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Happiness the key to a successful racing stable

Headshot of Justin Fris
Justin FrisSouth Western Times
Laqdar Ramoly kicks back in the saddle after claiming line honours with On Red Alert.
Camera IconLaqdar Ramoly kicks back in the saddle after claiming line honours with On Red Alert.

Boyanup trainer Alanis O’Hara has a simple mantra at her stable — happy horses win races.

One such horse who typifies this approach is her six-year-old On Red Alert, who took out Thursday’s Furphy Refreshing Ale Handicap (1400m) at the Bunbury Turf Club.

He might only have three wins from his 10 career starts to date, but there is more to this striking gelding than meets the eye.

“We only paid $660 for him,” O’Hara said.

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“He should be dead — that is why he has got his name. He has ran through three fences, which is why he has only had 10 starts.

“We have had him since he was six months old. He is a pretty special little horse, but he has his little quirks.

“He does not like people touching him or anything like that, he is just a mummy’s boy. Every time you put him out in the paddock, you have just got to close your eyes.”

O’Hara, who mixes in her training on top of her daily farming life, has earmarked a busy few months for the six-year-old, on the back of his recent form.

“I was pretty confident heading into Thursday,” she said.

“He only got pipped at Ascot first-up and we took him to Northam and put a tongue-tie on him. He turfed Lucy (Warwick) in the mounting yard because he did not like the tongue-tie.

“He only got beaten by two lengths after coming 20 wide down the straight.

“He has got a ton of ability and it was a hot day which did not suit him, but dropping him back to the class one did.”

With three runners in work, O’Hara is able to witness first-hand on a daily basis how her horses are feeling.

“If they are standing in the corner of the paddock with their head down, they are not happy,” she said.

“But if they are flying around and are happy within their work, then you know that you are in the right spot.”

Victories are the pinnacle of racing, but for O’Hara, each triumph is particularly special.

“Specifically for us, it is a family affair,” she said.

“Two of my daughters are strappers and my other daughter works for (Boyanup trainer) Michael Lane.

“My partner and I own all of our horses. We have a couple of friends which have smaller shares but it is just overall a big family group, so you get a lot of satisfaction when you are doing it for both yourself and your family.”

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