Queensland’s new power couple

After moving back to Queensland, Alanah and Adam Richardson are already carving a name out for themselves.

Alanah Pitt married Adam Richardson at Narrandera racecourse back in October last year. Both originally hail from the famed Riverina region of New South Wales, and they have a young son together named Caleb.

Within 12 months of their wedded bliss they combined for the biggest victory of their lives when Dextrous Dexter scored in the Group 2 $51,000 QBRED 3YO Trotting Final at Albion Park on August 19.

What a whirlwind period!

Exchanging vows in front of family and their closest friends on a day forever etched in their memories then sharing the complete euphoria of training and driving a feature race winner. Mind you, it was with a young and raw trotter that was entrusted to them following two unplaced efforts.

“Fair to say that our wedding day went a lot smoother than the race. We had quite a few hurdles in lead up and throughout the race itself,” Alanah said.

“The fact it was switched from a mobile start event to a stand caused some second guessing while the tactics and how the race unfolded didn’t quite go to script either.

“In the end, we got the win, and it was a big surprise. I know I didn’t have any expectations, I was more hopeful of a top three/four finish because we were up against some pretty good trotters, so, to get the win was a big thrill.”

Dextrous Dexter joined the Richardson stable following health battles for original mentor Denis Smith and arrived with no fanfare.

The My High Expectations gelding was actually rated lower than Northern Power, another My High Expectations gelding that graced the track twice last year while yet to step out publicly for the Richardsons.

Both Dextrous Dexter and Northern Power are raced by their breeder, Kathyrn McLachlan, the sister-in-law of Smith.

McLachlan and Smith enjoyed tremendous success with Northern Muscle several seasons ago, a winner of 26 races and more than $154,000 in stakes while trotting a PB time of 1:57.1.

“Dexter has exceeded all expectations. Power was ranked higher, but he’s had a few issues and setbacks along the way,” Richardson said.

“Dexter has been pretty faultless although he’s quite quirky, he seems scared of everything and has a unique mentality.

“But with time and maturity he’s just kept improving and gaining confidence, which is crucial for a young trotter. On the occasion when he didn’t hit the board I blame myself because we changed his shoeing around, so we changed it back.”

Adam, Alanah and their son Caleb.

Both Alanah and Adam have grown up surrounded by horses.

Alanah is nearing 50 training victories after being granted her trainers’ licence during the 2019/20 season while Adam has booted home more than 580 winners as a driver when commencing his career back during the 2008/09 season.

His best season in the bike came via the 2018/19 season when landing 115 winners; his first and only time of hitting three figures.

Since moving back to Queensland, the young couple are based west of Brisbane and prepare their team of six to eight horses at Fairney View, the property of Ian and Ange Gurney.

They are both employed by the Gurneys and assist with the training of his team while taking drives for the stable.

“We work together and enjoy each other’s company. We potter about six to eight, never anymore, and we have a combination of pacers and trotters,” Alanah said.

“Adam loves the trotters while I’m more of a pacers type, but the trotters are winning me over. The efforts of Dexter have certainly helped but they’re hard work.

“I’m big on presentation. I really go that extra step with how I present my horses. They’re well groomed, platted and strapped upon arrival. I cop plenty of flak over it but it’s just how I am, and I think it’s important with how they’re presented.

“I’ve enjoyed the training aspect since taking out my license and there’s so much more to learn. It’s constantly evolving in so many ways.”

Clearly, there are three horses that stand out for Richardson that have contributed greatly to her growing tally.

Naturally, Dextrous Dexter has played a huge role with five wins from 17 starts to date, while pacers King Of Trumps and Soho Beijing have both played significant roles with six wins apiece (at time of writing).

Soho Beijing, a gelded son of Queensland-based sire Changeover, was purchased for a modest price from the Kahlefeldt stable before morphing into a consistent money-spinner when the couple were based south of the border.

On the other hand, King Of Trumps, a New Zealand-bred gelding was raced by Mick Boots before transferring to the Richardson stable and his good form has continued on Queensland tracks over quite some time now.

“Both pacers are special to me. We bought Beijing cheaply and he was excellent in many ways. To be honest, upon retirement he was part of our wedding day at Narrandera and played his role perfectly,” Alanah said.

“I just adore King Of Trumps. He gets spoiled and treated like a rock star. I do everything with him so he’s totally my responsibility and Adam is not allowed to touch him.

“Once his racing days are over he’ll make a great show horse. He’s got the looks and thrives on the attention he receives, so that will be an interesting time when it comes.”

As it stands, things are moving along nicely, and the young couple are focused on family and work.

So much so, there was no time for celebrating following their feature race triumph.

“It took a while to process, we got home well after midnight before rising early the following day and completing our work, had a family day at the EKKA and by the time we got home to let everything sink in, we were completely exhausted,” Alanah said.

“Another interesting point about winning the Trotting Triad – it was the first time we actually met Kathryn and her husband Neil.

“They made it even more satisfying to achieve a feat like that. Naturally, they were beyond excited which is fantastic.”

May the good times and winners continue.

Hoofnote: Alanah is the cousin of leading Victorian-based reinsman Mark Pitt, stable driver for the Emma Stewart/Clayton Tonkin stable.

Adam steering Dextrous Dexter to a win.