posted about their horse. While this is a useful tool, it doesn’t show sufficient respect to the owner. Reports should be emailed or posted direct to each individual owner, and the owner should be addressed by their name in these communications. The managing owner should be contacted by telephone in the event of anything significant happening – an injury, an opportunity to “pay up” late for a big race, a jockey needing to be replaced.

Without owners, trainers don’t have an income. By valuing owners and applying the principles of good customer service, more trainers will develop relationships with owners for life, which should be the ultimate goal.