By Jordan Gerrans
Townsville’s Matthew McGuire took a roundabout route to get there with a few unusual turns along the way but was always going to be a racehorse trainer.
Across the years of 2019 and 2020, McGuire was one of the few in the Sunshine State as a licensed greyhound and thoroughbred trainer, at the same time.
The North Queenslander was not just licensed with one or two dogs and horses, poking around here or there, he was a regular winner of races in both codes.
While the dogs have taken a backward step slightly over the last year, that has meant McGuire has just ramped up his involvement in the gallopers.
His team of horses is ever expanding at his Wulguru stable and the emerging trainer is hopeful of winning a decent race or two over the 2021 TAB Northern Queensland Winter Racing Carnival.
While he cut his teeth in the greyhound game, McGuire was always destined to be in horses: his mother a trainer, father a jockey, who now trains, while his grandfather was in the code, as well.
He also has had uncles and aunties and more extended family involved with the horses throughout the years.
“As a kid, I always wanted to be a jockey or a horse trainer,” McGuire said.
“In my early 20s having the dogs and stuff, I always wanted to go into horse training.
“Just in the time that passed by, I thought it was the right time to get into the horses after having a bit of success with the dogs.
“Dad got back into the horses a little bit more and it got more serious, so I took out my trainers’ licence. I am thankful I did because I have had a lot of fun.”
A trainer these days, McGuire is slight in stature and while he rode a little as a youngster, a fall ended his hopes of ever making it in the jockey ranks.
While several in his family are in gallopers, McGuire, who grew up in Richmond before making the move to Townsville for high school, was one of the few who took the leap into greyhound racing.
An aunty of his was involved in the dogs, but it was a night on the drink that got him started officially in the industry.
After having a few refreshments at Cluden Park during the afternoon on Melbourne Cup Day, McGuire and his mates kicked on to the greyhounds at night where they decided to buy a dog and the group of friends elected McGuire as the nominated trainer of the said chaser.
“It was odd for me to get involved in greyhounds, but all my family supported me,” he said.
“They had lots of fun and even dad got his licence there after a while. We had some success early on training greyhounds, as well, which certainly helped.”
McGuire is modest when he says he had a bit of success with the dogs.
He prepared almost 20 greyhounds that won multiple races, including Tears To Glory, who won smartly on a Wednesday evening at Albion Park in late 2020.
Tears To Glory was trained by McGuire out of Townsville before he was transferred down to Warren Nicholls in Brisbane.
While the dog was no longer in McGuire’s name, he was a part-owner and set her towards the Brisbane campaign, so he could claim it as his first winner in town.
With 11 career wins under her belt not long after that Albion Park triumph, Tears To Glory has retired to be a brood bitch.
Like Tears To Glory, McGuire has not been seen in the greyhound form guide of late, his name has not been in there since October of last year, to be precise.
With his galloper interest growing, it was time to take a step away from the dogs, but McGuire plans to get back into the greyhounds eventually.
Townsville Greyhound Racing Club President Gary Heath said McGuire was a strong contributor to the greyhound code in NQ while he was training and remains as an owner and fan.
“It is a shame to lose Matty to thoroughbreds over the last year because he did have a lot of good dogs and trained a lot of winners here,” Heath said.
“We still keep in touch with him and he still owns a few dogs here, which all go pretty well.
“We are proud of the way he is going.”
While the greyhounds and gallopers are most certainly different animals, McGuire says the training methods behind the two were usually fairly similar.
“A lot of it is routine based, I like to stick to the same routine whether it be dogs or horses, I like to get up at the same time every day,” McGuire said.
“Take them to the track at the same time.
“Keeping the same diets all the time, not necessarily changing too much.
“There are some similarities between the two.”
Michael Charge, SKY Racing’s track side host at Queensland’s regional TAB race meetings, believes McGuire is one to watch in the North Queensland training ranks.
“He was born into a racing family, he is building a sensation career for himself and he is a trainer on the rise,” Charge said.
“He is very good with his social media, keeping his owners informed around their horses, he is very articulate and professional and he is one of the new breed of trainers in North Queensland.
“It is great to see new blood coming through.
“I am sure there is a feature race winner coming for him shortly as he has a big future ahead.”
Being a hobby trainer in the greyhounds, gallopers, on top of working full-time, playing cricket locally in Townsville and running a regular life may sound stressful, but McGuire worked it out somehow.
“We managed, I had great help with my uncle and dad and everyone else,” he said.
“They helped me with the dogs and horses, they were both in the mornings before work, it all balanced out but it was good fun.”
As McGuire eased out of greyhounds and focused more energy on the thoroughbreds, his father Patrick, also a trainer himself, was a great help, housing a horse or two of Matthew’s, before he established his own stable that can fit a handful or so at a time.
“I am thankful for that because he taught me a lot while I was there with him,” McGuire said.
On his 2021 TAB Northern Queensland Winter Racing Carnival prospects, McGuire is pinning his hopes on Rothman, Dio D’oro, Destroy The Star and Endinaye.