Jake Capewell swaps NRL ambitions for Stradbroke Handicap dream with Sir Warwick

Jake Capewell once dreamt of joining his brother Kurt as an NRL star but having a Stradbroke Handicap runner would nearly top playing in front of a packed crowd at Suncorp Stadium.

Toowoomba horseman Jake Capewell once had designs on being an NRL star like his brother Kurt, but he could go one step further if he qualifies his stable star Sir Warwick for the Stradbroke Handicap next month by winning Saturday’s BRC Sprint at Doomben.

Capewell comes from footballing stock, with all four brothers playing at a high level but his slight build held him back as he headed towards horses instead.

Away from the bright lights of Suncorp Stadium where his brother Kurt stars for the Broncos, Capewell goes about his business as one of the most respected pre-trainers in the country at his Westbrook property, just outside of Toowoomba.


“I spent a couple of years at the Gold Coast with the Burleigh Bears chasing the dream not long after I left school,” Capewell said.

“I didn’t quite get as big as the other brothers, I have three of them and they took all the football ability and the size too.

“I think they beat me to the dinner table each night or something. We were all quite heavily involved with footy, obviously Kurt is doing well and the other two (Liam and Sam) have won premierships at Ipswich when Kurt was there.”

Such are his skills with unbroken horses, Capewell developed a reputation as a “re-schooler” of rogue horses, which eventually saw him take out a training license of his own, where he has around six horses racing.

That pales into insignificance to the work he does for other trainers however, where he schools around 70 babies at any given time, preparing them for a career in racing.

Premier trainer Tony Gollan gets Capewell to put the finishing touch on all of his new horses before they make their way to his Eagle Farm stables.

“Our main business is our early education and the spelling but I think I always wanted to give the training a go, we are starting to put a bit more time into that and as we go forward we can develop that side of things a bit more,” Capewell said.

“Tony actually trained out of this barn that I am in now at the training centre when Toowoomba went to cushion (track).

“After that he went to Brisbane, (Tony’s father) Darryl Gollan pre-trained Tony’s out of here plus a few of his own and then Darryl got sick so Lindsay Hatch started doing it out of the same barn again, then I moved in once Lindsay went to Toowoomba.

“We do pretty much all of (Gollan’s) breaking in and then their first two educational preps before they go to Eagle Farm.

“It is a sensational little training centre, it is quiet and has all the things to work the babies around.”

It was Capewell’s re-education capabilities that brought Sir Warwick to him from Victoria, with connections fed up after a number of embargoes were placed on him due to his rogue nature.

Since arriving at his stables, Sir Warwick has won five from nine starts and can book a ticket into Queensland’s premier race with victory in Saturday’s Group 3 BRC Sprint (1350m).

“He came to me as a barrier rogue pretty much, he had an embargo on him, and he had plenty of them over his career with lots of people trying to get him right,” Capewell said.

“He is still a bit of a rev head, he can be a bit fierce, his barrier manners have been super but.”

Rated a $17 chance with TAB, Sir Warwick has the services of champion jockey Kerrin McEvoy, where Capewell expects him to handle the likely heavy conditions.

Originally published as Jake Capewell swaps NRL ambitions for Stradbroke Handicap dream with Sir Warwick

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