It was sage advice from Gray Williamson almost two years ago that has been instrumental in Gene Killick enjoying immediate success as a first time trainer.
Williamson, from Mungrup Stud in Albany, has been friend, mentor and confidant to Killick since he arrived from New Zealand over a decade ago.
“Gray, his wife Jan and the whole team at Mungrup have treated me like family,” said Killick.
“I’ve worked at Mungrup for most of the time since coming to Australia and they treat me like one of their own.
“Gray gave me a kick along when I was a bit down on myself and moping around after damaging a shoulder in a fall.
“Gray is a pretty tough individual who has suffered his own battles and he took me aside and gave me a few home truths.
“It was on his strong suggestion and encouragement that I pursued a trainer’s license and I’m grateful that I did.”
With Killick’s affection and respect for Williamson it comes as little or no surprise he sought his counsel on Wild Ruby, a horse he bred at Mungrup Stud.
The Vital Equine mare, Killick’s first stable representative, is undefeated and enhanced her profile at Albany’s season-opening meeting on Sunday.
Racing first-up after a spell, Wild Ruby extended her winning sequence to three when she put 1 ½ lengths on Our Royal Demon and Secure The Sky.
“I was pretty surprised by how easy she won,” said Killick.
“The way she let down was impressive.
“She still has scope for improvement and pulled up a treat.
“She has a bit of attitude and I’ve liked her since I picked her out as a yearling.
“She is a half-sister to Silver Trace so she does have some ability.”
Killick admits given Wild Ruby’s success he may consider racing her outside of Albany.
“I’ve been discussing her programme with Gray and we have an idea where we want to go,” said Killick.
“There are a number of races we have to consider but at this stage she may have her next start in Bunbury.”
RWWA: Julio Santarelli