May 5, 2023 National Trotguide
DOUG’S Rules is turning into a handy pacer under the guidance of Tamworth trainer Brendan James.
But don’t be fooled by the racing name – Doug is actually a filly.
“I syndicated her and that was my opening line: ‘we have a girl named Doug do you want to be an owner?’,” grinned James.
As a third-generation horseman, following his grandfather Laurie James, a former secretary at the Tamworth HRC and lifetime member and then his own father Rodney, 31-year-old Brendan is enjoying the ride.
“I have had a good season so far training 10 winners in the first five months of this year,” said James, who began his training career in 2014 and has 32 career wins to date.
“I hope the winners keep rolling my way.”
Doug’s Rules is giving James and her owners a great run and from six race starts since joining the Tamworth stable in March has three wins with two of those setting new track records, including the win at Tamworth last week.
The three-year-old Shoobees Place-Immortal Jet filly set a new track record at Tamworth last week with a mile rate of 1.55.9 for 1609m, breaking her own track record set at Tamworth in March of 1.56.1 for the same race distance.
“I thought there would be improvement,” said James.
“I only bought her with the intention of forming a syndicate and it is exceeding our expectations.”
Doug’s Rules had the services of reinsman Tom Ison in her win last start at Tamworth and from the one barrier Ison elected to sit in on the back of race leader Redfox Raider (Brad Elder) before making a move in the back straight on the final occasion.
“It was an enormous run and she had every right to give up at the 400m mark, as she had to go around Redfox Raider and then dig deep,” said James.
“I kept telling Tom (Ison) that I haven’t found the bottom to her yet when she set the first track record.”
The syndicate, which is enjoying the wins of Doug’s Rules includes first time owners into harness racing in Greg Winter, Jordan Dinsey, Shane Hillier, Adam Erich and James’ partner in life Emily Wilkin.
“Syndication is great for the industry – it is a cheap way of being involved and a good way to have some fun – it’s all about the photo on the wall and the experience,” said James.
The stars have certainly aligned for Brendan James since the arrival of his son Mason seven months ago, but it is older son Cooper who will be the fourth generation to enter into the sport.
“I have brought Cooper a new mini trotter as well,” said James of his 12-year-old son.
“He is horse mad so he will join in the family tradition and follow me, for sure.”
With six horses now in work, Brendan is slowly moving towards building his stable and spend more time in the industry – all with the blessing of his boss Glen Simpson from Kudos Renovations, who has also joined into the ownership of a pacer.
“Glen has been such a good boss and he has shares in a maiden with me,” said James.
“I have slowly been working up to this: I wouldn’t be able to do it without the support of my family – without them I would be stuffed.
“I set out after I trained my first winner – Zoemagic – to achieve my first training double and I did that in January but I didn’t have a track record on my bucket list. Now I will take it,” added James.
And what’s next for Dougs Rules?
“I will try and keep her to her own age group, which is hard around this area.
“But I think she is good enough to travel and I am looking to targeting some nice races for her.”
– JULIE MAUGHAN