TOP Warrnambool trainer Lindsey Smith has reviewed his training operation and will trim stable numbers as part of a reality check brought on by outside pressures.
Smith, who also has a training operation in Perth, made the move to Warrnambool in early 2019 and has achieved more than 100 winners including numerous feature race winners in each subsequent season.
However, like other stables all over Australia, a staff shortage and COVID-19 have forced the multiple group one-winning trainer to rethink his training model.
Smith intends to cut numbers at his Warrnambool stables from 60 horses in work to 40 allowing him and his staff including stable foremen Shane Jackson and Bonny Kingsley the opportunity to be more hands on in the business.
"We just don't have the staff to run a big stable with 60 horses," Smith said. "We'll bring our numbers back to 40 in work which should be more manageable for our staff. We've got 12 staff here and they all do great jobs, I just don't want to keep on pushing them.
Training horses is a labour intensive business. We switch on the lights at the stables at 3.45 am each morning of the week and it's flat out from then until we finish around 11am and then we're back in the afternoon.
"It's a big commitment training horses in Victoria because racing is seven days a week around the clock. I knew that when I moved to Warrnambool but COVID and staff shortages have taken a toll."
Smith said he favours a smaller training operation similar to what his old bosses Tom Hughes and Henry Davis had at Flemington back in the early 1980s compared to other bigger models which have evolved over the last few years.
"The big boys can keep on getting bigger if they wish but I don't think being bigger is better and I don't think having quantity is better then quality," he said. "I just thought I was losing my edge having 60 horses in work.
"We're going to be more hands-on offering more individual care to our horses under our new model.
"Training horses is all about the one percenters and that's where I reckon we'll have an edge going forward."
Smith trained three winners at Warrnambool on Monday.
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