A new trainer to the ranks had his first runner on Saturday 

By:
Scott Mcglynn
21/01/2024
Horse Racing Betting Tips
Horse Racing News
A new trainer to the ranks had his first runner on Saturday 

Jack Pilkington might not be a household name, but the new trainer has worked with plenty of them as part of his education in the sport. insert content

News Insights

  • Pilkington was born in Ireland
  • He has worked for a who’s who of horse racing
  • Rosehill saw the first runner of his career
  • Alabama State gives him a 5th on debut

It has taken almost 20 years in the sport to get to this point, but Jack Pilkington had his first runner as a trainer on Saturday. Given his education in the sport, he is a trainer that is worth keeping an eye on. 

The trainers that Jack Pilkington has worked for are a who’s who of the racing world. He has travelled the world whilst gaining that education. From North America and across Europe to South Africa and Australia, Pilkington has served his time as a student in the sport and has now set to work turning that experience into winners in his own right. 

Education in the sport 

Pilkington was born in Ireland and, after sitting on a horse for the first time at 12, decided that he wanted to be a jump jockey. That never came to pass, but it was the start of a journey that brought him to Australia via a string of different countries, learning along the way. 
 
Time in California was spent with Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella. With nine Breeders’ Cup winners and a Dubai World Cup, Mandella has a serious resume and experience in the sport. 
 
Few trainers are as hands-on as South African Justin Snaith. Pilkington describes his style as modelled on Snaith in this regard, with a serious attention to detail when preparing horses to race. 
 
In England, Pilkington spent time in Newmarket with Charlie Hills. While he was there, Hills dominated the UK sprinting scene, first with Muhaarar and then with Baattash. Given this, it would be no shock if sprinters are a type Pilkington does well with. 
 
Since moving to Australia, he has worked with Chris Waller and Ciaron Maher. Experience with the likes of Winx, Verry Elleegant and Nature Strip in that time will have Pilkington well prepared for handling a Group 1 horse if one comes along for him early on. 

Hawkesbury stable 

Pilkington has stationed himself in Hawkesbury, where a peaceful atmosphere and excellent facilities contain turf, synthetic grass, and sand gallops to keep the horses ticking over. Add to that the bush tracks that wind through the countryside to give the horses something a little different to keep their minds active, and it seems to be an excellent base to get Pilkington up and running. 

Alabama State 

A $41.00 roughie in the opening race at Rosehill on Saturday afternoon would not have seen too much attention but for being the first runner as a trainer for Pilkington. Not much was expected of him on debut, but he shaped with promise for the future. 
 
Looking a little flat-footed when the sprint for home started, he kept plugging away close to the rails, and despite lugging left away from the whip, he maintained the gallop so as not to fall any further behind.  
 
He is out of a Godolphin dam that was a winner in France and placed in a German Listed race. The dam is a half-sister to a Group 2 winning sprinter in Meydan for Godolphin called Lazuli. The grand-dam was a Listed winner for Sir Michael Stoute in the UK, so there is plenty of speed on his dam side. It is a pedigree that suggests he will do better at some point. 

It was not the dream-winning start that Pilkington would have dearly loved, but getting started is the hardest thing. Now that the wheels are moving, he should be able to get into a rhythm with the horses, and we suspect he is a name that we will be hearing lots more about in the coming years.