Ladies and Gentleman, this next stable I’m about to introduce is a fan favorite and his stable was founded 23rd Jun 2012. Behind the scenes his contribution and dedication to the game is limitless. He is a 20 time World Cup winner, a 16 time Regional Cup winner, and a slew of league wins and top 5 finishes. This stable is also known for producing one of the fastest and best sprinter the game has ever witness in Dark Design. He is a class act and if you ever had a chance to speak to him you would know he is very comical gent.
Without further ado let’s give a BIG TK Nuts warm welcome to the man I nicknamed the “Boogie Woogie Man” from Woogle Wood Stables, give it up to the one and only!
Q – How did you come across TK?
- I’ve always loved horseracing, since a kid. One day I was bored for a whole 5 minutes, so I just typed ‘free online horse racing game’ into Google, had a wee look at a few, and decided to give this one a shot.
Q – Any particular reason you named your stable Woogle Wood?
- The ‘Woogle’ part came from my player name Superwoogie; plus I wanted a pastoral type of name – e.g. wood, fields, meadows, etc. – and the use of alliteration and assonance was an added bonus. As for ‘Superwoogie’? It was one of many pet names I had for my son when he was a toddler; I picked something random and silly because I honestly thought that when I signed up I would probably not be back after 15 minutes of having a look. Four and a half years later…
Q – You started the game in 2012, do you still remember your first race?
- Probably Be My Valentine, a starter horse, in a C4 league race at Glasgow Clyde. I still have a soft spot for her, and I’ll name a foal in her honour one day.
Q – If you could start over, what would you do differently?
- Not a lot really; when I started, I read and re-read a lot, so avoided most newbie errors – kept solvent, avoided breeding, etc. The one thing I missed was checking the best distances for racing styles, and started a few styled horses training at the wrong distance, though corrected this later.
Q – Biggest influence on you early on – stable that you looked up to?
- No real influences. There were a lot of great stables that I respected, many of whom I became good friends with and still am to this day. Really, I wanted to do as much as I could on my own, and there is so much information available to read for TKers– though I asked for advice when I was super stuck. The stable I looked up to the most, in wanting to be as good as them, was Wiseblade’s Prancing Winners, and Lincoln was a top chap (even if sometimes his advice was, like Confucius, a little cryptic!).
Q – As one of the older stables in TK, what would be your words of wisdom to newer stables or older ones who haven’t had some degree of success and are disappointed with their stables??
- Read everything and plan, plan, plan. It is a strategy game, planning is key, and there is so much information out there to help you. The real time nature of the game gives you the time to do so; and any success as a result of planning is sweeter.
Q – How did you become a Mod?
- I received a PM from HB. It was a total bolt from the blue. He said that I had been recommended, especially by Ersins. Despite this, I still speak to Ersins today.
Q – You still enjoying it?
- Mostly, yes. There’s enough to do, though a lot of the work goes unnoticed, hopefully like a decent football referee should go unnoticed. It can be a thankless job at times, and some of the criticism can irk you as there is only so much you can say back – i.e. nothing! – but most players know that, and you’d like to hope that most adults can police their own behaviour.
Q – Your first world cup is always special, tell us about your first winner Dark Design?
- Dark Design won the 2yo Breeders Cup Sprint. She didn’t have the best OR in the race (she was born a 4), but her win showed me a lot about stats balance and relying on best times (not perceived wisdom) to set RIs.
Q – Any other memorable races that stands out for you?
- Dark Design’s first Sprinters Shield win. She was only 7 years old and was giving away 10OR or more to her rivals, but she romped it. Also it was the first of her record four-in-a-row of Sprinters Shield victories.
Q – How do you plan a race, do you weigh up the opposition or run your own race?
- I very much focus on my own race. It’s tough enough deciding what I need to do without second-guessing my own RIs by wrongly guessing what any rivals are going to do!
Q – Do you still get nervous before a cup final?
- Hardly ever. I don’t expect too much – there are plenty of great players in the game and there can only be one winner. I’m more hopeful than expectant.
Q – How do you celebrate a really successful day?
- Probably with a cup of tea. If I win more than one cup I might get the biscuits out. I’ll pop onto chat sometimes – the outside world just doesn’t get it. When New Terrain won the Grand Prix a few months ago I was teaching, so I logged onto TK with my phone during a break in a double period; when I saw the result I was reasonably chuffed, so I gave the pupils easy work in the second period.
Q – You are one of the foremost supporter and movers of the two and three year old apprentice series. It has been a huge success. What motivates you to support the series?
- It’s the best learning and proving ground for new stables. Many successful stables learned their trade, and many of the up-and-coming stables are learning how to race, in those races. Racing human stables is proper racing and a buzz, and the prize money is good, plus it’s the best place to develop apprentices into pro jockeys. The sponsors are a really loyal bunch, and many have become good friends in TK.
Q – Which do you consider to be the best horse you have trained to date?
- Dark Design – no surprises there I guess. She is still my favourite horse- multiple global cup winner, four Sprinters Shields and a world record to boot. If I had her now, with what I now know about jockeys and RIs, she would have won even more global cups. She might never have existed if I hadn’t been bidding on her sire Bossy Ruby on my phone at a wedding reception – plenty of pints of Guinness loosened me up to carry on bidding way past my limit for him.
Q – Which horse in your stable currently is your favorite and why??
- New Terrain – again, no surprises. He has already won four global cups out of four, and he continues to make me look less incompetent, despite what I know about epic racing being what you could write with crayon on the edge of a piece of paper.
Q – Which of your other horses do you feel would be worth following over the next couple of months?
- Spirited Away is on the edge of becoming a proper horse; and I think there are still good things to come from Smirr and Repeaterbeater.
Q – Which retired horse in the game has left the biggest impact on you?
- The one horse that I always admired was Doodah The Miracle from the long-lost Shakedown Street stable. That horse won multiple global cups over different distances and on a variety of grounds whilst at the same time giving away OR. Others have done it occasionally since, but that horse sticks out.
Q – What are your plans for the future and what is the one thing you want to achieve most in TK??
- I’d like to take New Terrain down the trail blazed by Tripp Leilani, going through the age restricted epic cups and then multiple TKO’s and TKM’s; plus breed another good 2yo sprinter for the age cups (knowing what I know now, having trained Dark Design).
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 olds?
- Plan everything – for instance, if a cup horse, identify the final you are going for and the ideal stats you want for it, then plan your training back from that point to now. Also, of course, use training track to build XP.
Q – Favorite style of horse you like to race with?
- Early Sprinters – I do ok with them; plus I like shorter races because the anti-climax and pain when inevitably running badly is over quicker.
Q – Three current horses owned by other stables that you wish you had owned, and why?
- None really. Really.
Q – Any interest in real life horse racing?
- As a fan, loads. I’ve been hooked on horse racing since I was 12. At school I once stopped a lesson and got the teacher to turn on the radio so the class could listen to the 1980 Derby; a teacher wrote in my school report that if I studied my books as much as I studied the race form in The Sporting Life I would be a straight-A student. I lived near to Ascot, Epsom, Sandown, Kempton, etc. as a child so used to go to the races a lot. I’ve been racing in Ireland, France, Hong Kong, etc. I used to make the annual pilgrimage to Longchamp for the Arc for several years. At one time I had a savings plan just to buy a racehorse– marriage and a mortgage soon put paid to that.
THOUGHTS ON THE GAME
Q – If you had to name the most important things or features in the game that have kept your interest here in TK, what would those things or features be? And, why?
- Plenty. There are lots of different angles or facets to explore – breeding, cups over all distances, league racing, etc. – and you can’t do them all; it’s extremely tough to simultaneously win global cups plus a competitive league plus breed well plus run the apprentice league, etc, etc, especially when the game (rightly imho) imposes maximum limits on training, vets hours, facilities, etc. I like planning and I love a project – and there many directions in terms of (future) projects. Plus you can never rest on your laurels. And I like the fact that it is ‘honest’ in the sense that you can’t ‘cheat reboot’ the game like PC games if you don’t like the outcome, so you deserve what you get.
Q – Old stables that you miss or you wish were still playing?
- Prancing Winners, Major Underpants, Shakedown Street.
Q – Name a few things you would like to see changed on TK?
- The incentives to train up apprentices are insufficient. Stables that train up apprentices should get first refusal when they return from holiday – i.e. a grace period of, say, 12 hours in which they are able to re-hire their apprentice before he/she hits the open market for general hire. Plus the payment to the original stable if another hires the jockey should be higher.
Q – Is there something in TK that you would want to change that would reflect something in real life horses/situations?
- Not really. Perhaps grading/grouping cup races (i.e. Grade/Group 1, 2, 3) – but I think it would be nigh-on impossible to get agreement on the criteria for doing so.
Q – What irks you the most in this game?
- Players that start bidding on a horse with 1 minute or less to go – if you want it, bid properly and stop mucking about wasting everyone’s time; most of us have real lives to live.
Q – What is the one feature of the game you cannot get your head wrapped around?
- Breeding; x + y always equals 4.
Q – Looking back at the five years you have been playing, what were the accomplishments you are most proud of?
- Proud is pushing it, lol. But I enjoyed Dark Design’s four Sprinters Shields and WR in the Fast & Furious; I also like the fact that my dual Magic Mile winning mare Pursuit Of Spring produced just two foals but both of them won Magic Miles too.
Q – Which stables do you find most difficult to beat?
- Manor Park, Angel, Ped, Captain Crusoe.
Q – What is the best advice you’ve been given in playing this game?
- Don’t assume that horse/jockey RIs that may seem contradictory are contradictory.
Q – What are the most common mistakes that you see other experienced players making? Mistakes that they may not realize, that they are making?
- Experienced players rarely make mistakes – they are still here because they have done well by not making mistakes. Though I do know a few that rely on memory and ‘feel’, which I don’t get as I record stuff like the effects of RI’s and training to lessen the chances of mucking up.
Q – What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
- I’m a high school teacher of English. Is that surprising, or just masochistic?
Q – How do you like to spend your free time?
- I like a lot of sports, and enjoy watching particularly football, NFL and horse racing, while I play golf. I like hill walking, and have racked up a fair number of long distance paths. Of course, given my job, I am a reader – I like poetry, and a lot of the classic novelists.
Q – Who in Track King is on the guest list for your ideal dinner party and why?
- Tough question, because throughout the years and with my fingers in quite a lot of TK pies I have got to know a lot of good people. Ersin is my go-to TK guy (he has helped me since the early days, is a fellow GM, and a top chap). Woody is defo up there, a constant friend from the early days; Megan and Angel, too, need to be there. Ped, Captain Crusoe, Red are all fine fellows and most welcome. My old mentor Skifam is very welcome; I never forget my friends or my debts. I would also have Manor Park, Troublemaker and Wiseblade all together – that should be entertaining. All the stand-up folk and long suffering sponsors from the App League would be very welcome too – especially Magoo, Edjer, Almo, and kOsToR. Everyone would bring a few bottle of their nations’ finest – plenty of great wine from Aus, NZ and South Africa, plus vodka from Poland and Russia. I would provide from Scotland’s wonderful larder, and some great malts. And my old mate Frankiecat would do the music – he has almost as good taste as me!
Thank you so much “Boogie Woogie Man” for taking the time to grace us with your presents and sit down with the TK Nuts Staff!