Mark Ford can’t wait for Saturday’s Belmont Park meeting to come around.
The former Zimbabwean and South African horseman is filled with nervous energy and excitement.
It’s been a long road travelled by Ford but in the Listed Aquanita Stakes he starts his first Australian runner in a black-type race.
More than a decade since migrating to Australia and five years after he obtained his WA license, Ford hopes Greatness Awaits is the spark that ignites his training career.
“I’m very excited and really looking forward to the race,” Ford told The Races WA.
“I’ve won stakes races in Zimbabwe and was stakes placed in South Africa, but this is my first opportunity in Australia.
“The standard in Zimbabwe is obviously not high, but I was fortunate to work with some top trainers in South Africa.
“It’s been a long road to get to this point after getting my license in 2016 and it’s been hard to get the right horses.
“I also had to spend a period away from Perth when I went to Sydney for a couple of years after my mum fell ill.
“I only have a team of four horses with just two in work, but everything is going according to plan with Greatness Awaits.
“I’m very excited for the weekend.”
Sentiment and emotion aside, Ford genuinely believes Greatness Awaits is a top chance to score a knockout blow in the Aquanita Stakes.
After two poor trials, the former Melbourne galloper made the perfect start in the west by winning a 1600m event at Pinjarra with 59.5kg.
Previously trained by Leon and Troy Corstens, the Rubick gelding posted his second win from eight starts and validated Ford’s decision to snap him up.
“The win wasn’t a complete surprise,” Ford said.
“His trials looked plain but there were reasons and I didn’t want to push him.
“I ruled a line through his last trial because we had record rainfalls and the track didn’t suit him.
“After his win it gave me the confidence to go forward to the Aquanita.
“I liked the way he let down and I think he’s crying out for more ground.
“I really like him; he has a stayer’s action and is a big scopey horse.
“He caught my eye racing in Melbourne.
“He has pulled up well and everything is spot on.”
Greatness Awaits drew barrier two. Top jockey Chris Parnham has been booked for the ride.
In current TAB markets, Greatness Awaits is $26.
Ford says he hopes Greatness Awaits can live up to his name.
“I can dare to dream,” he says.
“It could be the springboard I need.”