‘Unknown’ Tamworth trainer eyes Group 3 glory at Rosehill Gardens

On Saturday, Fifteen Rounds (pictured), previously trained by Barry Lockwood, will race under Wayne Brown’s name when contesting the Group 3 Southern Cross Stakes at Rosehill Gardens. Image – Darren Winningham.

Relatively unknown as a trainer, Wayne Brown will look to win the biggest race of his career on Saturday when Fifteen Rounds contests the Group 3 Southern Cross Stakes at Rosehill Gardens.

Having just his second start for Brown, the eight-year-old will take on the likes of Lady Laguna, Malkovich, and Hard To Say in the $250,000 event.

Now based in Tamworth, Brown raced Fifteen Rounds with Barry Lockwood in Queensland, and they combined to win the Listed ATC Cup (1200m) on the Sunshine Coast in May.

A nine-time winner and earner of $400,000 in prize money, Brown means business when taking Fifteen Rounds to Sydney

“He has been a good horse. I bought him ages ago, and we won a Listed race up at Brisbane with him when Barry Lockwood was training him,” Brown told NSW Country and Picnic Racing.

“They probably think he is going down to make up the numbers, but I assure you he’s not and if he gallops on Saturday the way he worked on Tuesday, he’ll be very competitive.

“He is a handy horse, and he is probably a Listed-class horse, and this is a Group 3, but it’s not the strongest Group 3.

“He draws well; Reece Jones has ridden him before, and he gets in with 53kg, so he ticks a few boxes, and I’ll certainly be having my dollar each way.”

Brown, who also won the Mona Lisa Stakes at Wyong in 2014 with his mare Bouzy Rogue, said it was a different feeling heading into a feature race with his name in the trainer’s column.

“It’s pretty exciting,” he said. 

“I’m not in it to make big money. I’m a retired businessperson who has had some success, and now I’m enjoying the fruits of my retirement. 

“If the horse gets beat, it gets beat, and that’s not a concern, but I’ve never had a horse start in a Group 3 and never even dreamed of it, but we’re going to Sydney with a live chance, and that’s exciting.”

Brown’s name might not seem that familiar in the race book, with the 68-year-old only having 50 starters since January 2022. 

A successful businessman, Brown is known best for being the founder of Ausure, an insurance company that commenced in 1996 and has seen 160 offices open nationwide.

While insurance has been his career, Brown is a breeder and owner of good horses and was based in Scone before moving to Tamworth late last year and turning his hand to training.

“I originally came from Tamworth and then moved to Newcastle and Scone, and that’s where I breed my horses, but the opportunity to buy the stables from Australian Bloodstock that Cody Morgan was in popped up, so I’ve come up and started training,” he said. 

“I trained a bit in Scone, but when I got my licence, I started up in Tamworth; we’ve got 52 boxes and about 14 to 15 in work at the moment. 

“The maximum I’ll have is 20, but we do have some really nice horses.”

Kicking off the new year on the right foot, the Tamworth trainer has had some success, with Subuki winning twice in January. 

Going around in a 1400m Benchmark 58 Handicap at Tamworth on January 8, Jarrod Woodhouse was in the saddle, and the six-year-old won her fifth race, paying over 100/1 for the win. 

Next time out, Keagan Latham took the ride in town when taking on the 1550m fillies and mares Benchmark 64 Handicap at Randwick on January 17, and the Foxwedge mare ran an excellent third, again going around at a massive price and paying $26 the place.

Last time out, Subuki raced at Newcastle on January 27, and with Latham again in the saddle, she started a well-supported $7.50 chance and won the 1600m Benchmark 68 Handicap.

“Subuki is a nice little mare, but they keep giving us prices,” Brown laughed. 

“We’ve been pretty lucky, and when we’ve thought we could win, they’ve not been all that far away, and because I’m an unknown trainer that comes from Tamworth, that’s why they bet you.

“We’ve backed her every time she’s won and had a decent bet because we thought she would win.”

While he’s hit the ground running with big-priced winners, and now, a Group 3 starter, Brown said it was a team effort, with the smart businessman surrounding himself with the right people. 

“I’ve actually got one of the best, if not the best, trackwork riders working for me in Paul Moody,” Brown said. 

“Paul is an ex-jockey from up in Queensland; he’s doing it for me, and Jarrod Woodhouse and young Dylan Bennett come and have a ride, and we’ve got Hannah Craven there, too.

“Paul Isaac and David Hatch are with me as well, and I’ve got a good team.”

It will be a busy Saturday for Brown and the team, who also race at Tamworth, with young apprentice Siena Grima riding Mctaggart in the Class One Handicap (1000m). 

Brown said he would have started more on his home track, but with a trip to Sydney in the offing, he kept just the one runner in as a promise to Grima. 

“Don’t worry, I’ll be in Sydney,” Brown said. 

“We just left the one in there at Tamworth because Siena is a good kid, and I wanted to give her a good chance at winning.”