By Tony White
After a career in the saddle kicking home winners with regular monotony, Alan Abrahams is finding life as a trainer gallops at a different pace.
The transition from successful jockey to a racehorse trainer is never easy but Abrahams has already made an impact, albeit steadily.
"I've saddled up about seven horses since getting my licence and had a winner, two seconds and a third," he said proudly.
Today at Grafton Abrahams, under the Black Magic Racing banner, has a busy day with three runners at the meeting ? Rapid Hela (Race 1), Oxford Falls (Race 2) and Hi Gerry (Race 3).
The trio will be ridden by Abrahams partner, apprentice Leanne Frankland.
Abraham's career as a postilion was tragically cut short after he suffered serious injuries following a horrendous race fall at Broadmeadow racecourse, Newcastle, on April 24, last year.
Struggling to make ends meet and devoid of work, he was granted a trainers' licence in late November, 2004.
And in a fairytale opening to his new career, Abrahams first runner, Oxford Falls, scored at Coffs Harbour in December with Frankland in the saddle.
However, with just four horses in work Red Sun, a last start third behind Hifilante at Grafton on March 31 the other in the stable ? finding a flow of winners becomes a difficult percentage game.
"Obviously I'd like more horses to help get me going and make life a little easier," Abrahams said. "But we're poking along okay, going all right.
"I've got a few blokes interested in becoming involved and I'm trying to get a couple of syndicates together to buy a couple more horses.
"Hopefully things will improve, particularly after tomorrow," he said yesterday.
"I think Hi Gerry has got a good chance."
Hi Gerry, a lightly raced five-year-old by Autumn Dew, will contest the Grafton Cup Day July 14 Maiden Plate (1200m).
The gelding had his first start for Abrahams finishing an encouraging second to Octagonal Star in a 1200m maiden at Lismore on March 10.
That was Hi Gerry's first run in 239 days.
"He's improved since then, hopefully enough to win," Abrahams said.
"He's still green and doesn't know much but he's improving all the time. He's a nice type.
"I think once he wins a race, he's only had four starts, he can go on and win a couple more."
Abrahams got Hi Gerry on lease from Judy Baldwin four months back.
The gelding is raced by a syndicate headed by Rodney Mason, proprieter of the Good Intent Hotel.
Rapid Hela will contest the Ramornie Day July 13 Maiden (1600m) and Oxford Falls, a gelding Abrahams owns, the Good As Gold Class 5 Hcp (1100m).
Fellow local trainer Terry Commerford has a great show in Bunger, topweight for the Gold On Tap Class 3 Hcp (1600m).
The four-year-old gelding, described by Commerford as "a big sook," won a 1500m Class 4 Hcp two starts back before being trapped wide throughout when 6th to Wakomba at Armidale on March 14.
"He's a bit of a big sook and needs everything to go his own way," Commerford said.
"Early in the piece this preparation, while working well, he just wasn't firing but he's come good with racing and last start was probably a victim of a wide barrier."
In a back-handed tip Commerford revealed local jockey Craig Franklin knocked back the mount yesterday.
"He (Franklin) has knocked me back three times and each time the horses ? Bunger, Aquatic Drive and Mastermind ? have come out and won," Commerford said.