Profile – Paul Peter

Paul Peter

Paul Peter

Although Paul Peter has only had a trainer’s licence for a very short time he has been well grounded in the game with a family passionate about racing. He had the opportunity to work with James Maree, who has a wealth of experience which he has been willing to share with Paul. He struck early as a trainer with Magico with whom he has high hopes of winning the Computaform Sprint. The stable is run on thoroughly professional grounds from picking the yearlings to sending them out to race and in Paul Peter racing fans have a trainer who they can follow with confidence. What is your name and age?  My name is Paul Anthony Peter and I am 39 years old.

Where do you live? I live in Glenvista, South of Johannesburg.

Where do you train? My stables are at the Vaal. The training tracks are in good condition and I find I can give my horses all the work they need.

Tell us about your family? My wife is Marcel and I have 3 children Tony (16) and twins Joshua and Kiara (14).

Your family is very well known in the racing community. Was it always expected of you to become a trainer? It wasn’t expected that I would train horses. I had to first get my finances in order.

The family business is mainly to do with paint. How involved in that business were you and was it an easy decision to leave it for a full time career with horses? No, it was not an easy decision. I am a 25% shareholder in Hyper Paint and worked there for roughly 20 years, but I can rest assured that my brothers will run it well and honestly.

As a full time trainer how have your ideas about racing generally changed, if at all? The work is a lot harder than first anticipated but I am up to the task as I am passionate about horses and all animals.

Apart from your family who were the people in racing who had the biggest influence on you in your decision to make racing your career? The passion has always come from within for as long as I can remember.

Was there ever a time when you were an assistant trainer? Yes, I was an assistant to James Maree.

Which is the best horse you have trained in the early part of your career? Magico, whom we hope will win the Computaform Sprint, Carlito Brigante, who should run well in the Nursery and Enchanted Kingdom, who is a top filly and will win her fair share.

Which trainers were you really friendly with when you got into the game? Before becoming a trainer, our family was very friendly with Jean Hemming and Nick Van Tonder. On coming into the racing game, James Maree.

When did you get your open license? May of 2010.

Who were your first owners? My first owners were and still are my brothers Gerrad, Johnny and  Dominic Peter, nephews Joel and Jade Peter, Alan Peters and Hilda Da Costa.

When and where did you train your first winner? My first winner was Magico, who won on July day. 2010.

How many winners have you trained thus far? I have had 17 winners so far.

What has been the most exciting moment in your career to date? Winning the 1st race on July day and Magico winning the Tommy Hotspur.

From what you have experienced from training thus far do you think the amount of money you can spend on buying horses is going to make a significant difference to the success you have? No definitely not, Magico only cost R65 000-00, Carlito Brigante R105 000-00 and all my other winners have cost under R100 000-00. If you pick right and do your homework, you can buy cheap horses that will do well.

How do you go about buying horse, both yearlings and older horses? James Maree has the last say, he carefully inspects all the yearlings we buy and as far as I’m concerned, he has the best eye for a horse in SA.

Who is your stable jockey and how important to your yard is a stable jockey? Francois Naude rides most of my horses. Deon Sampson and Louis Nhlapo also help out with the work.

Do you like to tell a jockey how to ride your horse in a race and do you let him ‘ride him as he finds him’? If a jockey works your horses, he’ll know the horse. So we will leave it up to him.

Are all the members of your family as passionate about racing as you are? Yes my brother Gerrad is very passionate about his horses. Johnny had his racing colours at the age of 21. His first horse was Shooting High who won two grade 1 races.  Dominic is my assistant trainer, his sons Marc and John-Paul are at the stables every weekend and whenever else they get an opportunity. My two wonderful sisters Jennifer Zaki and Soraya Magua are my moral support.

Tell us about the team which assists you in keeping the yard going at full speed? First of all, my wife Marcel is all the motivation I need, she understands that horses are my life.  My kids also closely follow and love the horse.  I have three assistants at the moment, Dominic my brother, Penny Selkirk, who rides work, and Avril Strydom, who handles pre training. My stable employee is John Tshabalala, who has been in racing all his life.

How many horses do you have in your yard right now? We have just received 14 yearlings from the Cape Sales.  So including those about 65 horses in total.

What would you consider to be an ideal number of horses in your yard? Roughly 100, ideally my long term goal is to attract many different owners as increasing my patronage increases my knowledge of different types of owners and the preference in the horse they attract, which in turn increases the scope of my abilities to train.

Which do you consider to be the best horses you have in your stable right now? Magico, Carlito Brigante and Enchanted Kingdom but I have a lot of up and coming young unraced horses.

Which of your horses do you feel would be worth following over the next couple of months? Magico, Carlito Brigante, Enchanted Kingdom and Restraint.

As a keen follower of the game which horses, other that your own, would you advise racegoers and punters to follow over the next couple of months both on the Rand and in KZN? Igugu.

Mike de Kock and Epol have developed what appears to be really top class feed. Do you use it or do you prefer to use your own mixture? That’s all the feed I use, it’s excellent stuff. I find that the horses can handle much more work and are stronger.

What does your working day consist of? It’s a long day; I’m up at 4:30 am, at the stables by 5:30 and home by approximately 7:00 pm.  I’m very hands on and am involved in every aspect of running my stable.

Has the success of Mike de Kock, in particular, and other SA trainers and jockeys overseas inspired you in any way and do you have any interest in taking a string to race in Dubai for instance? Yes, they have inspired me.  It would be a great experience to go and train overseas.

At this stage of your career what are your main ambitions? I’ve had 14 winners so far this season and my aim is to double it before the end of the season.

What is it about racing that makes you passionate about the game? Acquiring yearlings, seeing them grow into themselves and finding the ones that have the will to win.

How keen are you on the breeding side of horse racing? Very keen, it’s the future of any trainer.  You have to be on top of it especially for someone like me who can’t afford expensive horses.

Do you like to study pedigrees? I have a photographic memory, so I know most pedigrees.

Which are your favorite stallions? I like Dupont and Windrush and both are affordable.

Do you have a favorite racecourse in SA? I like them all.  The Vaal has good training tracks.

Do you ever advise friends or family to have a punt on a horse you really like? Yes.

Which personalities in racing have had a big influence on your career and on your life? James Maree.

What is your preferred way to celebrate a big win? I’m happy for my owners and enjoy sharing their excitement as well as that of friends and family.

If you have to name the most important lesson you have learnt about racing thus far what would you say that is? Know your horse.

Is there anything about being a trainer that really gets you down? I try not to let anything get me down and stay positive.

Racing in SA is going through troubled times. In your opinion do you think that some of those in authority are too involved in politics and not giving enough thought to the good of racing? No, they are trying their best to get it on track.

How do you like to spend your free time? To be honest I have no free time.

Apart from racing what else are you passionate about? I’m passionate about running and cycling and have taken part in among others the Comrades and Two Oceans Marathon as well as the 94.7 cycle challenge.

How much time do you spend studying form in order to give you an edge on your rival trainers? As much time as I can get, but I’m aided by my brother Johnny, who is fanatical about studying form.

What are the physical characteristics you look for in horses you would like to buy? A horse must have the right conformation, deep girth, nice long reign, must be a good walker and above all must have an honest eye.

Generally speaking how much time will you give a horse before deciding if it is worthwhile keeping? I can see within a few months if a particular horse is no good or if it’s just going to take time.  I think every trainer should be able to see that, there will be many more happy owners around.

In all honesty how straight do you think racing is? Very straight. I think people outside racing have the wrong opinion of the game.

What is your philosophy on the racing game? Be honest, work hard, keep your horse happy and the rest will fall into place.

If you had one piece of advice for your fellow associates in the racing world what would it be? Don’t be shy to feed well.

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