`The Goose’ aims to lay the foundation for a golden egg

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<p>NICCI GARNER<br />
“THE GOOSE&rsquo;&rsquo; is back! And he and his side-kick Mad Max, er, sorry,“ Vociferous Vic&rsquo;&rsquo; Moore, are setting out to lay to waste some of the myths about small trainers and big results. It&rsquo;s true. Louis Goosen (47) plans to make serious waves with a string of just 20-odd horses when he opens up shop again on 1 August.</p>

<p>He said yesterday: “My license has been approved. I&rsquo;m just waiting for the licensing committee at the National Horseracing Authority to sign it off. We&rsquo;re already preparing the stables and I&rsquo;m hoping to start up again on 1 August.</p>
<p>“It&rsquo;ll be a small, exclusive yard with hand-picked owners and horses. I won&rsquo;t fill stables just for the sake of having a full house because I won&rsquo;t be making my living from training.&rsquo;&rsquo;</p>
<p>The son of a top jockey-turned-champion trainer Danie Goosen and brother-in-law to ultra-talented jockey Piere Strydom, Goosen has a ready-made team who he believes will have the winning touch.</p>
<p>“Vic Moore, an ex-Zimbabwean who was assistant to the late Buddy Maroun but who has had his own license in recent months, will be coming on board as my assistant and will run the yard. My fianc&eacute;e Lauren Watt will also be helping out and Vic&rsquo;s wife Debbie, who works for my company Catchem Group, will be an important back-up.</p>
<p>“Between us we have 140 years&rsquo; experience in horseracing: we&rsquo;ll be the Methuselah of the industry! Think about it: there&rsquo;ll be four racing professionals looking after 20 horses. I don&rsquo;t see how we can fail.&rsquo;&rsquo;</p>
<p>He chuckled and then described his assistant: “I used to tease Buddy about how quiet he was. Vic is just the same&hellip; He doesn&rsquo;t have two words to string together unless it&rsquo;s important.&rsquo;&rsquo;</p>
<p>An enthusiastic Goosen continued: “I&rsquo;ll have a young string to begin with. I&rsquo;m looking for a horse or two in training. To avoid stepping on any toes, I&rsquo;ll be looking for horses from other centres with sand credentials, which is a niche market. I&rsquo;d like to get runners on the ground as soon as possible.&rsquo;&rsquo;</p>
<p>Goosen, who earned his stripes as an assistant to Chris Erasmus from 1992 to 1995, is taking over two horses owned by his close friend Eric and Evelyn Joell – three-year-old Hot Lips Houlihan, who has already racked up a win and a place in four career starts, and two-year-old Sarah Smillie. “She is the first foal of Winning Ways, who finished second in the 2002 SA Fillies Nursery for me, so we already have history,&rsquo;&rsquo; commented Goosen.</p>
<p>The Joells and Goosen bought two more horses at the Sibiya Yearling Sale at the beginning of the month and they have a couple of other horses lined up for his re-entry into the trainers&rsquo; ranks. He&rsquo;s hoping to start with 13 horses, 11 more than first time around back in 1995.</p>
<p>“My first horses will be arriving on Thursday and we&rsquo;re in the process of getting the stables disinfected and cleaned up,&rsquo;&rsquo; said Goosen. “The facilities will be state of the art with infra-red lights in every stable and, of course, a number of security cameras!</p>
<p>“I&rsquo;ve been given the same Vaal stables I had before,&rsquo;&rsquo; he said. “I had a lot of success from this yard (130 winners). It&rsquo;s away from the mainstream, small and intimate with natural surroundings and big trees. My horses were always so very happy here. I wouldn&rsquo;t like to train anywhere else on the Highveld.&rsquo;&rsquo;</p>
<p>He re-iterated that, although he won&rsquo;t be making his living from training racehorses this time around, he is “taking it very seriously&rsquo;&rsquo;.</p>
<p>“My goal is to once again get the pyramid correct. There&rsquo;s only one Horse Chestnut and many chestnut horses. It&rsquo;s easy to have 20 battlers and maidens. I intend to race competitively on every level, from the maiden ranks to the Graded races.&rsquo;&rsquo;</p>
<p>That, he said, was a formula he had just about perfected when he handed in his trainers&rsquo; licence in 2005. “I had 13 horses at the time and Noble Rami (Golden Horse Casino Sprint) and Tycoon Rosita (the only Australian-bred horse I trained; SA Fillies Sprint) placed in Grade 1 races on the same day.</p>
<p>“I stopped training for two reasons. My assistant, Patrick van Schalkwyk died and I didn&rsquo;t have anybody to replace him. At the same time my business was growing into a national company and I didn&rsquo;t want to take my owners&rsquo; money under false pretences.&rsquo;&rsquo;</p>
<p>He handed in his license, but took out an assistant-trainer&rsquo;s license to work for Maroun as the stable&rsquo;s spokesperson and public relations officer. He was devastated when his friend died in the Argentine earlier this year.</p>
<p>“Now, the business is running smoothly and since my son Christopher has started working in the company, I&rsquo;ve become kind of redundant. He&rsquo;s doing a hang of a good job and the business flows a lot better when I&rsquo;m not around poking my nose in everywhere.</p>
<p>“I fished for a few months, but I&rsquo;m bored now. It doesn&rsquo;t hold the same challenges as racing, which will always be my passion.&rsquo;&rsquo;</p>
<p>Goosen concluded that he was grateful to Alfie Little at Phumelela for expediting his re-entry into the trainers&rsquo; ranks and that he was impressed with the cooperation between the racing and betting company and trainers that he had perceived at a breakfast he attended yesterday morning.</p>
<p>“When I gave up in 2005 there was a lot of animosity in racing. Yesterday&rsquo;s meeting was fantastic and encouraging. Very positive! Phumelela has become part of the solution to many problems we were facing.&rsquo;&rsquo;</p>

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