Just 32 years of age, the well-credentialed Jack Bruce has learnt under some of the biggest names in the game – including Chris Waller and Ciaron Maher – as he now aims to use Brisbane’s north to launch his own training venture.
The graduate of the prestigious Godolphin Flying Start program, Bruce ticked off a key milestone earlier this month, landing his maiden victory as a trainer.
The triumph came at a mid-week Beaudesert meeting and not long after, he is chasing black-type action with French import Barade in the Caloundra Cup this Saturday afternoon.
Before he gets to the Sunshine Coast this weekend, setting up his barn at Deagon was a priority, with a growing team of 16 gallopers in work.
He hopes to expand that number to 30 in the future, preparing a mix of young and tried horses around South East Queensland, as well as yearlings who are coming through the ranks.
Bruce appreciates being based at the “off-Broadway” facility compared to Eagle Farm or Doomben.
“It is good, I am from rural New Zealand so for me Deagon is basically metropolitan racing,” he said with a laugh.
“It is a lovely and quiet place, there is about 120 horses trained here every day.
“It has a completely different vibe to the Warwick Farm’s, Rosehill’s and Randwick’s that I am used to, but it is a lovely spot in that respect.
“I feel the horses have done well since they have been here, they are relaxed and really happy, the ones that I have brought here.
“It is a great training centre and at times you have free reign of all the facilities when there is not many horses around.”
The emerging trainer like the relaxed nature of the Deagon track, also noting it is only a short drive to the Sandgate beach to keep his horses fresh.
After working under the guidance of leading trainers such as Waller, Maher and Bjorn Baker, the Kiwi native realised Queensland was where he wanted to launch his own operation.
Bruce worked closely with Maher’s Coolangatta in the lead-up to the 2022 Magic Millions carnival and become accustomed to the swing of things north of the border.
“I think there is an opportunity in Brisbane as prize money is increasing all the time, they have put a lot of time, energy, money and effort into promoting the carnival,” Bruce said.
“That is both the Brisbane Racing Club and Racing Queensland, I felt there was a window for someone of my age to set up here and get my foot in the door for what I see as being in five to ten years being a really vibrate racing jurisdiction.”
Baker especially was a key influence on Bruce – he says – with the pair still speaking almost every day, with Bruce referring to him as a close mentor.