I have tried to write about this individual before and I confess, I failed, because how on earth does one condense a man of his stature into just so many words? How does one tie someone – particularly someone who means so much to so many people – to any particular word, story or description? He is funny, charming, hugely knowledgeable, a true gentlemen and – one of my favorites – and a genuine people’s person. It is the singular privilege of meeting people like him, that makes our involvement in this game so thoroughly worthwhile and I can say without reservation that he is one of my all-time favorite people on Track King.
In a game ruled by smoke and mirrors, he is wonderfully, ruthlessly honest. This is mainly because life is short and like most people, he doesn’t have time to waste, but also because in an industry which lives and dies by rumors and reputation, your name means everything. It is an attribute that has rightly earned him a reputation for absolute integrity and which makes his opinions sought by the best in the business. He is a 15 cup World title holder and a 9 time Regional cup winner. He has won many league cups and top 5 finishes from around the globe. But he is much more then all that, he is truly someone I can seriously call my friend and I hope you guys can call him the same.
Lets meet this giant………..
Without further ado let’s give a “BIG” TK Nuts warm welcome to a class act from Bristol Turk Stable:
Q – How did you find Track King?
- I was introduced by a friend at work, who was introduced by her brother. I do a lot of planning and strategy at work so she thought I’d enjoy the game. She was right of course.
Q – Were you hooked from day 1?
- Actually no. I logged in and had a look around and came back a couple of days later. I think it took me about a couple of months before things started to make sense and I started login daily. I’m not a big game player so was a surprise for me that I stayed around so long.
Q – Any particular reason you named your stable Bristol Turks?
- Well, as I mentioned I wasn’t sure if I’d be around for a long time when I was first introduced to the game so I just logged in what came to my mind first, I live in Bristol and I’m a Turk so Bristol Turks. I didn’t even bother to get a proper nick, just used my computer login.
Q – Who helped you initially?
- I got some help initially from my friend who introduced me to the game, things like hire an apprentice and don’t spend all your money. I was very slow to learn the game though, for example I think it was my 3rd Season when I first learned about the need to hire an assistant to rent out stalls…
Q – Biggest influence on you early on stable that you looked up to?
- I guess the biggest influences have been Sheepbilly, Green Cat & Big B. I had the pleasure of racing against all these guys over the years and they made it look effortless. Gopher and his sprinters were legendary already by then. And I remember Big B winning MM on a Saturday and using the same horse in the league the following Tuesday and still beating everyone. Similarly with Frankie, he used to forget to arrange travel for his jockeys and still finish top 3 in the league with an unlisted apprentice. Effortless.
Q – Who was your first winner and describe the moment as you recall it?
- I can’t say I remember the first winner to be honest.
Q – You have any interest in real life horse racing?
- Not really. I’ve been to a few races, usually trips with friends from work but not a great follower. I’m a little more interested nowadays due to the tipping competitions Stew (sk091175) runs at the Punter Paradise forum.
Q – How did you become a Mod?
- Well it was July 2011, about 16 months after I started the game and when I logged in one morning I found a message in my inbox from Hairboy asking if I’d be interested in joining the admin team. I thought it would be a good opportunity to get involved and contribute so I accepted. If you want to know exactly why he thought I’d be a good choice (or whether he has any regrets), I suggest you do an interview with him.
Q – You still enjoying it?
- Short answer is yes. The admin work here can be a mixed bag, with some lows and a lot of ups. I guess I do like the variety it brings. For me one of the attractions of TK is it never ends. There is always something to do, be it searching for a race, checking the pops on foals, re-do training/vets and so on. The great thing about GMing is that there is even more things you can do, there is always a report to follow up on or a new application to process or something potentially dodgy to investigate, it never ends.
Q – Favourite race/cup win?
- Favourite Cup win definitely is Lowe Guineas with Enter Sandman. It was a complete surprise and during the race didn’t look like Sandman was going to finish in top 10 let alone to win it. If you have a few minutes I recommend you watch it, it’s a classic (at least for me).
Q – How do you plan a race, do you weigh up the opposition or run your own race?
- I tend to focus on my horse and jockey and very rarely look at the opposition. I don’t always take notes so I tend to look at the horse/jockey combo and previous times in similar conditions (if available) and adjust as I go along. I have started to look at the opposition in the recent months so I can provide comments to the TK Nuts previews..
Q – Do you get nervous before a cup final?
- Depends, if I think it could be something I can win I do tend the get a touch nervous.
Q – How do you celebrate a really successful day?
- Ha, well often I’ll “celebrate” with friends on TK, it’s always good to talk to people in the game so they know what you’re going on about. I remember when I won Princes Pennant (my first ever cup win), I told my son about it and showed him the trophy and his reaction was “hmm, it’s not a cup, it’s a flag”. So I just talk to people in the game now.
HORSES – PRESENT AND PAST
Q – Which do you consider to be the best horse you have trained to date?
- Tough question. I’ve been lucky with a few over the years. Enter Sandman was special and Justice For All and Blitzkrieg both very good champions. But I think Master Of Puppets (MoP), who is about the retire, has been the best.
Q – You have an amazing number of good horses in your stables right now, it would be hard to choose a favorite among them I guess?
- I love MoP, and the other favourite has to be Ride The Lightning, A fast finisher (just like MoP) and has a great future I think.
Q – Do you think there has been a defining moment in your career which has really made a big difference to your life?
- Actually I do. Back in S16/17 I won an Apprentice League race with Black Night, my first homebred horse that I kept. It was the moment I thought I should do more breeding and enter more apprentice races. I think apprentice league was the biggest learning ground for me, 2 races each week over 10/11 weeks against similar caliber horses and jockeys, great opportunity to learn what works and what doesn’t.
Q – Which of your horses do you feel would be worth following over the next couple of months?
- Ride The Lightning and Rollin In The Deep, I have big plans for both.
Q – Horses that left the biggest impact on you outside your barn?
- There has been a few, difficult to narrow down. But I always admired milers so a few standouts are; Zabeel from Foss United, Sludge Beast from Stiff Competition, Wild Smokey from Troublemaker’s and Haley Princess from Woodchucker’s. An exception to the milers is Relaunch, from Angel’s Flight, great horse, cost me a couple of cup wins so far..
Q – Three current horses owned by other stables that you wish you had owned, and why?
- Right, I gotta say I’m pretty happy with what I have so I wouldn’t want to swap any of my horses but I do currently have gaps in my stable, 5yo & 8yo. So I’ll take;
- Ajax (5yo) from Captaincrusoe
- Secret Phantom from Dixon Racing
- And just for the hell of it, Relaunch (so I can win with Voodoo Child against)
Q. The horse in TK past/present that resembles your character?
- Hmm, I guess it’s difficult to relate to a horse but I’m generally calm and go about my business without fuss so maybe Seek & Destroy? Always up for a challenge, can’t win’em all but remains with potential..
Q – What are some of the goals you have?
– Short term:
- I’m in 4 cup finals this weekend, if I can snag one, that’d make me very happy.
– Long term:
- Top 5 in league + one cup is what I aim for each season. Anything more is a bonus. I’ll have a few age restricted cups next season and will go for a 2nd MM with Smoke On The Water.
Q – Is there anything you would like to share to stables who would like to try training good younger horses especially those 2 to 3 year old ones?
- A few years ago someone (I think maybe Cambo or Inca57) posted on forum saying “make sure your horse can last the distance”. I know it maybe a bit obvious but I often see young horses completely run down in races so that’d be my advice as well. If you plan to race your 2/3yo, make sure it lasts the distance.
Q – Any tips – hidden secrets?
- Secrets? I wouldn’t know. Tips, again I’m no expert. I just try to match styles and stats and see what happens.
Q – How do you decide on your season’s matings?
- Right, first I try to match styles. Then I look at the stats to see if I can match sprinter stud with a sprinter mare and long distance stud with a long distance mare and so on. I usually breed with top5 mares, just to keep things simple.
Q – What are you looking for in a stud?
- Style(s) that I want and highish (75+) OR.
Q – Has the game improved?
- Yes, definitely.
Q – If you had to name the most important things or features in the game that have kept your interest here in Track King, what would those things or features be? And, why?
- I love the fact the game never ends. I often think about the TK World when I’m idle, sometimes when I’m walking the dog or stuck in a long and boring meeting at work. I can work out my race plans, training schedule and so on, it occupies my mind.
Q – Stables on Track King that you have been impressed by?
- There are a few I’m impressed by, some have been around a while, Manorpark, Angel, Riddley, Woodchucker, so successful over such a long time. Red’s Breeding Stud, continuing to breed some of the top foals in the game, season after season. I’m also impressed by relative newcomers who are amassing cups at World & Regionals levels. Stables like Woogle Wood, Captaincrusoe & Dixon Racing.
Q – Old stables that you miss or you wish was still playing?
- I do miss my friend who introduced me to the game, and I kinda miss Doc.
Q – Which stables do you find most difficult to beat?
- Oh I have a long list of them, Manorpark probably the most obvious and to name a few more, Angel (though I used to beat him regularly in the league), Troublemaker & Woodchucker, always consistent and Frankie was a beast to beat. Oh and Captaincrusoe in HOOF – unbeatable …
Q – Name three things you would like to see changed on Track King?
- Right, here is my top 3;
- Staggered race closing times. I know we talked about this a number of times and I know it’s not straight forward for HB to do but I’d love it if he can figure out how to do this. It would be really beneficial for the global player base we have.
- One less region. I think we should close down one of the European regions – Ardennes.
- Short term jockey contracts. I think HB will introduce this in the near future, I’m looking forward to it.
On a personal level, I’d like to see the email system revamped. I’d love to be able to send emails to multiple people at the same time, great time saver for me.
Q – Is there something in Track King that you would want to change that would reflect something in real life horses/situations?
- Can’t really think of anything, maybe a colour gene? If you breed 2 x bay horses you should get a bay horse. Something like that I guess.
Q – What irks you the most in this game?
- Having to improve jockey morale, the little blighters are getting paid a fortune already and still need to be pampered to go race properly.
Q – What is one thing you wish you knew when you started the game?
- That I actually needed a mentor. There are just so many elements to this game, it’s impossible to get immediately on your own at first. I really do wish I had a mentor at start.
Q – What is the one feature of the game you cannot get your head wrapped around?
- Probably breeding
Q – What motivates you to play this game day in and day out?
- I do like the challenge. There are so many things I haven’t even looked at in the game yet, like figuring out certain styles and even race instructions. I’ve been playing for more than 6 years and I’m still learning.
Q – What is your philosophy on the racing game?
- Breed. Train. Race. Win.
Q – What is the best advice you’ve been given in playing this game?
- I’ve had lots of advice over the years, difficult to pinpoint one that is the best. I guess the single best advice is if you have a question, just ask. I know many of the top players in the game only too happy to answer questions if asked.
Q – What are the most common mistakes that you see other experienced players making? Mistakes that they may not realize that they are making?
- I don’t know if this is a mistake but I am often surprised to see people using jockeys with poor morale in cups and league racing . I don’t know maybe I put too much emphasis in this but I think most races are won (or lost ) in small margins so a jockey with AI morale should be a priority.
Q – What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
- I don’t know if people would be surprised but I moved to UK from Turkey when I was 19, initially for 6 months but then decided to stay (don’t worry, all legit and with a visa and all).
Q – How do you like to spend your free time?
- I like to relax during my free time, I love taking my dog out for walks, sometimes I have to walk away from an auction in TK because it’s dog walking time, I also like to watch sports, Football & NFL mostly.
Q – If you had the opportunity to sit down and have dinner with anyone on Track King, who would your dinner TK party guests be and why?
- There are a lot of people I’d like to meet so probably do several meets with different groups. I guess my first group would be the Admins (current and retired) Rhed, Gopher, Hairboy, Fishy, Poida, Woog, Riddley, Dan, Pedant & Foss (if we can locate him) we’d talk about all sorts of things we couldn’t discuss with other people :-). And friends (in no particular order) , Kdhmhe, Sinth, Angel, Woodchucker, Redlinekai, Captaincrusoe, Pedantic, Smoggie and TheEdge (if we can find him). A few drinks, talking about food, chillies, our horses and so on. I think we would have a great old time.
Some comments from stables about the great man…..
“If you take Hairboy out of the equation you would be hard pressed to name somebody that has done more for the game than Ersins. He’s a Gentleman, friend and brilliant competitor. His uncompromising no strings attached kindness is almost unparalleled. He’s truly awe-inspiring.”
– Reds Breeding Stud
“GM-Ersins is a great bloke, honest fair and hardworking…he’s pretty much just a decent bloke who does things the right way and I do miss chatting to him in the admin forum.”
“Ersins is a big contributer to this game! He’s a GM (thankless job!), part of the TK Nuts team which provides a news and info aspect to this game, and runs the 2yo Champions Series. And probably more…
Personally, I remember when I first proposed the idea of rescheduling some of the age restricted Cups so there was a better flow for horses who wanted to compete in more than one Cup and distance in the same season, and it got some passionate debate started! Then Ersins took the initiative to create an open dialogue for all Cup sponsors to discuss the issue in a closed forum so that direction could be gained. I can only speak from my personal opinion that this is just one example of the very considerate, thoughtful, selfless and diplomatic nature of Ersins on display.
Rock on Ersins, rock on! And nothing else matters… “
“I did not know much about Ersin until he bought one of my first trained horses, I emailed him from memory wished him well and soon after I went to race him at EASL. From there started a rivalry in short races and got to see have a few emails and see him operate he ran the show at EASL a bit like Smoggie does at GRAN he ran a tipping comp and was the heart of the place.
That was the start of knowing a person that I have since got to know fairly well the last few years, and to this day a man I highly respect as a person always found Ersin to be honest fair and true to his word also diplomatic when he needs to be and patient.
Be it playing the game being a sponsor or being a GM he try his best and no one can ask for more than that a true champion of the game in every way”
“Along with my mentor, the first person I spoke to in the game. I was just a newbie, and he didn’t know me from Adam, but he was patience, understanding and integrity personified in answering my many daft questions, and half of the reason I stuck with the game in those days. One of the best competitors in the game, and always gracious in defeat. Four years later, he is one of my very best buddies in the game, my GM better half (!), and still the same patient, understanding and honest chap I was lucky enough to meet and call a friend all those years ago.”
“Ersin and I started playing this game around the same time, literally four days apart. He was the first person I ever had any correspondence with while playing this game, how ironic. I call him my twin brother, because we were both TK birthers around the same time and I guess because both of us being newbies at the time we had something in common with us both trying to learn the game.
All I can say is there’s not enough words to truly describe this man, but here are some attributes that I highly respect and admire greatly about Ersins character:”
- Charming, has sense of humor, lighthearted
- Committed, loyal, devoted
- Considerate, caring, empathetic
- Courteous, polite
- Creative, is a problem-solver
- Fair-minded, honest, trustworthy
- Always aims to please
- Generous, giving, helpful
- Good listener, good communicator
- Very Intelligent, and conscientious
- Patient, level-headed
- People oriented, easygoing, team player
- Supportive, gracious, and more importantly a great friend
- An Extraordinary Gentleman
“Ersins is a great family man that loves to travel and give what he can to his family and others.”
“What maketh a man?
In the modern day, many traits of the “real man” have been lost, when interacting with Ersins, one realises that the “real man” still exists.
Honor, integrity, friendship, strength, independence and the refusal to stoop below one’s high standards, no matter the cost.
This is how I know Ersins, one of the best people I have met in life, never mind in our cartoon game – an asset to everyone who has the privilege to know him.”
– Dixon Racing