Racehorse trainer Garret Lynch reflects on the rodeo accident that changed his life
Against all odds, the Murray Bridge trainer has become one of the best in South Australia in – he says – the first year he has really taken things seriously.
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Garret Lynch never really wanted to be a racehorse trainer.
He didn’t set out to be named the best in provincial and country South Australia at an awards night on Saturday.
His first passion?
He had won “about 18” state titles, he said, and even a national Rodeo Services Australia title.
Then came the accident that changed everything.
He broke six ribs and lacerated his liver three-quarters of the way through in a fall.
That was two and a half years ago, in February 2019.
Six months later he aggravated his injuries after pushing too hard in his recovery; another six months that he had a mesh surgically implanted “to repair everything”.
While he was on the shelf and without an income, he turned to training horses.
By his own account, 2021-22 was the first year he had really taken the job seriously.
He wound up winning 49 races, including 40 in country South Australia – more than any of the much better-resourced trainers he was competing against.
“The most expensive horse I’ve ever trained was $7000,” he said.
“The big trainers, that’s their monthly bill.
“I’m making $60 a day.”
Over the past year or so his stable at White Hill has employed several staff, including his partner Cass; and expanded from just four horses to 28.
Lynch-trained mare Jaamint alone has won her owners more than $200,000 over that period.
So: what’s next for the country racing sensation?
A serious tilt at the South Australian trainers’ premiership, for one thing – he’s leading the likes of Richard and Chantelle Jolly, Leon Macdonald and Michael Hickmott so far.
His success is likely to attract more clients, too.
In the meantime, though, he said he was enjoying life.
“I do like going to country racing, to all the out-of-the-way places,” he said.
Murray Bridge jockey wins inaugural trackwork rider of the year award
Lynch wasn’t the only Murray Bridge product to bring home a trophy from Saturday night’s SA Thoroughbred Racing Industry Awards at the Adelaide Convention Centre.
Hazel Fertier became the inaugural winner of an award for the trackwork rider of the year.
She had grown up around horses, she told Racing SA, so the job had been a natural progression.
Local trainer Kristi Evans described her as the “beating heart” of the Murray Bridge racetrack.
“She’s a genuine friendly kind person, and that goes into the horses, they feed off her energy,” she said.
Also nominated for the same award was Gemma Lind, from Mr Lynch’s stable.
What great stories but behind the success is a lot of hard work 7 days a week and raw talent and intuitive skills.
Congratulations all round Proud of you