This gentleman we about to introduce is well known around the TK circuit, and I think he has spoken to or mentored more people on this game then anyone. If you ever had a conversation with him you will know he is funny, witty and a serious competitor. He is ranked as one of the Top 10 World Cup Leaders with a total of 25 World Cups, 8 Regional Cups and competed in some of the most toughest league races around the globe winning his fair share of titles and placing in top 5 on many occasions. Some people know him as Woody, some people know him as Gaz, but we all know him as Gary.
Let’s please give a BIG warm TK Nuts welcome to Woodchuckers Stable very own;
Q – Can you tell us a little about yourself?
- I was born in Victoria Australia, the state of sports nuts and moved to Queensland when a teenager. I am married to Christine and we have 3 boys, so have our hands full with them.
Q – How did you come across TK?
- Like others, found and discarded other games and one day by accident tripped over and saw Track King and gave it a crack and years later still having a go.
Q – Any particular reason you named your stable woodchuckers?
- I played another game and simply used the same username. I just couldn’t think of another name.
Q – You started the game in 2009, do you still remember your first race?
- I remember my first season not just the first race. My first race I ran 4th week 4 season 9 in a class 5 at East Coast in Rocky. The season was a shocker, never won a race to say I was hopeless would be kind. I was crap.
Q – What have you done to keep the passion up to play for so long and have such good success?
- Don’t stand still, if you don’t have a challenge find one, that’s what I do. Stay active don’t cop out and run in bot league – that’s a passion killer so I slog in league. I also try and chat regularly with other players – some are new and they do have an aura of being upbeat and passionate – it rubs off.
- For me I am far from the best so a passion to improve. I have always strived to be consistent and do a bit better but always remain realistic.
Q – If you could start over, what would you do differently?
- Read help files and any info I could get my hands on, instead I just piss farted around and fell over my own shadow to be honest. Another thing, asked for another mentor mine was as helpful as tits on a bull and I think was already leaving so not ideal starter to have for a poor stable making his way.
Q – How long did you take to find your feet in the game?
- Well I was broke, had shit after my first season – a smart buy at season end saw an old under 39 rated runner that helped me buy another. So made progress from class 5 through the classes, but in terms of confidence to say I found my feet and had some real confidence was when I started to beat class one stables in class 2 and 3 with my young 2 and 3yo’s.
Q – Who for you, influenced you most in the game, was it one or many and do you encourage others to seek out other players to bounce ideas, so that they might fast track their own progress?
- Inca and Raspadora, not directly but saw them winning with less and that gave me hope that I could as well. Since then, got to know both and it’s hard to find guys with more class.
- Later on, Lincoln from Prancing Winners – brilliant player – we for seasons discussed ideas & methods, some good, some not so good, but all helped with progress as a player. Would I encourage others to seek out views and opinions from others? Hell yes, get in a chat. Seek out others with a passion you may carry, it’s the best way to move forward.
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?
- For new players, or older who are struggling in the game the best thing they can do is seek out players that do well and have some success in the game.
- Ask for honest feedback and be prepared for whatever comes your way, if it’s hard to hear and you don’t agree, best look at your success rate versus theirs and think again why your asking.
Q – What is one thing you wish you knew when you started the game?
- How auctions worked and how best to get ahead by buying to advantage. I feel most newbies impulsive buy and butcher the job – I did and it nearly brought me unstuck.
Q – Your first world cup is always special, tell us about your first winner Hayley Comet?
- Well for the record Hayley Comet was a 3 on conception and was a fast popper. She ended up a 36 and I soon her listed for sale. Soon after I had an email from a player I respected and bought her back.
- From her first start she ran great and got her first cup win when I was about to turn it up in the game as after 3 years in I had just about had enough of close enough, never good enough races
- So Hayley won the Amethyst – beat a player I greatly respect in Inca, Daniel’s barn – it was a big turning point. Hayley a little 36 rater ended up huge for me.
Q – Any other memorable races that stand out for you?
- Another mudlark – Corona Star – don’t ask me how or why some horses race above their weight, but some do. Corona Star was special, never trained up like it should of, but won the Epona as a 4yo beating two muddies 10 pts higher in rating. An amazing effort and one of my all time favorite wins.
Q – How do you plan a race, do you weigh up the opposition or run your own race?
- Depends on style. For a competitive, field comes into play, for a natural champion, fast finisher, muddie for example, it doesn’t – you run your own race and let the cards fall how ever they might.
Q – Do you still get nervous before a cup final?
- Hell yes I shit bricks if I am a serious chance. Once against Manor Park I think I nearly gave birth, that’s the rush of a win in a cartoon game. You can imagine at the birth of my sons I was lucky to be in a hospital I was so nervous.
Q – How do you celebrate a really successful day?
- I am a non drinker really and don’t smoke so no cigar. Either way, I celebrate in a quiet fashion.
- For me watch 12 times enjoy the moment with cold drink and let the blood pressure lower after a touch of stress.
Q – You have raced in over 5000 races, how do you manage IP?
- Well IP is certainly no friend of mine that’s for sure. I certainly race a bit and had many a knocks and injuries. I learned a long time ago that there is no quick fix, it’s a case of patience, even when a horse is fully fit, I find it best to wait another few days before racing as sub-levels we can’t see. It’s so easy to race too soon and the horse shits itself again, so patience is the only answer to beating IP.
Q – Which do you consider to be the best horse you have trained to date?
- From the start probably Starzipper as she raced age cups sprint and short ran into Manor Park champion. At 7yo Starzipper changed to medium and then went on to win a number of cups including world cups. That for me was a great effort I thought.
Q – Which horse in your stable currently is your favorite and why?
- Steele Starz – I bred him, trained him, and he has always done me proud. May not be the best I’ve trained nor the highest rated, but he always gives his best.
Q – Which of your other horses do you feel would be worth following over the next couple of months?
- A few; Havana Starz is starting to shine and I have high hopes on Canistarz and Hercules. The road ahead is tough, so high hopes they do the stable proud.
Q – Which retired horses in the game have left the biggest impact on you?
- Hayley Comet got the stable moving in world cups and gave me confidence that I could play the game, if not for her, Starzipper wouldn’t have been what she was. Steele Starz was my first champ as a stayer, that in turn helped me with Lunastarz. These four are special in my book.
Q – What are your plans for the future and what is the one thing you want to achieve most in TK?
- Improve. Pretty simple really, try and produce more cup winners – easier said than done as lets face it, there is no shortage of good players training top horses. Lastly, improve my win loss record against what the game views as elite – that would be nice.
Q – Is there anything you would like to share with stables who would like to try training good younger horses especially those 2 to 3 year olds?
- Buy balanced 2yo in stats, don’t get 2yo that have a bad stat or two, it just handicaps the training as you’re forever playing catch up trying to improve bad stats .
- Buy a decent 2yo with a decent rating they don’t need to be 40 or more, 37, 38 can certainly be trained into top horses. Play your cards right, the training into the 3yo season is easier, just limit the amount of races so early benefits are there when horses are fit for training.
Q – Favorite style of horse you like to race with?
- I think like everyone, the easiest to train and race – natural champion, mudlark and competitive.
Q – Three current horses owned by other stables that you wish you had owned, and why?
- Secret Agenda – who would not want a stayer that breaks world records every time it starts?
- Poseidon for the same reason – he will likely break every long record on slow I would say.
- Manor Park’s 3yo Bigger Rolly looks special – I would take that with no hesitation.
- New Terrain is an outstanding stayer – looks top class and will break many more records.
Q – Any interest in real life horse racing?
- I don’t own any racehorses but certainly love the history of racing and watching the carnivals as they pop up. To see Winx currently go around is a treat, also others from around the world producing special performances is great.
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?
- TK Chat – for a long time it’s been a big positive a feature added that has seen a number of players come through, learn and improve to be world cup winners and good players.
- I think forums are another good feature. I think plenty learnt a lot and spoken about a number of subjects so it’s a good feature we all can use and learn from.
Q – Old stables that you miss or you wish were still playing?
- Prancing Winners stables as he barely plays, I miss his chat. Also captainunderpants was a smart and a funny man, I even miss old grumpy pants trevor and rissoles, a good man who helped out early on.
Q – Name a few things you would like to see changed on TK?
- May seem basic, but the top 50 lists are so out of date. Why not start over and have top 50 lists for world cups, regionals and local cups – stuff that players in fact participate in.
- Maybe a super league like the soccer premier league where the top 25 league stables race. Relegate the bottom 5 back to current leagues and have prizemoney to match. The only way forward into it is to run the most populated leagues.
Q – Is there something in TK that you would want to change that would reflect something in real life horses/situations?
- COSTS – you can’t tell me a horse costs 26k a week for a stall, 6k a hour in vet and similar in training. If that was the case, we would see no racing.
- Maybe bring in group ratings; world cups group one, regionals group two and locals listed, something like that.
Q – How do you view Track King cups? Are some world cups clearly better than others?
- I do, sprint cups dam hard as most run sprinters so the depth can run deeper. To win an Ascot or a Sprintstar is very much hard earned – it was for me.
Q – What irks you the most in this game?
- That such a great game does not have more players, it’s a brilliant game. More players would mean more money and changes like 3D racing, fuller leagues and more competition.
Q – What is the one feature of the game you cannot get your head wrapped around?
- Training track. I am as good at that as I am knitting a jumper or my computer – it’s all too hard.
Q – Looking back at the years you have been playing, what were the accomplishments you are most proud of?
- Winning East Lancashire Class 1, when full of great players such as Green Cat, Bristol Turks, Gopher and others were racing – a true indicator that I could win a top league.
- Beating Manor Park in marbles would be great, he is so competitive. So, winning the Aussie Epic with Karaka Starz against Patrobas was a big highlight.
- Winning my first cup in the Amethyst against Inca, for those that don’t know, Daniel’s stable is awesome with muddies, so a win is well earned.
- That I have been a mentor and been able to help players kick off their journey in the game .
- In general, helped a lot of players in the game in all facets, new and old, to improve and enjoy playing. then go on and win many races and some cups.
Q – Which Stables do you find most difficult to beat?
- Manor Park easy dohhhhhhhhhhhhh, hell no, bloody beaten me so much I have his horses hoof marks with MP embedded on my forehead. Inca knows no other way than to compete, Angel’s Flight the same.
Q – You’ve been in the game a long time at this point, seen many players come and go, which players do you think have had the most impact on the game in various ways in that time?
- Hareeba and Rhed – if not for their early input with creating their brilliant cups, the game may not have even got this far. Both contributed in other ways to the game as well – I thank them for that.
- Ersins and Woog – these men give so much, I admire both so much. Both have families and work their backsides off to support them. They are GM’s here and put up with a lot of shit. Add to that, they both sponsor multiple cups and both huge contributors, we all need to thank them.
- Angel set up the triple crown. He put his money in with his alliance group and have to thank him as it’s made the game better, along with all who sponsor.
- GM’s made a difference. Certainly like, dislike, all have at one point done more good than harm .
- Nuts site – Pedantic for setting it up and captaincrusoe for driving the nuts site – what a champion guy to make our experience better.
- To all these people we should give thanks.
Q – Over the years, how have you seen the game evolve and what are the biggest differences today compared to 4 years ago?
- Well not sure about the last 4 years but in my time playing;
- Nerfed styles like muddie, competitive, early sprinter.
- Nerfed other areas such as;
- Training Track
- Limited cup entries for the better
- Added epic to league
- Many more cups now
- Local cups
- Regionals added to the death valley of week 12 and 0
- Increased prizemoney with jockey bonus
Q – What is the best advice you’ve been given in playing this game?
- BUILD A BASE, no stable is any good building a strong base on quicksand.
Q – What are the most common mistakes that you see other experienced players making? Mistakes that they may not realize, that they are making?
- Those that may struggle don’t even realize they are making repeat mistakes, be that poor choice of 2yo, or horses they buy as well as training and how they race.
- This does not apply to them all and they’re not Robinson Crusoe, as all stables make a bad choice or a poor decision.
Q – What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
- I played the drums at school and walked 20kms in a day – 10 to play a game of cricket and 10 home – to say I was legless would be an understatement.
Q – How do you like to spend your free time?
- I have a wife I enjoy spending time with and 3 boys that keep me moving, so that’s time well spent.
Q – Who in Track King is on the guest list for your ideal dinner party and why?
- I don’t know many players, or do I? Well, probably rent a venue out and invite plenty as I like so many and they know who they are.
- Being a family man, a dinner for 2 with my wife would be awesome as for us its always plus 3.
Thank you so much Woody for taking the time out to sit down with the NUTS!