Matthew Kelley will be out to continue what has been a dream start to his training career at Royal Randwick today.
The Canberra trainer, who has already prepared two winners from just eight starters since commencing his career last month, will have his first ever winner, I’ve Bean Tryin’, contesting the 1400m Class Three Highway Handicap at headquarters.
From gate one and with in-form apprentice Ellen Hennessy in the saddle, punters believe the Canberra galloper is the horse to beat, with I’ve Bean Tryin’ currently $2.60 favourite to win the $100,000 race.
“I think he is a top chance,” Kelley said.
“He ticks a lot of boxes for mine and the punters as well, and he is quite short in the market, which is a fair enough price based on his recent form.
“Every aspect of the race suits him; the heavy track, the gate, and we have claimed with an experienced apprentice that is in good form.”
At only 25, the young trainer that hails from Cooma in the Snowy Mountains is enjoying a sensational start to his career.
I’ve Bean Tryin’ made it a winning debut for Kelley at Wagga when dominating the 1300m Class Two Handicap on June 14, before Kelleyy landed a second win at home, with Super View taking out the 1300m Class One Handicap at Canberra on June 24.
“It has been a better start than I thought was possible,” Kelley said.
“I couldn’t be happier with the team, and they are really starting to fire.”
Kelley did his apprenticeship under the watchful eye of his father and trainer, David Kelley, before making the usual progression to foreman and then trainer in Canberra.
“In Canberra, I came here to start my career, but you can’t go straight into training without learning something, so my father and I opened up a satellite stable,” Kelley said.
“I was running that as foreman, and my father was still based in Cooma.”
The move proved to be a masterstroke for the Kelley’s, who have started to attract several good owners.
“In Cooma, we got second-hand horses, and we would always improve them, but since moving to Canberra, we have been getting better stock, and better results, and that team has started to grow,” Kelley said.
“We were going okay; getting a few horses, and we were getting more clients and getting better graded horses.
“I had 10 in work and about 14 on the books and I decided it was time to get my licence and put my name to it.”
Kelley explained it was merely coincidence that I’ve Bean Tryin’ was ready to win when he officially switched from foreman to trainer, but he was pleased to taste some early success.
“There was no real plan for my first starter, and I didn’t know what horse it would be,” Kelley said.
“Sometimes it takes days or months to get your licence, but it worked out perfectly that it was him (I’ve Bean Tryin’), because he goes well and I knew he could get the job done at Wagga, and he did it pretty impressively,” Kelley said.
“Then at Canberra, I thought I had a chance there and he (Super View) got the job done, and on paper we have a couple of wins from not too many race starts, which is great.”
Kelley will travel to Sydney today with a level head though, and while many experts predict he will train his third winner and first city winner, the young trainer knows how quickly luck can change in the racing game.
“You can’t get too ahead of yourself,” Kelley said.
“I’m not new to racing, and I have been in a long time, and there is highs and lows and a lot more lows.
“I want to soak up the good times, but I need to remember it’s not always like this.”
Still, Kelley is proud to be training his first city runner, and he was excited for his family and the connections of I’ve Bean Tryin’.
“It is a very proud moment, especially to do it so early on in my career,” Kelley said.
“I have been in racing a long time, and when I was training with dad, we had horses in Highways, but they were more throws at the stumps and a bit of fun.
“This time, it’s exciting for me, dad and the owners of the horse to go there with a live a chance.”
Readers can click here to view the Highway Handicap field and today’s Royal Randwick card.