In 2018, Mitch McBride walked into the office of one of the most prestigious trainers in Australia and maintained that he could assist the horseman’s vast team at Flemington.
Throwing down the gauntlet to McBride, he was told: “You’ve got one month to show what you can do.”
McBride has been providing advice to the stable ever since. With a long career in racing, McBride studied under the legendary Sydney veterinary surgeon, Percy Sykes.
During the 1960s, 70s and 80s, Sykes and the late Tommy Smith took Australian racing by storm winning nearly every major race in the nation.
“I would sit and listen to Percy for hours. I’d ask him for an hour of his time, and five hours later he was still talking of legendary racehorses like Tulloch, Kingston Town and all those sprinters and stayers that rewrote the record books of their time,” he said.
With extensive blood databases and stored blood now reaching one quarter of a million samples, McBride has carved out a significant niche in the industry.
One trainer commented that McBride delivered a unique competitive advantage, saying: “His work on diets and stress are invaluable. It gives you that sort of edge over other trainers if someone’s able to firstly study the heart rate and then be able to read a significant change in blood before it’s too late.”
McBride points out that one of the advantages of having early blood analysis and the picture it gives is best shown when a horse shows signs of infection before an incubation period, allowing the horse to undergo rapid treatment.
Through this analysis, time away from the training track can often mean one week instead of four.
McBride is also an expert in the field of nutrition, studying diets for horses and managing to balance out the feed a racehorse requires to remain at peak performance.
His work over the past decade has seen the 37-year-old build a reputation as a trailblazer, not unlike his mentor Percy Sykes four decades ago.
McBride is proud of his work and the relentless study he’s undertaken to create a catalogue of racing experiments.
“I’m really an equine consultancy firm that studies training regimes, heart rates and bloods in racehorses for years,” he said.