From Jockey to Trainer
John Bateman’s first foray into the racing industry was as a jockey. He started off riding track work in Sydney for Hall Of Fame trainer Theo Green as a teenager before establishing himself in the western districts region of New South Wales.
John spent 17 years in the saddle, winning a collection of Country Cups as well as a handful of races in Sydney. Group 1 winner Gold Circle was among the best horses he rode.
But John’s riding career was cut short due to a bad fall at Dubbo during the mid-1980s. He fractured several vertebrae in his back and neck, causing temporary paralysis.
The injury ultimately forced John out of the racing game for some 16 years, during which time he owned and managed a chain of video stores.
But the lure of racing never waned and after years of physiotherapy, John became more physically able and eventually started helping as a stablehand for a friend at Rosehill.
He then moved to Gary Portelli’s stables at Warwick Farm, where he met Guy Walter. After 12 months with Portelli, John asked Guy for a job and without a moment’s hesitation, he was hired.
The Guy Walter philosophy
John’s tenure with Guy began in 2000 and after seven years of working in close quarters with the master trainer, he was entrusted to run the highly successful Goulburn stable.
By his own admission, John would have been content to work under Guy forever but in May 2014 tragedy struck. His long-time mentor suffered a fatal heart attack, which prompted John to undertake the notoriously difficult transition from foreman to independent trainer.
It was with a heavy heart that John took out his own training licence but with years of Guy’s teaching and an established base at Goulburn, John had the necessary tools to succeed in the cut-throat world of horse training.
Patience and observation were the hallmarks of Guy’s training and John has applied these disciplines in his own career to become one of the most recognised trainers in country New South Wales.
In just a handful of seasons, John and his committed staff have made rapid progression to produce a winning strike rate that would rival any metropolitan stable (see table below).
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John has won several of Sydney’s Highway races and also lays claim to the inaugural Country Championships Goulburn Qualifier with tough gelding LOFTY’S MENU.
Whilst he has no ambitions to increase his stable size, John is set to play a key role in country racing for many years to come.