Daniel Stanley making his mark in the training ranks

Former jockey and Wellington trainer Daniel Stanley is starting to make a name for himself. Photo: Racing Photography.

Wellington trainer Daniel Stanley was bred to be in racing. 

The son of former jockey and respected trainer Peter Stanley, Daniel is brother to jockeys Ashleigh, Will and Justin, while his son Dylan is an up-and-coming apprentice, and his daughter Emily is a strapper, who is also learning the family trade. 

An accomplished country hoop in NSW and Queensland, the now 44-year-old won his last professional race in 2006 when aboard the Tony Crane-trained Monagetti at Gympie.

Upon his return to NSW, Stanley came back to race riding as an amateur hoop, and his last winner was on the Connie Greig-trained Ausbred Petal at Mungery in 2017, while his last ever ride was aboard the Rodney Robb-trained Rusty Motorbike, which finished sixth in the 2018 Tottenham Cup. 

“I rode in races in 1995 through to 2006 as a professional. I spent time in Alice Springs for seven months, and then moved to Queensland,” Stanley said. 

“The weight eventually got to me, and I got into working with Telstra, and did that for years and bought a house, lived a life up there, but I always wanted to come back home and train.”

Now based in Wellington, Stanley is training professionally, but it didn’t happen overnight, with the popular horseman working as a breaker and pre-trainer before officially being granted his training licence. 

“I always wanted to be around my kids when they were young, and then I came down here and did amateur riding, but I got thrown off a horse and was busted up, and then tried to get into training, but it took a bit and I had to do it myself,” Stanley said. 

“I was doing breaking and pre-training for two years and now it’s all sort of coming together.”

All of the stable’s hard work came to the fore at Coonamble late last month, with Stanley landing his maiden victory and a winning-double, with Couture (Ken Dunbar, $15) taking out the 1600m Class Two Handicap before Darenay (Chelsea Hillier, $10) won the 1300m Class Two Handicap. 

“It was awesome. I own one of them, and one of them belongs to an owner that’s stuck with me from day dot, so it was really special,” Stanley said. 

“All the kids and the wife (Sarah Stanley) are the only ones that work in my stable, and they have all been involved, and it is just a family affair and it’s how we like it.”

As far as what the future holds for Stanley, he isn’t rushing out to get the wrong horses, and he wants to slowly build up a competitive country stable. 

“We just want to poke along. We have six in work, but they’re not slow, and they are all decent,” Stanley said. 

“I have a few break-ins coming back, two-year-olds and stuff like that that are nice types and I think we are in for a bit of fun. 

“I am chasing a few more horses, and I would like to build up to 20 but we only really want to be taking the right types of horses.

“We’re in no rush to get too big, too quick, but if we have the right type of horse, we will head to town but for now we are happy to just try and place them and get a couple of winners.”

It does help the team having Stanley’s son Dylan back race-riding, with the three-kilogram claiming apprentice returning with a win at Wellington’s Boxing Day meeting. 

Riding for his master Jim McMillian, the 20-year-old guided Harry New Shoes to a good win in the 1400m Benchmark 50 Handicap, and Stanley believes his son is learning a lot riding for trainers in Wellington. 

“Dylan rides for everyone at Wellington, including Jim McMillian, Carol McCarroll, dad, and it helps having him around,” Stanley said.

In fact, the Stanley family created a piece of history at Wellington on Boxing Day, with Ashleigh, Dylan and Will riding the trifecta in the 1100m Class One Handicap, which was taken out by the Roy McCabe-trained Sistrum (Ashleigh Stanley, $4), which beat the Jim McMillan-trained Class Act (Dylan Stanley, $15), while in third was the Gayna Williams-trained Own The Night (Will Stanley, $1.90).  

On Monday, the Stanley stable will be hoping to continue their success, with Couture (Ken Dunbar) jumping from gate three in the 1800m Class Three Handicap at Gilgandra.