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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 8 November 2014
SATURDAY 8 NOVEMBER 2014 29 SPORT For most Victorians the Rac- ing Carnival means a day off and a chance for an unofficial long-weekend, but for others it means long hours and hard work to get their thorough- breds ready for the big races. For the Gelagotis family, this period is particularly etched in their calendar. Out of their property in Moe, Pe- ter Gelagotis trains 25 thor- oughbreds, while his broth- er Manny takes care of the welfare of the business - and they are starting to build an impressive CV. After 15-plus years in the industry, Manny tells Neos Kosmos that it was his fa- ther, who first migrated to Australia as a 16-year-old in 1956, who first got the family involved with horses. "Dad always owned horses in the early to mid-90s, he bought an eight-acre proper- ty in the outskirts of Moe in '91 and said 'I might train a couple of nags' and that's how it all started - and we used to help out." "By the mid-90s Pete was about27andIwas25,Iwas playing soccer in the nation- al league, so whilst I loved horses I couldn't do it, and my brother took one of dad's horses to Moonee Valley and it won and then he caught the bug. Peter took the busi- ness on and where it was a sort of hobby and doing OK -dadwonafewraces-Pe- ter took us to the next level. He's carved out a sensational ... well, especially the last five years, it's been outstanding." Peter and Manny have trans- formed the business from a training field of 25 horses, which Manny explains is relatively small compared to some based in Melbourne, who train hundreds of hors- es at a time. Manny puts the business and Peter's success- es down to their boutique model. "The pinnacle of horse rac- ing is attracting clients for success, and Peter's been the champion trainer of Gipps- land for I think eight years. "Pete's the head trainer and obviously he's pulling through there in relation to what he started. He's up at 4.00 am every morning train- ing out of Moe and pretty much with our successes it's commercialised. We've man- aged to attract clients like Gerry Harvey, and once you're in mainstream racing you're in the public domain, and Pe- te's been very successful." Manny explains the sev- en-day-a-week business is possible due in part to their mother's support and Peter's hands-on-deck staff. Their top thoroughbreds, Mourinho and Hvasstan, have elevated them to the main stage, having compet- ed at the top level over the past few years. Manny is a strong indus- try advocate, especially for the controversial jumps rac- ing model, and believes the problems associated with it have been addressed by the racing industry. "Horses love jumping, sure you don't want to hear of fa- talities, but we accept sports people being killed or injured - motor racing is a high risk sport. To target jumps racing is weak, think of it in terms of recreation or show jump- ing. Many trainers include as part of their training regime jumps for horses, because it stimulates them." "If naysayers and protestors continue, they won't stop at jumps racing. Two-year-old racing, you can't whip the horse ... if I whipped you with a horse whip you wouldn't feel it, 'cause they've changed it, it's not like it used to be, it's not like the old strap of years ago, these are more like persuaders, not something that hurts them. Welfare is important and the industry has responded well to that." After a week marred by the deaths of Melbourne Cup fa- vourite Admire Rakti, from suspected heart complica- tions, and Araldo, eutha- nased after breaking its leg on Cup day, Manny says he's happy with Racing Victoria's response. "Horse welfare and safety on a racecourse is paramount. I believe the Cup favourite had a heart attack - unfortunately horses do have heart attacks like humans, and that's just part of life and that's unfor- tunate. "Implementing changes when the horses come off the track (Araldo) is very positive and it's great to see Racing Victoria has responded to a really tragic accident. I defi- nitely believe that you can't do enough to protect the thor- oughbred from the public." He says horses and social- ites should always be sepa- rated at large events, so ac- cidents like Tuesday's are not repeated. Peter (L) and Manny (R) Gelagotis The boutique horse trainers It's not all about the Melbourne Cup. Neos Kosmos looks at the people behind the horses and speaks to the Gelagotis family, who have been in the horse training business for more than 20 years JOHN PYRROS The AFL could be considering its online streaming options after the broadcasting rights arrangements end in 2016. The Australian newspaper is reporting that the AFL is considering using its web- site as a streaming site. Cur- rently the AFL is looking at keeping the broadcast rights to one game per week in any new deal. Western Bulldogs president Peter Gordon has chimed in on the topic, saying the AFL should be able to reap the re- wards of having more than a million people watch the sport from their devices. "We're at the dawn of an age now ... where you can actu- ally think about bypassing traditional TV stations and watching things on your TV direct from the internet," he told 774 ABC Melbourne's Jon Faine. The AFL will be able to uti- lise the streaming services to add to their advertising portfolio thereby increasing its revenue. AFL online streaming could be on its way The AFL has under-utilised its website's streaming potential. Ex-St Kilda star's rape charges dropped Ex-AFL star Stephen Milne has had his rape charges thrown out after pleading guilty to the lesser inde- cent assault charge. The retired St Kilda player was facing three counts of rape, dating back to an al- leged incident in 2004. Milne appeared in the Victorian County Court late in the week, and the court heard that after heavy drinking, Milne started kissing the vic- tim and had attempted to have sex with her, with the woman believing Milne was former teammate Leigh Montagna. When the victim realised his identity, she immedi- ately asked Milne to stop, the court heard. Milne's lawyer told the court that Milne believed the victim knew who she was engaging with, despite being in a darkened room. Former St Kilda AFL player Stephen Milne. PHOTO: A AP IMAGE/JULIAN SMITH.
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