Twelve months ago Scott Aspery took a punt on himself and took out his trainer’s licence.
On Saturday, he will take a punt on Flight Of Pegasus.
At $71, the gelding is the rank outsider in the small but elite Golden Rose (1400m) field headed by boom colt Smart Missile.
Flight Of Pegasus’ sole win was in a provincial maiden, although he was placed in the Group Three Skyline Stakes in March.
He will be Aspery’s first Group One runner and the fledgling trainer is happy to be flying under the radar.
“I’m very excited. I’m not nervous at the moment although that might change on Saturday,” Aspery said.
“There’s no pressure with my horse.
“A lot of people don’t think he should be there but I think they should be embarrassed there are only six in the race.
“There are trainers with 100 in work and they couldn’t find one to run in a 1400-metre Group One.”
Aspery has been a trainer in his own right for a year but served a seven-and-a-half year apprenticeship at Randwick under four of the industry’s best – Bart Cummings, Gai Waterhouse, John O’Shea and Graeme Rogerson.
Prior to that he worked in the finance and lending areas but his heart was in horses.
“I ended up in banking and then mortgage lending but I wasn’t enjoying the nine to five grind,” Aspery said.
“One day I went straight from a client meeting and applied for a job with Gai Waterhouse.
“But it wasn’t a complete change. I had always been involved with horses as a young kid.”
Aspery grew up on the NSW north coast “mustering cattle” but his father Rupert always had a horse or two.
It was through his father that Aspery met Chris Munce who has the spring mount on Flight Of Pegasus.
“Chris Munce actually learned to ride with my Dad,” Aspery said.
“There’s a bit of history there which is why I didn’t hesitate to ask Chris to ride the horse.”
That’s one reason for Munce’s booking.
But there is another.
“He was booked a couple of months ago with a vision towards possibly running in the Cox Plate,” Aspery said.
“Chris is a natural lightweight and he was happy to stay on after his last run.”
Flight Of Pegasus finished fifth to Smart Missile when they both resumed in the Run To The Rose (1200m) last start.
Aspery said his charge had improved and would be suited by the step up to 1400m, but added the Golden Rose was a stepping stone to longer races.
It has been a heady journey for Aspery and his horse, who was just the second to walk through his stable.
“It’s been a pretty big whirlwind start to my career,” Aspery said.
“It’s definitely all positive and I’m enjoying the ride.”