TBV Grassroots: Ash Richards from Sun Stud

After a few trips to the races with his Dad; and some successful punting, it wasn’t long before Ash Richards from Sun Stud caught the racing bug. “Like any young kid, I followed Dad to the races and got lucky. I was intrigued by the form analysis and compiling data of the horses.”

Following this, Ash spent much of his time watching the races and following the form including taking Best Bets to school! It was however watching the champions on the track that captured Ash’s attention.

“I started to get a real passion for the game and found myself quickly drawn to Champions like Northerly, Lonhro and Sunline. I was intrigued by how they performed in races.” His luck on the punt continued which only drove his passion to find out more about the industry.

“Early on I was drawn towards watching the races through the form guide analysis. I was intrigued about two-year-old racing and I was a big fan of horses like Victory Vein, the way they could turn up every week and win races and could control races from the front.”

From watching the races and reading Best Bets, Ash’s knowledge of pedigrees and specific bloodlines grew which only instilled Ash’s interest in what was then required to get horses to the racetrack.

It was this knowledge that provided Ash with an opportunity to work with Racingxtra & Sportsbet as a form analyst & journalist with an emphasis on Western Australian racing. One of his first roles in the industry working for Sport Bet as a form analysis and journalist in Western Australia.

“I was always in love with both sides of the Thoroughbred Industry particularly the bloodlines and what made these horses win races.” Prior to this role Ash spent roughly a year providing mounting yard data on horses physical which he believes gave him a real eye for the finished product. “I loved this job, travelling to the races everyday helped me develop a real eye for the thoroughbred, looking at each horse as an individual and coupling this with their bloodlines only fuelled my thirst for more knowledge.”

Ash then spent time at Marcus Oldham in 2010 developing a strong relationship with Julian Hay who also works in the industry, before working with horse trainers such as Colin Little. Ash really has done it all when it comes to the components of the industry. Since then Ash has been working at Sun Stud for the last three seasons. “I was fascinated by the stallions, what makes them and what breaks them.”

Although Ash has been working for Sun Stud for three years, he has a broad level of experience in the whole industry and clearly a passion for pedigrees and bloodlines. “I was fascinated with the horses legs and their conformation. I was always talking to lots of people in the industry looking for mentors. Damon Gabbedy from Belmont Bloodstock was a mentor for me, I have known him for over ten years and he has helped my experience’.”

The Thoroughbred Industry has been known for being close knit community and Ash explains the importance of this. ‘Cementing strong, long-term relationships is what this industry is all about. It is something I have been passionate about all my life.’

“It is a great industry to work in but you have to really keep pushing when doors don’t always open that you may expect will. The Thoroughbred game is built on passion but even if you have the drive and passion, it can be challenging to keep going.”

Ash approached Sun Stud for an opportunity and they were impressed with his passion and determination in the industry alongside his in-depth knowledge. “Every day I am excited about engaging with clients. I couldn’t be more energised to talk to clients about stallions, pedigrees and bloodlines.”

It is very evident that Ash has a huge amount of passion for the industry “If you lead with positive energy and integrity you will go far in this game. The more that you can work as a team then the further you will go and that stems across all facets of the industry.”

Sun Stud have an impressive stallion roster this year including proven sources Magnus & Bel Esprit, new stallion National Defense & Fiorente. One favourite of Ash’s is Palentino who was a very tough racehorse and his first crop of yearlings are looking to be following his lead. “The way they are growing out gives us confidence there will be some excellent results next year.” However, above all Bel Esprit is the horse that is top of Ash’s list.

Sun Stud sire Bel Esprit

“Bel Esprit was the one horse that captured my imagination, he was just so fast and his racing pattern was so exciting. The ability to show such early speed and quicken again. It is no wonder that he achieved so many awards as a stallion and left us with the fastest horse I have ever seen, Black Caviar. In addition, Northerly was probably my favourite horse of all time, I love the way he was so tough.”

The advice that Ash would give to someone who is starting out in the industry is “Knowledge is power, the more you read, the more you listen, the more you watch the further you will go. To bring creativity into the industry and an open mind and to not be like everyone else.”