Fred Skerbic had no qualms about racing against superior horsepower when he was focused on motorsport, and he is championing the same philosophy as a horse trainer.
The Queanbeyan-based Skerbic’s belief in the underdog explains why Fire And Flood will race in Sydney for the first time since 2010 when he runs at Canterbury on Wednesday.
A 79-race veteran, who Skerbic reckons has only mastered galloping in the past six months, Fire And Flood is the trainer’s first city runner since he started out three years ago.
Skerbic often drives the horse float for Canberra trainer Barbara Joseph and has decided his 10-year-old should come along for the ride.
“I couldn’t help myself. The horse is going nicely. He won’t be disgraced,” Skerbic said.
Fire And Flood might be the $151 outsider in the Schweppes Handicap (1250m) but Skerbic has never trained by numbers.
“All the trainers give me heaps and say ‘Why don’t you get yourself a young one, a good one?’ This is more fun,” he said.
“When I was young I used to races Minis against Falcons.
“Anyone can train the good ones. It’s trying to make those slow ones go good for you and see the enjoyment the animal gets out of doing his best.”
Fire And Flood made his debut for Paul Messara at Kembla Grange in August 2010 and had his only start in Sydney two months later in a Benchmark Handicap at Rosehill.
Skerbic is now Fire And Flood’s owner and his sixth trainer, having taken over from Mike Petrovic in May.
“I just wish I would have had him when he was a two-year-old. If he was a human, you’d really want to be his friend,” he said.
At the other end of the experience spectrum, the Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott-trained Stonebrook is out to maintain his unbeaten record in his third career start as the $2.60 second favourite behind Godolphin’s Marsupial ($2.25).