MORNINGTON-based trainer Robert Kingston has saddled up his last runner after a decade of competing in the Victorian ranks.
Kingston, who claimed his first winner with On Tour in 2011, sent out his two-year-old filly Class Action as his final runner at Wangaratta on Thursday 3 June.
Class Action finished at the rear of the field but Kingston can go out on a high after his perennial bridesmaid Art Major broke through for a well-deserved maiden victory at Cranbourne on the Friday night prior.
“He’s missed a few times so when he won it really made my mind up,” Kingston said. “I’ve thought about it for a while and I think it’s a nice time to go out.”
Kingston saddled up over 800 runners and claimed 73 victories over his 10-year training period. He said it was becoming “noticeably harder” in the competitive Victorian environment and believed it was time to embrace a better work-life balance, with his young family at the forefront of his mind.
“I’ve loved every minute of it, and I still loved it [Thursday] morning,” he said.
“It’s tough hours as everyone knows you’re either in it 110 per cent and work long hours or you’re not. I’ve put 110 per cent in myself and my staff have been good to me for the last 10 years but at the end of the day I’ve got a young family. I’ve probably put them on the back burner a little bit so maybe it’s time to re-address the balance.”
Born in Ireland, Kingston has had many roles in the racing industry with his training career just one of the many hats he’s donned in the last 20-odd years.
Kingston initially came to Australia with shuttle stallion Bahamian Bounty in 1999. The renowned gentleman of the Mornington training complex settled in Australia in 2008 where he has worked as a racing manager for trainers Robbie Griffiths and Mornington-based Jason Warren. Kingston also spent time working for RISA prior to taking out his own trainer’s licence.
“Although everyone probably knows me for training, I don’t think I’m just a one-trick pony,” he said.
Kingston’s next endeavour is likely to be a jockey manager for Mornington-based apprentice jockey Celine Gaudray.
“If I’m successful in my application for a jockey manager’s licence I’ll take over the management of Celine Gaudray who is a very good up-and-coming apprentice to Pat Carey. He’s guided her through the initial stages very well and she looks to have massive potential. I’m really excited about that,” he said.