Less than two years after he started training, Brent Stanley is taking on the big names in the Victoria Derby.
A Caulfield Cup-winning rider on Arctic Scent as an apprentice in 1996, the 35-year-old saddles up Royal Standing in the $1.5 million race at Flemington on Saturday.
A $61 chance, Royal Standing has the Gai Waterhouse-trained favourite Hampton Court and Preferment from the Chris Waller stable, among his 12 rivals.
But Stanley is daring to dream of his first Group One win as a trainer and rates the colt some chance.
“The adrenaline rush and the buzz about riding big-race winners is sensational,” Stanley said.
“But if I train one, the satisfaction level will be completely different.”
“Although you need a jockey to ride a good race and be able to do the right thing on the day, I know that the horse getting to the race and performing to the level to be able to win one, that’s all my work.”
Stanley pinpointed Royal Standing as a Derby colt early on. And on a bumper Derby Day card at Flemington, the emerging trainer also has Veuvelicious in the Wakeful Stakes on her way to the VRC Oaks.
While the life of a trainer can take away from time with family and a social life, Stanley says there is nothing else he would rather do.
“I love being with the horses and love watching a horse progress from an uneducated horse to competing in a race like a Derby or an Oaks,” he said.
Royal Standing is related to the Mark Kavanagh-trained Super Cool who was second in the 2012 Victoria Derby.
“He’ll surprise most people with how good of a race he’ll run,” Stanley said.