Bruce Wyborn finds his life changing trotter

Bruce Wyborn was nearly broke.

The long-time breeder, owner and trainer in the harness racing industry in Queensland was almost running on empty.

He has campaigned his horses around Australia over the years – some he has trained himself – and others that have been prepared by other stables.

And, after a lean run for results, the bank account figure was not looking healthy for Wyborn.

That all changed with boom filly Susan Is Her Name.

The promising trotter will be running to give Wyborn his maiden Group 1 as an owner in the Aldebaran Park Redwood Classic at Maryborough on Sunday afternoon.

When Wyborn says he was almost broke, he does not mean that he was actually nearing on bankruptcy.

He was going ok financially in all other facets of his life.

But, the account that has the cash to pay for the standardbreds in it was not looking pretty.

After three victories and a second from four career trips to the races, Susan Is Her Name – who Wyborn bred himself – has turned out to be a game changer.

“I had spent all my money in the horse account, I was almost broke,” he revealed candidly.

Susan Is Her Name with owner Bruce Wyborn and driver Narissa McMullen following a victory.

“I transported all my horses in Victoria to Queensland – she was one of them.

“I had a few dramas with work and left my job, as well.

“I was not doing really well, but everything has turned around.”

He owns about a dozen horses, who will all see the benefits of his smart two-year-old trotters spoils.

“It gives you the ability to now look after the other horses a bit better,” Wyborn said.

“I have a colt out of Susan’s half-brother and a three-quarter sister to Susan.

“They are just turning yearlings now, so they are the next generation.”

The self-confessed trotting man is from New South Wales originally but headed north of the border back in 1991.

He has spent time training in his own right as well as being full-time as a gardener for the Ipswich City Council.

Wyborn now does some work at the Albion Park club as part of their track team as well as another casual gig on the side.

The keen horseman has spent time around the McMullen family since he relocated to the Sunshine State with an aim of picking up knowledge about the industry.

And, it was a McMullen that he turned to when breaking in the youngster that would become Susan Is Her Name.

Wyborn previously broke in all his emerging trotters himself but decided to go away from that for the first time in his life to hand her to the state’s leading driver – Pete McMullen – to give her an education.

It turned out to be a master stroke, the breeder and owner believes.

The McMullen and Chantal Turpin stable have dominated the juvenile trotting ranks in Queensland in recent times, clean sweeping the recent features for the square gaiters.

Susan Is Her Name winning for driver Narissa McMullen.

“I usually break them in myself but I wanted it done in a big stable this time,” Wyborn said.

“I have a little troubling breaking in my trotters because I only work one or two at a time.

“I felt it was time to do it this way.

“Pete did an excellent job, Pete and Chantal’s set-up is just unreal and they treated the horse really well.

“They can take most of the credit for getting here where she is now.”

In hindsight, Wyborn is glad he trusted McMullen and Turpin.

“I hopped on her twice in her breaking preparations and she galloped twice for me,” he said with a laugh.

“I got kicked off very quick.

“She was real gangly and a bit back in her joints but she has grown into being a nice filly.”

The Sunshine State will be well represented at Maryborough’s famed feature day for square gaiters this Sunday.

Susan Is Her Name has transferred down to the leading Emma Stewart barn, as has former Turpin-McMullen stable mate You Know Ill Be Late.

You Know Ill Be Late claimed a double three-year-old trotting feature in Brisbane before heading south for the Victorian Trotters Derby.

You Know Ill Be Late is owned by Chantal Turpin and was bred by her brother Jake Turpin, who has recently signed for the Sydney Roosters in the NRL.

Susan Is Her Name is a daughter of the champion sire Sebastian K.

Susan Is Her Name relinquished her unblemished record at her last start when she was rolled in a photo-finish for the Tatlow Stakes at Group 2 level at Melton.

While Wyborn is superstitious and did not want to speak specifically about the upcoming Group 1 contest, he says it is onwards and upwards following the recent defeat.

“It took her a while to settle in down there as we sent her down half prepared with a few runs under her belt,” he said.

“She had a few weeks spell after she won her last race.

“It took her quite some time to get used to their way of things.

“We were very excited when she won first-up for the new stable and I was a little disappointed in her next start.”

If his filly can get the cash on Sunday, it would be the biggest triumph of Wyborn’s tenure in the industry.

Previously, the best horse that he had bred was Margaret Jean, who won the Group 2 Breeders Crown four-year-old Trot at Melton in 2018.

At the time, Wyborn did not own the horse, as Margaret Jean had been leased out.

“She has the good barrier,” he said of Sunday’s assignment with Susan Is Her Name.

“I am sure if we trot well, she will be right there at the end. It is exciting.”

By Jordan Gerrans