FAMILY circumstances have forced popular Camperdown trainer Denis Daffy to put his training career on the backburner.
Daffy, who has been training for nearly 50 years, had his last runner at Casterton in May. Prior to that, the 77-year-old horseman had only a handful of starters in the previous months.
"Things have been very quiet on the horse front for me," Daffy said.
"I'm pre-training one horse. I've had more important things on my mind than to train horses.
"My wife Diane has been very sick and I'm doing my best to look after her with the support of my family, and my brother Patrick passed away on Saturday after he was crook for a long time.
"It's been a very tough time for my family. I've renewed my trainers' licence, but I'm not really sure when I'll have my next runner."
Daffy rates a second placing by Miles Above in the 2010 Camperdown Cup as one of the highlights in his training career.
FIRST-SEASON hurdler Robbie's Star looks to be promising jumper, but don't expect his trainer Peter Chow to take much notice of his races over the obstacles.
Robbie's Star registered his second win from three hurdle starts at Casterton on Sunday. The eight-year-old beat Tara Dreaming and Elevison in the $30,000 race.
Chow admits he finds it tough to watch Robbie's Star run in jumps races.
"The nerves really kick in for me when Robbie's Star runs over hurdles," the popular trainer said.
"I'm not sure what happens to me. I just get really toey.
"I would say, going by his record, Robbie's Star is pretty good at the jumping caper. Full credit to Darryl Horner Jr. It was a very good ride. We had the conditions to suit us, as Robbie's Star likes tracks with some give in them."
With the jumps season fast coming to a close, the Warrnambool-based trainer is weighing up his options for Robbie's Star.
"I've got three options," he said. "We may head for the big jumps day at Ballarat on August 25. There's two races there that may suit - the first is the Houlahan Hurdle over 3200 metres or the Gotta Take Care Hurdle over 4000 metres - if we miss those then we'll send Robbie's Star to the paddock for a well deserved break."
From his three hurdle starts, Robbie's Star has picked up more than $40,000 in stakemoney.
PROMISING gallopers Ginny Ann and Nordic Symphony are being set for spring campaigns by trainer Symon Wilde.
Ginny Ann captured the attention of racegoers with an impressive maiden win at the Warrnambool May Carnival before failing at her next start in Adelaide.
"Ginny Ann won well at Warrnambool but was disappointing in Adelaide, " Wilde said.
"We couldn't find a thing wrong with her after Adelaide so we tipped her out.
"She's been back in work for six weeks and is progressing well. We'll have a look at a few races over the spring in Melbourne for her."
Nordic Symphony won a three-year-old race at Flemington in April before she ran in two black type races in Adelaide.
"She's improved with the spell," Wilde said. "She's matured a lot with a good spell. We'll be looking for middle distance mares races for her in the spring. I think she may be up to that class."
Nordic Symphony has won two of her seven starts.
JUMPS jockey Lee Horner pleaded guilty to a careless riding charge at Casterton on Sunday.
Stewards found Horner allowed Tara Dreaming to shift in when not clear of Romelo, which was crowded onto the running rails and lost ground.
Horner was suspended for three high-weight/jumps races. His suspension started midnight August 11 and ends midnight August 18.
Flat jockey Josh Cartwright is on the sidelines following an incident at Bendigo on Sunday.
Cartwright pleaded guilty to a careless riding charge. He is out from August 14-23.
ORFORD trainer Anne McGrath is anxiously awaiting a report from the jumps review panel about veteran jumper Mannertone before she decides to run the 11-year-old in the Great Western Steeplechase at Coleraine this Sunday.
Mannertone lost his rider in the open steeplechase at Casterton last Sunday, so the incident had to be referred to the jumps review panel. "I'm hoping we get the all-clear from the panel to run Mannertone at Coleraine," McGrath said.
"He took no harm from the incident at Casterton.
"It's just like he never had a run.
"He came home and ate up and is as good as gold."
From his 50 jumps starts, Mannertone has won seven races.
The Great Western Steeplechase is the main race on the program at Coleraine.
THREE positions on the Warrnambool Racing Club committee are up for grabs.
Sitting members Des Roberts and Tamara Mahoney retire by effluxion and are eligible for re-election, while long-standing member John McLean has stood down after 33 years.
Nominations close on August 30.