Horse racing is in Matt Cumani’s blood.
The son of one of British racing’s leading trainers, Luca Cumani, has brought his family’s rich racing history to Ballarat.
A short working stint in Australia in 2015 soon turned into a business venture and permanent home.
The English born and bred horse trainer established Cumani Racing at the Ballarat racecourse in 2016.
“I came to Ballarat with another trainer when I was first here in 2014. He showed me some of the training centres in Victoria… Warrnambool, Caulfield, Flemington,” Cumani said.
“I loved this place. I loved the uphill track, and the CEO Lachlan McKenzie was very eager to get me here. He was really trying to expand the trainers base here at Ballarat and said we could design our own stable.
“It is a similar set up to where I grew up in Newmarket. A small town just outside a big city, and an hour and a half outside the capital city. You don’t have to travel far top country tracks and you’ve got huge access to all sorts of racing around the state.”
Cumani admits the business has had its highs and lows, but revealed plans for the expansion of facilities.
Plans to build a new row of stables will allow room for another 24 horses, an addition to the current capacity for 60.
The work and lifestyle is tough, a change for Cumani who once worked in finance and politics. But the variety ranks it as his favourite job to date.
“You are doing something different every couple of hours of the day,” he said.
“Getting up at 3am or 4am, first thing you are hands on training the horses and it is a great group atmosphere with all the team; the riders, the stable staff and the horses.
“Then you might spend a few hours in the office to plan the next day, looking at the finances or planning the horses’ campaigns. Then it is off to the races where you meet a huge variety of new people all the time, from the local fruit and veg grower to a visitor from Qatar.
“People often call racing the sport of kings and give it that slightly elitist feel, but it is not at all. It is actually a leveling industry because you get people from all walks of life and they all meet together on the racecourse.”
Cumani has not always worked in the world of racing, but admits he never dropped his connection to it.
He lived in London throughout his early adult years working in banks, studying finance, and then taking a role with political campaigns.
The loss of the 2005 campaign with the Conservative Party was a career turning point.
I realised in the last couple of years working in London that I was reading the racing post more than the political pages, so I decided to go back into racing
Matt Cumani, horse trainer
Cumani worked for trainers in Newmarket and America and returned home to work for his father, before travelling to Australia where he fell in love with the country and state of the racing industry.
“I realised how healthy and progressive the racing industry was in Australia so decided to set up here.
“It is fantastic that I can carry on, hopefully successfully, what my father and grandfather have done very well over past generations, but it is only in its early days.
“My grandfather was a champion trainer in Italy, my father one 53 or so group ones. It is quite a long way to go between here and there but hopefully we can do it and I am certainly looking forward to it.”
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