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By Darren Winningham with Joshua Unwin | Wednesday, June 20, 2018


Winno has a bit of a soft spot for this strapper. He is a reasonable fellow – however, as I found one night when he invited me along to watch him and some jockeys and mates play TAG, he has a blood phobia.

You see he was playing and got a stray hand to his face that gave him a bloody nose. He came to the sideline, trying to rest but it looked like he was about to pass out. Should I call 000 or should I continue to laugh out loud!

That was the dilemma – since then we have always been mates!

Then he packed up and went to the mighty NSW, leaving his long-term boss Robert Heathcote and looking to see what the world had to offer and linking up with the mighty blue team GODOLPHIN racing. He is back in Brisbane now working for his ‘second dad’ (who … read to find out more).

This is Joshua Unwin.


Do you have a nickname?


So why Sydney?

I went to Sydney to see what it was like.

Where did you work?

I worked at Godolphin Racing for 18 months.

What was it like at Godolphin?

They seem to be a lot more professional than some of the places in Brisbane. This is not a derogatory comment. They just take every little precaution under the sun. Anything the can do for the horse … they will do it!

What do you mean by that?

They have a vet on the premises 24/7. Any scratch – any small issue the vet is straight onto it. They do not muck around at all.

Whilst you were with Godolphin did you have a favourite horse?

Hiemal – he hadn’t won a race when I was there. I loved him as I looked after him from day dot. I looked after him all the way through. He started favourite in the Breeder’s Plate and finished 6th behind the Chris Waller trained Performer.

You are back in Brisbane – what are you up to?

I am back with Robert Heathcote. He is my second dad!

Junwin, who do you rate as a jockey?

Tye Angland.


I think he is very smart and if he didn’t have weight troubles I think he would be getting a lot more opportunities in Sydney.

I thought you picked Tye as he is a stout NSW supporter?

No, not all WINNO – you know that would never be the case!

What’s your fondest memory working for Godolphin?

Probably being at the track and watching Alizee win the Flight Stakes ridden by Glyn Schofield.

What’s your fondest memory working for Rob Heathcote?

Watching Buff (Buffering) win in Dubai.

What’s your favourite race horse during your time Rob Heathcote?

That’s easy. Fire Up Fifi!

Best thing you like about your work?

I have a love for horses. It is easy to get up each morning when you love what you do.

Your family has always been involved in horse racing?

Both sides of my family have been involved with horse racing – I grew up on a race track. Dad was a jockey for 25 years – Mark Unwin at Rockhampton. He won a few premierships there.

My grand dad was a trainer – Danny O’Leary – he winners all over central Queensland and around the State. All my uncles are involved in racing as well. I suppose you can say I was meant to be here WINNO.

What do you do when you cannot sleep?

I drink – and lots of it!

What time does Junwin get up to start work?

Up here with Rob I start at 3.00am each morning. When I was in Sydney with Godolphin I started at 4.30am – I got a bit of a sleep in!

How do you prefer to be woken up in the morning

(A massive smile on his face). Okay, let’s just keep it to an alarm clock and it must go off a couple of times!

Name a memorable day as a Strapper?

Taking Woorim (trained by Rob) to the Glasshouse at the Sunshine Coast. He won the race two consecutive years – in 2010 and 2011.

What are you always late for?

A lot to be honest. I have been late for the races a few times.

If you could change careers tomorrow what would you do?

This is a tough question WINNO. I don’t know anything else – I have been doing this my whole life. I would love to be a professional sports person in some field. I love my sports!

Ok – on that note let’s talk about TAG – I have seen you play?

(Junwin starts laughing). Do we have to do this again!

You rate yourself a little bit at this sport, don’t you?

I did make the Queensland team WINNO.

Now the key to TAG is that you are not supposed to get hurt, are you?

WINNO – you said we were not going to talk about this you bastard!

It is noncontact, so you are not supposed to get hurt! Now let’s explore that night at Shaw Road – Wavell Heights – you remember it well – when you got a blood nose and you were about to pass out?

I am not big on blood – you know that! I get vey woozy when I see it – you know that, and you seen what happens so can we stop right about now and move on!

What is your favourite music?

R & B.

What is your favourite musician?

Chris Brown.

What is the most embarrassing song on your phone?

Anything that Justin Beiber sings. (I cannot believe you have that on your iPhone – you are one disgusting person Junwin)!

What is your favourite gadget?

My phone – I cannot live without it and Tinder!

What would you choose as your last meal?

Chicken Parmy! Salad etc – no WINNO – just chips & gravy!

Name one person who you want to have dinner with?

With WINNO – you are shouting as I am broke!

Name one thing you could not live without?

My right hand! No, seriously, sports and my family.

What is your greatest fear

Losing my phone- I would hate it.

Name one of your favourite places to be?

Watching Footy or at the races.

Where have you visited on holiday?

I went to New Zealand – the South Island. It was a wonderful experience – I have never been to the snow it was something different and such a great place.

NRL/AFL favourite team?

NRL – Broncos AFL – what is that game?

State of Origin time – NSW or QLD?

Do you really have to ask this? Do you wish to start a war? QLD – I bleed Maroon!

I think WINNO went to an Origin Game with Junwin?

Yeah you did actually! It was a one-point game at Suncorp – Cooper Cronk kicked a field goal and beat you NSW cockroaches! It was 2012 – the series was tied at 1 all and we beat you! (WINNO responds … Yes, another night where you lot got the bounce of the ball and the referees decisions go in your favour again).

Who do you talk on the phone the most to?

Trumpet – Tim Rayward. He calls me every day! You know he is an A grade pest WINNO! (WINNO says he has got fat lately?) Well he has – he is a big boy! He loves his tucker and his KFC!

What are you must grateful for everyday?

Family, friends and racing!

What landmark or item symbolises Australia?

Great Barrier Reef.

What do you like to put on a sandwich?

I am pretty basic. Cheese and BBQ sauce.

So that is basic – really?

Some salt and pepper on white bread and no butter. (WINNO says that is sick – I would hate to be your rectum after you consume that)!

What toppings do you like on your pizza?

I like Meatlovers with Peri Peri sauce. Thin and crispy pan pizzas – from Dominos.

How do you define success?

Being at the pinnacle of the sport or whatever you are doing. Being comfortable in in your life and not having to struggle as you have put in the hard yards to get where you are.

Who is you man crush?

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.

Who is your girl crush?

Megan Fox.

Tell us something that may surprise us about you?

Everyone knows everything about me – I am an open book! Well there is one thing I am going bald!

You are joining the Trent Edmonds club then?

Well I suppose I am – hopefully not as fast as him. II may have to get his number and see what hair clinic he is going to – to keep his hair!

Now I believe you do not drive a car?

No mate. That is correct. I find it easier to drink and let someone else drive!

If you are down to your last $10 what would you spend it on?

The next favourite at the Brisbane races!


More articles

"I am back with Robert Heathcote now. He is my second dad!"
"Something that might surprise you about me? Well there is one thing I am going bald!"

"You are joining the Trent Edmonds club then", asked Winno.

"Well I suppose I am – hopefully not as fast as him. I may have to get his number and see what hair clinic he is going to – to keep his hair!"
My favourite race horse during your time Rob Heathcote?

That’s easy. Fire Up Fifi!

Photos: Darren Winningham
My favourite race horse during your time Rob Heathcote?

That’s easy. Fire Up Fifi!

Photos: Darren Winningham
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