Jack Bruce is one of a number of young trainers bidding to make their mark in a competitive scene and his fledgling career continues to go from strength-to-strength with a double at Dalby yesterday, his ninth win from just 23 starters. 

Bruce, who was previously assistant trainer to Bjorn Baker, Ciaron Maher and Chris Waller in Sydney, took out his own training licence from May this year and has prepared no less than six winners from his previous eight runners.

“Statistics are really great to have, but my main aim is just to get the right results with the horses. Everything I’ve had race so far has run well, which is another goal, and the strike-rate is a bit of a bonus,” Bruce said.

“It’s all a team effort. One of the first things I’ve learnt within five minutes of training is that you need a good team around you. You want to do everything yourself, but you can’t. It’s tough setting out, but it becomes irrelevant when you have a good team and you enjoy what you do.”

Bruce has two wins in town courtesy of the OTI Racing-owned Barade (Havana Gold), who won at Doomben in midweek grade and backed up a fortnight ago to win at Eagle Farm in a Benchmark 90 contest, and the French import could provide the Deagon-based trainer with his biggest win to date in today’s Gold Coast Cup (2200m). 

“He’s fighting fit and in good order. The speed map doesn’t look like it’ll work out and he might have to do what he did last time and circle the field,” Bruce said.

“It’s going to be a little bit problematic but he’s topweight because he deserves to be as he’s got the best form in the race and he’ll acquit himself well regardless. 

“But that’s the level you want to be winning races at and you want to be nurturing your horses to get to the level that they can win in town.”

Bruce also has the Group 3-placed Axe (Written Tycoon) engaged in the Goldmarket (Listed, 1200m) at the Gold Coast today, but despite the lure of possibly training his first stakes winner, he will resist the temptation to chase black type on this occasion with the gelding having drawn barrier 13.

“He’s drawn a terrible gate on Friday, so the main aim is going to be the Magic Millions. I’ll have a think about it and chat to the owners, but whether he runs tomorrow or not he’s an exciting horse to have and I’m happy to be patient with a horse of stakes level ability. 

“There is the temptation [to run him] but you need to treat every situation individually.”

The acquisition of the former Michael Costa-trained Axe from the Inglis Digital platform for $55,000 in March was the product of close relationships Bruce has forged in his career to date, including recent Gold Coast winner Too Much Class (Smart Missile), who was sent to Bruce by prominent owners Dynamic Syndications through his relationship with co-director Adam Watt. 

The trainer reserved special mention, however, for his former employer Bjorn Baker, from whom he has both purchased or received horses from, including yesterday’s winner Cool Encounter (Fighting Sun) and Matowatakpe (Dream Ahead), an $80,000 online buy that is owned in partnership with Darby Racing. 

“Michael Costa I’ve known since he was training at Warwick Farm and that was another relationship that has been useful,” Bruce said. “He phoned me up to say Axe was going to be sold ahead of him moving to Dubai and he believed he was the sort of horse I should be looking at.

“Bjorn’s my former employer and we’re close friends. I talk to him all the time, almost every day, so it’s that help I’ve received in all aspects of life that I’ve had from him.

“I’m really appreciative of the support I’ve been given from connections I’ve made. I train for a Kiwi guy who phoned me up and said ‘you probably don’t remember me, but I was at Windsor Park when you were parading stallions at 19. I’ve got a mare in the paddock who’s ready to go and I’ll send her down to you’. You want to just repay the faith that people are showing you and hopefully that’s the case.

“The biggest challenge is financial, you have to put the proverbial on the chopping block, so to speak, so you have to get in quite deep in that respect. 

“But it also drives you to do the best you can.”

Original article featured in ANZ Bloodstock News on August 26th 2022 – https://www.anzbloodstocknews.com/bruce-revels-in-early-success/