60 Seconds with Janelle Millar

26 May 2021

We caught up with New Plymouth based trainer Janelle Millar and lucky for us, she gave us a little longer than 60 seconds! 

What made you want to pursue a career in racing?

I fell in love with horses and the racing game thanks to my Grandfather, Jack Taylor. He was the trainer of many top-class gallopers including Kingdom Bay, Greek Meer, Walksfar, Kinesis King, Spring Moss and Lord Majestic among others. Some of my fondest childhood memories were hanging out at his stables. Once I had it in my blood and got to see the highs of racing and the bond that is developed with a horse, I was hooked for life.

What has been a career highlight for you?

Probably winning the Group 3 Cuddle Stakes with Tinkalicious. She was such an honest horse who never ran a bad race. We had a great bond, she always knew how to put me in a good mood. I used to be able to read her mind sometimes as she was quite quirky. It was wonderful for her to get a fitting send off as her career was hampered with bad luck. I was very fortunate to lease her from Sam at Little Avondale stud for a great group of loyal owners. I am just guttered her big win was right before lockdown and she never got a shot at a Group 1!

Do you have a favourite horse you’ve trained?

That’s a tough one, but Just The Tip was my first stakes winner. He holds a special place in my heart. He gave me my first shot at the big time and showed me I can train a top horse and to back my judgement.  As a young trainer it gave me a lot of confidence.  

Is there a trainer you look up to?

All trainers who consistently turn out winners but in particular Nigel and Lee Tiley who are very astute judges of a horse and have been there and done everything in the game. Gai Waterhouse also brings a lot of colour to racing.

Favourite New Zealand track?

New Plymouth Raceway and Trentham Racecourse.  

What is the best piece of advice you’ve received?

Let the horse tell you when they are ready and to keep on learning and evolving as a trainer and as a stable. I am fortunate to have a lot of top trainers I can seek advice from whether it’s Nigel Tiley or Allan Sharrock. I also like conducting my own research from around the world.

If you weren’t in racing, what would your job be?

Veterinary as I love working with animals.

When you're not working, what do you spend your time doing?

Following my kids around with their sport.  They seem to play every sport under the sun, so it’s very busy outside of racing!

If you could switch lives with someone for the day, who would it be?

Jacinda Arden so I can try and get more support for racing from the government.  Many people don’t appreciate how much racing contributes to the economy and how much we love our horses.

If you could invite three people to dinner, living or dead, who would you invite?

Laura Langman, Bart Cummings and Grandad Jack Taylor, I would give anything to have dinner and a rum again, he always made the world a lot more positive.

Favourite TV show?  

Shortland Street (don’t judge me!). I think it’s habit more than anything.

What’s one thing people would be surprised to know about you?

I have travelled to many different countries and worked in several top stables before starting my career here in New Zealand. I like to think I have taken some of the best ideas and techniques from around the world and utilised them here.

What do you love most about racing?

Winning, the great characters that are involved and getting to share my love of horses and racing with others.  

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