Casino War turned in an impressive and tough performance at Broome on Saturday, giving fledgling trainer Anthony Barton an emotional and notable victory.
Sent out a $9 chance in the field of seven starters, Casino War covered ground out wide from gate seven, but gave a kick in the straight and prevailed by 3 ½ lengths.
It was Barton’s first day saddling up a runner and in his wildest dreams he could never have imagined a better way to launch his training career.
“To be honest I didn’t even remember the race,” Barton told The Races WA.
“It was a couple of hours later and I had to watch the replay.
“I didn’t know how far she had won by and it was all a big blur.
“It was something else, it was good.
“It’s still a bit surreal and emotional.”
Barton will never forget his first success in racing, but sharing it with your partner, who just happened to be the jockey riding Casino War, added another layer of sentiment.
Barton says he would not have been able to cherish his first victory if not for Simone Altieri, the accomplished rider has been his motivator and mentor in reaching his dream.
Her love and support has also stretched beyond the racetrack and was equally as pivotal when Barton’s personal life hit a sad low several months ago.
“Simone and I have been together for five or six years,” Barton said.
“I’ve been coming up here (Broome) ever since we have been together.
“Simone literally has made all this happen, I’m very thankful and grateful.
“She pushed me to get my trainer’s license, it’s always been a dream of mine.
“She pushed me in the right direction and gave me all the motivation in the world.
“I lost one of my best mates six months ago and I was in a bad spot.
“Simone got me off the couch and motivated.
“A lot of stuff behind the scenes has happened and Simone is just a jet.
“I’m very, very lucky and we are literally best friends, it makes it so much easier.”
Barton was a first time trainer on the weekend, but he had a wealth of experience to draw upon.
His father, Geoff Barton, originally from Darwin, was a former jockey who in the early 2000s was starter and horse breaker for the Beijing Jockey Club.
In remission after courageously fighting cancer, Barton was trackside at Broome last Saturday and experienced a poignant moment with his son.
“It was pretty amazing,” Barton said.
“He’s been here (Broome) for a couple of weeks looking over things and making sure we were doing the right things.
“It was pretty emotional actually.
“We’re not really emotional people, but we both shed a tear.
“It was very touching.”
Born and bred in Darwin, Barton is happy to call Western Australia home.
“I met Simone in Kununurra,” Barton said.
“I’d been going to Kununurra, Wyndham and all of them country racetracks in the Kimberley since I was in nappies.
“I have been down in Perth for about five years and coming up to Broome every year, loving it.
“I’ve bought a house in Perth and have a full time job on the roads in the summer.
“When winter comes, work slows down for a little bit and I get the opportunity to come up here.
“I try and follow the sun because I’m no good in the cold weather.”
It was a day of milestones for young trainers at Broome.
Former jockey, Yannick Valenti, celebrated his maiden training victory when In The Bag, ridden by his partner, Jessica Gray, won a 1435m handicap in easy fashion.