ORAL Hayden, one of the newly licensed trainers, says his passion for horses and desire to care for the animals prompted him to become a thoroughbred horse conditioner.
Hayden, who graduated from the Jamaica Racing Commission's (JRC) Trainers' Training Programme on May 12, 2023, said he has loved horses since he was a small child and has always had a sweet spot in his heart for horse racing.
"You know how important it is to me. Sometimes you want to take care of your own animals, or you observe how other people handle your animals, and you think to yourself, 'Let me deal with my animals the way I want to treat them. Let me take care of my horses and love my animals,' which really inspired me to become a trainer," Hayden told The Supreme Racing Guide.
"I had an uncle who owned horses, and he was the one who got me into racing. I've been coming to the racetrack since I was a child and this is the result: I'm a trainer. I enjoy horse racing," he adds.
Hayden won his first career race on Saturday, May 20 when his three-year-old chestnut filly Essential Quality won the $990,000 Awesome Power Trophy, a Maiden Condition event for native-bred three-year-old fillies over seven and a half furlongs (1,500m).
The Sensational Slam offspring triumphed by 11 lengths in a time of 1:36.4 (24.0 x 47.4 x 1:13.2). MPRS Links (Reyan Lewis) finished second while Hot Stepper (Tevin Foster) finished third.
"It feels great to win my first race as a trainer. This victory brings me great joy because she [Essential Quality] had a minor setback and we raced her last week only to see how she was. So, we were ready for her this week and she was ready for the race," he explained.
"She was probably short of work last week so she got that run and we got her ready for this race, and she ran well. I'm overjoyed. You progress from owner to assistant trainer to trainer and the second time I start this horse, I am a winner. I am a contented man.
"Right now I have 14 horses under my care. What I can tell you is that I love to win races and I want to win every time I put a horse out there," he stated.