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TRAINER GORDON LEWIS – Always with the horses

Observer staff reporter

Friday, October 06, 2017

Gordon Lewis's life sounds like one straight out of a storybook. He practically grew up in the sport of horse racing — from representing Jamaica as a polo player to owning horses and then training them for thoroughbred racing at Caymanas Park.

Lewis has been involved with livestock such as cattle, sheep and horses from he was a young lad. He received formal training at agricultural school in England and also managed a dairy farm for many years, but his decision to enter the horse racing industry was prompted by a back injury.

“My association with the thoroughbred industry began very early. As a child growing up, I had my foundation in the fact that Andrew H B Aguilar, my grandfather, was involved with horses. He bred and raced horses at Knutsford Park and then at Caymanas Park.

“Despite my early exposure to horse racing, I was never involved in the sport as a teenager or in my 20s, although my brother Michael and my grandfather owned horses together. But Michael was the one who was involved and took charge of the business.

“The syndicate owned horses such as High Table, Time Table, Baba's Dream and Alicia, who were trained by John McKenzie at the time. My interest was not in that aspect of the sport as I was heavily involved in playing polo and represented Jamaica at that time.

“It was not until 15 years ago that I modified my focus and became involved in the actual caring, keeping and breeding of thoroughbred horses for the purpose of racing. This was after I damaged my back while playing polo. Being a great lover of horses, I decided to stay with them to occupy my time.

“I then became involved with the Gary Subratie's stables and acquired an assistant trainer's licence. During my apprenticeship with Subratie, I claimed a few horses who were trained by him. After serving the required period as an assistant to Subratie, I was accepted by the Jamaica Racing Commission's (JRC) Training School.

“I then went through the JRC intense training programme under the instructions of Dr Sophia Ramlal, the JRC's acting senior veterinarian, and Dr St Aubyn Bartlett, the consultant veterinarian, and graduated as a licensed trainer in 2009,” Lewis told The Supreme Racing Guide.

Despite the ups and downs of the sport, Lewis expressed no regrets at choosing a profession in the horse racing industry.

“This is just another step in the equestrian world as I was not interested in show jumping and the other equestrian stuff. So the next step from polo was for me to come into horse racing. Nonetheless, I started playing polo again two years ago and I'm still playing at present,” he said.

Since obtaining his training licence eight years ago, Lewis has so far won 50 career races, with nine coming this year, which is shaping up to be a very good season for him.

“I can remember my first winner since I started training horses, and that was Remy Case ridden by Brian Harding. She won on her second attempt. After Remy Case I had Sir South, Glenda, Face Tracker, Naheema and Bunker Dust, owned by a good friend of mine, Milford Ward from Ocho Rios. He was the first owner who gave me his horses to train.

“Following this, owners and breeders Michael Bernard and Anthony Hart, from Montego Bay, gave me horses to train and they are the mainstay of my stables, along with the horses I own,” stated Lewis.