DONOVAN RUSSELL – Determined to succeed

Observer writer

Friday, February 09, 2018

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There are many instances in life when people rarely get to fulfil their lifelong dreams.

Some 30 years ago, Donovan Russell embraced thoroughbred racing and entered the sport that he dearly loved when he became an owner. It has been his calling and now he has gone even further when he recently became a licenced trainer.

“To tell the truth, I love being around horses and wanted to train them, but it was not until I came into contact with trainer Carl Anderson that his encouragement and his astute guidance and sharing of information gave me the courage to take up the challenge to become a racehorse trainer.”

The challenge was never an easy one for him, but his passionate interest in the racing profession motivated him to further his knowledge.

Today Russell is a full-fledged trainer and was among the batch of graduates from the Jamaica Racehorse Trainers' Diploma Course of 2017 organised by the Jamaica Racing Commission. A batch of 22 students passed out in December 2017.

“I am one of those persons whose passion for something as a profession has been partially fulfilled.”

Why partially? “To complete my endeavour as a trainer is to be among the top trainers. But I have just started out and it is going to take me some time before I get settled. I am going to take my time in getting there and achieving my life's ambition of being among the top trainers.

“First and foremost, before I can settle and get anywhere, I need to get a good stable under my control with an office where I can lay out my plans, organise and streamline my operations much better and with greater care. As it stands at the moment, I cannot manage things the right way because my horses are all over the place.

“I have 11 horses under my care at the moment and they are scattered over five barns. The problem with this situation is that the grooms like to see you around them as that gives them the urge to be more attentive and to move forward.

“When the grooms don't see you around with the horses, they are all over the place and can become laid-back as they are not being properly supervised. The situation develops where you cannot get the job done the way it ought to be done,” Russell explained.

“When all your horses are housed in one area of operation, you can come out from your office area and see to it that the horses get the proper care that they should receive. This means that I can get to supervise them in the best way possible than when they are scattered all over the place.

“I have been asking for barns, even six or seven will suffice for the time being. I know the line is long, but as long as I have an office from where I can operate professionally, that will be an asset as I will have an area in which to receive guests; when owners or would-be owners visit at the stable area I can sit down with them and reason in a tidy place. At present I have no such place for that sort of accommodation,” Russell pointed out.

Despite the unsatisfactory situation confronting him, Russell is determined to succeed.

“This is my job. I have loved this game from ever since. I am now 50 and the first horse that I ever owned was B ival Boy. I bought that horse from Mrs Eileen Cliggott for $25,000 and I won three races straight with that horse. I was around age 20 at the time. Since then I have been an owner, and now I am a trainer,” Russell declared.

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