Prominent South Australian racing industry worker and thoroughbred owner Jacqui Heaney has been forced to make one of life’s great educational detours – but she couldn’t be happier.
The 53-year-old SA racing identity from the successful Gordon Richards stable at Morphettville has commenced a Certificate III Travel course with Australia’s leading education trainer Wise Education Group, and is a strong believer in the old adage of “one door shuts, another one opens.”
“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, and now I get my chance,” Jacqui said while combing through the pedigree of many of her part-owned gallopers. “I had read a few of the Wise reviews, and just decided that was for me.”
A freak accident handling a yearling horse was the painful springboard for Jacqui to chase a study qualification in Travel.
“The baby (yearling thoroughbred) was coming into the yard, and just spooked, slipped and fell on me, and both my ACL’s snapped in the incident,” she recalled.
I guess that setback gave me time to think about what else I want to do, and travelling has always been a desire, and something I want to be well qualified in. I had heard so many good things about Wise and the flexibility and support they provide in allowing people of all ages to complete a course. I thought, ‘Yep now’s my time.’
Jacqui is a part-owner of many of Adelaide’s well-performed gallopers, most notably the 3YO gelding sprinter Nordic Eclipse who won three out of four starts in a brief late summer campaign earlier this year, but was unplaced at Morphettville on Saturday, along with another of her charges Black Caesar.
Raised on Kangaroo Island, Jacqui and Gordon Richards have been together for 17 years and were married in Bali 11 years back.
In fact, whenever you spot a Gordon Richards-trained runner on the track, good chance Jacqui will be a part-owner.
Among her great success stories have been Belfast Boy – a three-time Flemington winner who cost only $26,000 but has amassed around $440,000 in prize money; bargain purchase Impulse Buy who cost only $1,000 but has returned $230,000; and the well-performed Stimulatte who has won seven from 28 and racked up $161,000 in earnings!
“Horses have been my life, and in a strange way, that’s one reason why I’m excited to be taking on another challenge like the one with Wise,” she added.
“I’ve noticed many people in the Thoroughbred industry in the last few years are also looking to complete an education course so they have a qualification or alternative career to fall back on, so I would encourage anyone who can find the time in the industry to give Wise a call.”