Dual-code participant records rare daily double

The date of Monday, August 7, 2023, will be one for the history books in the career of Grant Forge in the racing industry.

The 42-year-old has worn countless different hats in the equine game since he was a teenager: track work rider in the gallops, harness driver, thoroughbred trainer as well as being an owner in both codes.

And, across his time in the codes, he has enjoyed numerous winners, as well as running third in the Melbourne Cup as an owner.

Monday of this week was one out of the box.

In the gallops, Forge prepared his first winner since early 2007 as a trainer and just a few hours later, a pacer he part-owns got the cash under lights at Redcliffe around ‘The Triangle’.

“Two runners for two winners, it does not get much better than that,” Forge said with a smile on Thursday morning.

Let’s start with the gallopers.

It was a horse named Termite who handed the Beaudesert trainer his first triumph in more than 15 years.

Only a newcomer to the Forge stable, the son of Vancouver was able to score in his third race start for the team under the urgings of hoop Karl Zechner along the rails at Dalby.

Hoop Karl Zechner riding at the Gold Coast.

Forge has two earlier training winners on his resume, which came in May of 2007 in a prior training stint when he was based in Central Queensland.

He has only been back dabbling with the horses since late last year after stepping away in the middle of 2008.

Emerging reinsman Nathan Rothwell in the sulky behind Captain Oh Captain on Monday night.

 The returning horseman was glad to see Termite win and receive some reward for his efforts.

“He needed the recent run at Gatton, he was not fully fit,” Forge said.

“We rode him a little bit different at Dalby as he drew the right gate, he sat in behind and we were patient.

“It was great to get the winner as my nephew rides his gallops at the Gold Coast.”

Forge grew up around the harness game before becoming involved in the thoroughbreds in his late teenage years during high school.

He was introduced to the code by his sister Jacinta Forge-Jones, who eventually went into the training ranks, and began riding track work at the Gold Coast.

Forge was also a reinsman with the pacers and trotters while riding track work in the gallops at the Gold Coast in his early days.

Forge-Jones enjoyed success with a horse named Reef Court through 2009 and into 2010.

“I learnt plenty of my skills from people like Alan Bailey – who I helped out at times – and my sister who worked for John Wallace and a few other trainers, as well as Alan,” he said.

As well as working full-time, Forge works with a team of two gallopers with Termite in the stable alongside Zesty Boy.

Emerging reinsman Nathan Rothwell in the sulky behind Captain Oh Captain on Monday night.

Zesty Boy heads to Casino Racing Club on Saturday in an attempt to break his maiden status with hoop Ben Looker booked to do the riding.

The trainer owns both Zesty Boy and Termite and also has a share in High Emocean, who filled a place in last year’s Melbourne Cup.

High Emocean was beaten just over three lengths by her Ciaron Maher and David Eustace-trained stable mate Gold Trip in the famous staying race in 2022.

“She is aiming up again for the Cups this year,” Forge said of High Emocean.

Now, back to the harness code.

It was the Ron Wells-trained Captain Oh Captain who delivered the victory on Monday, scoring by a head at juicy odds at Redcliffe. 

Forge owns the pacer with Wells, who he describes as a good mate. 

Emerging reinsman Nathan Rothwell was in the sulky behind Captain Oh Captain on Monday night.

Just over a couple of decades ago it is Forge aiming to make his way as a junior driver.

He drove a winner at the old Parklands track at the Gold Coast in 2001 before having his last drive in 2004.

“Parklands was a beautiful track, at the time it was the best track and surface in Australia,” he said.

“It was brilliant.”


By Jordan Gerrans