Queensland's Own Welcome to the best coverage of racing in Queensland Queensland's Best
Horse Racing Only
www.horseracingonly.com.au Horse Racing Only logo
Home Racing Queensland National International Blogs Photo Gallery Links Contact Us


By Graham Potter | Sunday, August 4, 2013

Graham Potter writes a weekly column for the Sunshine Coast daily. Due to demand from those having trouble accessing the paper these columns are now also published on HRO courtesy of the Sunshine Coast daily

Damian Browne is a credit to the Sunshine Coast community at large and his standing should be recognised as such.

Browne’s exploits in the saddle, whether riding a Maiden winner at his home track on a lazy Sunday afternoon or taking on Group 1 company in the pressure cooker that is Melbourne metropolitan racing places him amongst those at the top end of the country’s riding ranks.

Nobody gets a free pass that to level of recognition. It has to be earned.

Natural talent is a help to getting there to be sure. Grim determination is almost an essential factor. Attitude is everything, opportunities are critical … and so we can build the different rungs of the ladder that any sportsman has to climb to find the heady heights of success.

If you follow that check-list, get to the top and look down you will find that Browne has just about ticked all of the boxes.

Browne is a naturally gifted horseman … and I don’t use any of those words lightly.

A true horseman is a very different being to the average jockey or rider. He or she works with their mount to the degree that they generally get their horse to co-operate with them with the minimum of fuss, with the least waste of energy. They seldom fight them (which is generally a losing option) but find a way to give their horse its best chance in a race.

Like all good horseman, Browne knows that the rider and the horse are a team … and a team is at its best when they work together.

Browne knows that his attitude in the saddle will either help or hinder that teamwork. Calm and confident carries the day and while he will probably hate the word, Browne is an absolute role-model in this regard.

Apprentices should be given a video to study of the best of Browne’s rides. Watch how he positions his horse according to the speed in the first quarter of the race. Watch how he finds an extra length or two when he needs it most in the finish … and lastly, watch his compact and mostly kind riding style.

Everyone has their own style, but the apprentices can only benefit from viewing the Browne option.

As importantly Browne also has that ‘calm and confident’ manner when carrying out his non-riding responsibilities on any race-day. That discipline serves him well when dealing with the media, owners and trainers.

So he has got the natural talent and he has got the right attitude, but both of these quality attributes were in danger of being rendered worthless several years ago after a cruel double injury blow left Browne sidelined with his race-riding future in serious doubt.

It was a testing time which could have gone either way … that was until a grim determination kicked in and led Browne back into the saddle.

The stability of Browne’s future was still far from secure as he hit the comeback trail … that has led nowhere for so many … and initially his progress was slow, not necessarily in terms of results, but in terms of opportunities.

When opportunities finally did arrive Browne grasped them with both hands as any true professional would do.

As good as his multiple Sunshine Coast jockey premierships might look on his resume, Browne’s clear-cut second placing behind Michael Cahill in the Brisbane Premiership and his exploits down south perhaps tells the greater story.

It’s been quite a ride, if you’ll pardon the pun, in what is arguably one of the toughest professions on the planet.

I know of people who have been recognised for less.

I’m not certain what sporting awards are handed out at the Sunshine Coast.

But I do know someone who deserves one!

More articles

Graham Potter
Graham Potter
Queensland's Own www.horseracingonly.com.au Queensland's Best