After playing an integral role in the Ciaron Maher and David Eustace stable’s interstate success, Annabel Neasham is applying for a trainer’s license to be based at Warwick Farm Racecourse for the 2020-21 racing season.
“It’s a very exciting opportunity for me,” Neasham said. “I’ve worked for Ciaron for nearly four years now, including the last two seasons in Sydney. It’s been a great experience and a real learning curve, and now I’m ready to crack on and go out on my own.
“Ciaron is right behind me and has been very supportive. He’s been a great boss and mentor, and I couldn’t have got to this point without him.”
Having arrived in Australia from the UK four years ago, Neasham began with Gai Waterhouse before joining the team with Ciaron Maher.
She has risen rapidly through the ranks of Maher’s stable, being placed at the helm of the Sydney branch of the operation when established in 2018.
“We had a good first season in Sydney, and then it really spiralled into this season,” Neasham said. “I have been very fortunate to have had the opportunity to be involved in the early careers of some wonderful horses, particularly this season with the likes of Prague, Away Game and Holyfield.
“Running the stable up here has also given me a solid grounding in the business side of operations, which is incredibly valuable for me as I start my own training career.”
Neasham’s previous role has also familiarised her with the excellent facilities at Warwick Farm, and helped to establish client relationships.
“I feel right at home at Warwick Farm now,” she said. “It’s a great training facility, especially for younger horses. It’s what I know. For any young trainer it’s important to start out with what you know.
“The doors will be open, and I’ll try to target some nice tried horses plus work hard to identify quality young stock at the sales.”
In addition to her experience at the Maher-Eustace stable, Neasham also boasts an extensive grounding in eventing in the UK. In another demonstration of her riding and horsemanship skills, she won the famously gruelling Mongol Derby in 2018 – a ten-day race over 1000 kilometres, riding for 13 or 14 hours per day.
“It was amazing, and it was pretty surreal to win it,” she said.
“I did it with Adrian Corby, who’s Ciaron’s breaker and is a terrific horseman. “It was a hell of an experience. I wouldn’t want to do it again, but I’m glad I did it. I guess you could say I’ve ridden a Derby winner! Now it’s time to try to train a Derby winner.”