Mackay’s Day In April To Remember

APRIL Mackay, daughter of champion trainer Jason Mackay, handled her first winner at The Gardens on Saturday just weeks after her 15th birthday.

Adam Dobbin

6 April 2020

NOT many 15 year olds have a firm grip on what they want to do in life.

But that’s not something that can be said of April Mackay, daughter of champion Hunter Valley trainer Jason Mackay.

“I said to Dad a few years ago I want to follow him and be a greyhound trainer … my mind’s definitely made up on that,” said Mackay.

“I just love the dogs, I always have.”

At Ladbrokes Gardens on Saturday, Mackay took another stride towards realising that ambition when handling her first ever runner, and more importantly winner, the stoutly bred Aston Lee.

“I turned 15 a few weeks ago and applied for my handlers licence straight away,” Mackay added.

“I went to The Gardens on Saturday with Milo and Dad stayed home with the restrictions on how many people can go to the track. I said to Dad before we left that I wanted to handle one of the dogs but he was a bit hesitant.

“I caught Aston Sapporo after he won and then handled Aston Lee for his race.

“It was a huge thrill when he won; everyone after the race was so supportive and happy in congratulating me. I won’t forget it, that’s for sure. It was unreal.”

Scoring by an ever-widening 7 ¾ lengths in a cracking 29.42, Aston Lee extended his record to four wins from 10 appearances under the guidance of Mackay.

“I don’t get nervous which is good because if you are the dogs can feel it; I was pretty calm,” added Mackay.

“After the race walking back I was just thinking how good is this! And for it to be one of Ray Borda’s dogs made it extra special, he’s a great supporter of Dad and our kennel.

“But it was a little weird without any crowd but it could be worse, at least we’re still racing.”

On the back of a memorable Saturday, April is hoping for further success at Maitland on Monday night when Zipping Russell, which she co-owns with the Hallinan family, steps out at Maitland over the 565 metres.

Last Monday, the son of Mister Twister rocketed over the 515 metres at Ladbrokes Gardens to land his maiden in a sizzling 29.35, scoring by 15 lengths.

“He’s got a huge motor,” April stated.

“When Dad brought the litter home six months ago (Zipping) Russell was the first dog I saw and I liked him straight away.

“I said to Dad right then he was the first dog I wanted to be in the ownership of. I don’t have favourites, they all get treated the same, but there’s something about him.

“He’s trialled 24.10 post-to-post At Wentworth Park and has gone 24.08 at The Gardens which is quicker than (Zipping) Garth. He’s got box eight at Maitland which I think is okay, but he’ll be looking for the fence.”

One to always be looking forward not back, Mackay already has her eyes on a owner/trainer licence when she turns 16.

“I’m in year 10 at school and two of my main traits the teacher said is communication and being futuristic. I’m always looking at what’s ahead.

“I’m just lucky enough to have Dad teaching me which means everything. And I know how lucky I am for that. When he says something I make sure that I listen.”