Mitch Faulkner is typically a name more synonymous with harness racing than thoroughbred racing.
The former Uralla based reinsman was a popular commodity in the North West, training and driving winners all over the place.
“I’m originally from Armidale and that Uralla area,” Faulkner said.
“I grew up in Armidale and went to school there. My family was into standardbreds, so I had my licence and drove everywhere.”
Recently, Faulkner quit the life of a standardbred trainer and driver, instead taking up his thoroughbred training licence and setting up a base in Ipswich.
“I had some success and I’ve been to America with Standardbreds but decided to branch off to the thoroughbred side of it all, as it had always interested me,” Faulkner said.
“I’ve only had my thoroughbred licence for 12 months now and I’ve only got a small team, but we are ticking along.”
The 36-year-old trained his first winner at Dalby in September of last year, with One Of A Kind getting the job done in the 1400m Benchmark 58 Handicap.
“I only left Armidale about two years ago and it was only because the horses that were offered to me when I got my licence were going to be competitive up there in that Queensland Country racing and it made more sense to be up that way,” Faulkner said.
Currently holidaying back home, Faulkner brought four horses back to NSW with him and on Saturday, he will look to win the Deepwater Cup with stable stalwart, One Of A Kind.
“I’m back home for the holidays; I have got four there at the moment,” Faulkner said.
“The little horse that was my first winner is in the Deepwater Cup; he is my best horse, and he has had eight starts for six placings.
One Of A Kind will be first-up from a 10-week spell in the $15,000 feature race and three-kilogram claiming apprentice, Courtney Bellamy takes the ride.
Faulkner said the nine-year-old was a good chance and would be trying his best in the seven-furlong event.
“Our little guy; he is an honest fella,” Faulkner said.
“What he lacks in ability, he makes up in heart and he will give his all.”
A win in the Deepwater Cup would certainly cap off a big trip home for Faulkner.
“I used to go there to the races when I was young and it would be great to lift the Deepwater Cup trophy and have a beer out of it,” Faulkner laughed.
Saturday’s annual Deepwater Cup meeting is the first time the club has raced in three years and organisers have planned a bumper day of racing and off-track entertainment.