Brett Robb and his team sit second on the 2021/22 NSW country trainer’s premiership, with their 25 ½ wins only trailing the juggernaut that is Kris Lees, who sits on 42 wins.
For a country stable, Robb’s numbers are very impressive, with the Dubbo trainer preparing just 114 starters in the country, meaning he is training at as 22.3% win rate, while his starters to placings percentage is almost 50%.
Robb – known fondly to most racing participants as Snow – had a December to remember, preparing seven winners from 20 starters, which included a Dubbo treble and winners at Orange, Tamworth Warren and Mudgee.
An always-modest Robb wasn’t looking for any plaudits either and he quickly shifted praise to his hard-working team.
“We have a good bunch of staff. John Wilson comes in and rides our track work, and he likes mucking around with the young ones.
“Maddy (Wright) is a big asset. She is the boss and having someone like her to direct people when I’m not there is good. We work the same and it takes a lot of pressure off me.
“Clayton Gallagher rides a bit of work, and he is on our horses at most TAB race meetings and that helps too.
“Shaun Ireland is the best farrier around here and he works for me. He taught me how to shoe a horse, and he has been another massive help.
“There is just a good vibe there in the stable and that makes a big difference”
Robb, who is engaged to former apprentice jockey and champion picnic hoop, Maddy Wright, said their relationship, along with Wright’s assistance, made all the difference.
“I owe it all to her. I couldn’t have done it without her,” Robb said.
“She has been good for the horses and for me. At the start, I was struggling and having someone like Maddy, who thinks a lot like me with the horses, has helped me so much.
“Even when I have been wrong with things, she has been in my corner, and it isn’t always going to be winners and good days, and you need that support in this game.”
Robb and Wright, who started out their training operation in Nyngan, made the move to Dubbo last year and the in-form trainer said a good mix of on-track stables and a farm outside of Dubbo gave his team a winning edge.
“We have the little farm just out of town, where Peter and Kody Nestor were, and it is a good set-up. If you can’t train a winner out of there, there is something wrong; it’s a good little place,” Robb said.
“The horses strive out of there. They have big open boxes away from the track and they are allowed to be horses out there.
“They can switch off, and we can put them in a paddock for three or four days and we don’t have to take them to the track for a week or two and they seem to really like that.
“You are also doing less travelling. Every time we were getting in the truck, it was two hours from Nyngan to Dubbo, and it takes it out of you and your horses.
“I reckon that had to help as well. The horses just seem happier here.”
Since making the move to Dubbo, it has been onwards and upwards for the Robb stable, and he said new and existing owners made it all possible.
“We have a few new owners and they have been really good to us. Blokes like David Ringland and Paul Frampton,” Robb said.
“Paul gave us a majority of them, like Knickerbockerglory and them type of horses and those good owners help.
“Then we have Dave McFadyen and those blokes with On A Promise. They let you train the horse and trust you to get it done, and it helps us a lot.”
Despite his stable and team growing in leaps and bounds since making the move, Robb joked that he never envisioned such growth and success, especially so early on after making Dubbo his new home.
“We were just poking along. Me and Maddy were just going to have 8 or 10 horses, but in our first week in Dubbo, we trained four or five winners and haven’t looked back since,” Robb said.
“Then when you train more winners, and you get more options, we had some more horses sent to us.
“Then Kody left, and we got 18 boxes at the track, and we got more staff, and with more horses, we get better horses, and it has just grown from there.”
While Robb will continue to race his horses all over country NSW, the prominent country trainer said he would still support grass roots picnic racing.
“We didn’t do this to get rich; we want to have fun and we still want to poke along at the picnics,” Robb said.
“We love the picnics. We can’t wait for them to start again, and we are setting a big team for Bedgerabong, and John Wilson already has a full book from our stable and we will take the staff across there and have a bit of a day out.”
Regardless of future results, it shapes to be a bigger and better 2022 Robb and Wright, with the couple expecting, and while Wright was due soon, Robb said she would hopefully be steering the stable to Picnic Championship glory later in the year.
“Boys Home will be our Picnic Championship horse,” Robb said.
“If he makes it, as soon as Maddy has the baby, she will be in the saddle and hopefully riding him in the Picnic Championships.”
For the time being, Robb, Wright and their team will eye off more success at Dubbo, with a team of five engaged to race on Monday.