From war-torn origins to horse racing elite, that is coach Saab Hasan’s journey to Flemington destiny


Racing generally will get criticised for a scarcity of variety as essentially the most profitable homeowners, trainers, breeders and jockeys have usually grown up within the “racing bubble”, from households steeped within the sport for generations.

Of the highest 20 riders on the Victorian metropolitan jockey desk, solely Mark Zahra has what could be termed a non-Anglo/Irish surname. On the trainers prime 20 checklist there may be solely barely extra variation, with Tom Dabernig, Simon Zahra, Matt Cumani and Matthew De Kock having surnames exterior the Anglo/Irish norm.

Saab Hasan's life-long passion for horse racing has seen him leave war-torn origins, migrate to Australia, learn English and hold down multiple jobs to get a start in the industry and now be recognised.

Saab Hasan’s life-long ardour for horse racing has seen him depart war-torn origins, migrate to Australia, be taught English and maintain down a number of jobs to get a begin within the trade and now be recognised. Credit score:Eddie Jim

After all that does not imply they have not been concerned in Australian racing or society with households which have deep roots as migrants to this nation a long time in the past. However the basic rule nonetheless holds true. Making it as a coach is troublesome as connections, experience and capital (to hire stables and purchase horses) is tougher for newcomers than these born into the sport.

That hasn’t deterred Flemington-based handler Saab Hasan, whose story demonstrates that arduous work, some luck and the help of individuals ready to again a recent face with no racing connections can carry rewards.

All 4 of us arrived right here with no cash and just a bit little bit of clothes. Dad immediately started working at Myers as a cleaner, with mum.

Saab Hasan

He was almost 5 when he arrived in Australia with father, Aykul, mom, Behiye and sister, Saver when the household – Turkish Cypriots with a Muslim background – fled the violence of the Greek-Turkish battle that ravaged Cyprus within the mid-1970s.

“All 4 of us arrived right here with no cash and just a bit little bit of clothes. Dad immediately started working at Myers as a cleaner, with mum,” he defined.

“We went to high school right here at Debney Meadows main. I couldn’t communicate a phrase of English and needed to be taught shortly. My sister taken care of me and coached me by way of every thing and watched my again.”

I couldn’t communicate a phrase of English and needed to be taught shortly. My sister taken care of me and coached me by way of every thing and watched my again.

Saab Hasan

The household discovered themselves within the housing fee flats in Flemington.

“I at all times felt in my coronary heart that I wished to work with horses and animals. My dream was alive in Cyprus once I was very younger. My grandad [Cemil] at all times informed me to observe my coronary heart, and I actually felt that working with racehorses was what I wished to do,” Hasan stated.

“Whether or not it was destiny, I do not know if it was future. Not having any background or expertise in racing, I did not know what I used to be up for, nevertheless it should have been destiny for me to land in Flemington. I used to be like a child in a lolly store.

“Residing within the fee flats we did not have some huge cash or alternatives and I needed to seize no matter possibilities I may. I labored with Mick Cerchi, I labored with all of the Cerchis, they had been all nice horse individuals.

Saab Hasan with one of his horses, Shoreham, at Flemington in 2014.

Saab Hasan with one among his horses, Shoreham, at Flemington in 2014. Credit score:Eddie Jim

“I got here down on the age of 14, and I stated I wished to be taught to be a horse coach. I stated to Mick, ‘You higher educate me, and I’m able to be taught.’

“I did about 18 years with the Cerchis to be taught correctly. I additionally labored for Johnny Sadler, Bart Cummings and the Hayes steady in that point too, quick stints about 12 months.”

Hasan acquired his licence in 2004 and has been steadily making an attempt to construct a small scale boutique enterprise – he has simply over a dozen horses in his care – ever since.

I needed to nearly begin from zero. I backed myself, I needed to fund myself, generally I did two and three jobs to outlive, loading vans for Toll transport, loading airfreight on the airways after which coming to work.

Saab Hasan

“I needed to nearly begin from zero. I backed myself, I needed to fund myself, generally I did two and three jobs to outlive, loading vans for Toll transport, loading airfreight on the airways after which coming to work,” he stated.

“There’s days when it felt like I used to be working 24/7, however I wished to outlive and be a horse coach. For the primary time I really feel as if I’m simply beginning to get recognised.”

Hasan is hoping his star horse, Sirius Suspect, who won the group 3 Standish at Flemington on New Year’s Day, may be his breakthrough star. He’s focusing on him on the group 1 Newmarket Handicap later this summer time and he won’t run once more earlier than that take a look at.

Victory in one among Australia’s biggest races will surely assist put the immigrant from Flemington’s housing fee flats on the map on the suburb’s biggest landmark.

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