Eventing first brought Richard Litt to Australia but training racehorses is the reason he has stayed.
And at the moment, the 29-year-old is glad he did.
Growing up on a dairy farm in New Zealand, Litt was always around horses and his skills in eventing led to him travelling to Australia to compete.
When he eventually decided to turn his hand to training, he returned to Sydney to learn his trade under Bart Cummings, John O’Shea, Graeme Rogerson and finally his father and trainer Jim.
But Litt’s life came to a crossroads a few years ago when his father returned to New Zealand following the death of Litt’s brother.
“We’ve had choppy water a couple of times when it’s been very touch-and-go as to whether we’re going to be here tomorrow or not training,” Litt said.
“My brother died a few years ago from suicide and that really threw a spanner in the works.
“I thought, are we going to stick around? Are we going to be able to do this?
“I was just very grateful Racing NSW gave me a licence and an opportunity to train because they didn’t have to. I was very young, but they gave me a great opportunity and I’m forever grateful to them.”
Litt has made the most of that chance.
Almost two years to the day after he trained his first winner – Klisstra in the Braidwood Cup – Litt produced Castelvecchio to score a devastating win in the $2 million Inglis Millennium earlier this month.
The colt’s performance followed an equally impressive debut win at Canterbury and on Saturday at Randwick, Castelvecchio gets a chance to confirm his standing as a genuine Golden Slipper contender when he lines up in the Skyline Stakes.
It is a must-win race if he wants to progress to the Slipper as the prize money from the sales-restricted Inglis Milennium doesn’t count towards the $3.5 million race.
Litt could be forgiven for feeling the pressure but with the support of Castelvecchio’s understanding owners, he is simply enjoying the ride.
“We don’t have to run in the Slipper. We don’t have to run in the Sires’. We don’t have to run in the Champagne,” Litt said.
“So we’re coming in pretty cruisy, nice and relaxed and just giving the horse the best opportunity to prove himself.
“It’s a very unique position because the owners are so fantastic. There’s no pressure.
“If he wins on Saturday then we’ll have to sit down and work out where to go.”