This man need no introduction, if anyone ever played Track King, you would know that this gentleman name is synonymous with winning and the Track King history books forever. He is a pioneer, a true trailblazer, and when mention the name Track King, he is the “KING” on the track. Listen to these stats folks, and tell me if they don’t blow your mind. The stable was founded on Feb 20th 2009. He has amassed a total of 141 World Cups, 42 Regional Cups, and a abundance of League Championship Trophies at some of the toughest leagues tracks assembled. This stable has produced some of the greatest champions ever to grace Track King, just to name a few like Patrobas, Triple Crown Champion Kingsman, Tripp Leilani, the great Novus Propinquo, Peppa Pig, Heisenburg, and we can just go on, and on, about just how special he has been in his legendary racing career in breeding, training, racing, you just name it, and he has accomplished it.
So with out further ado, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, I present to you the man I call “THE MOST DOMINANT” Lets’ give a BIG warm TK Nuts welcome to the one and only;
Q – Can you tell us a little about yourself?
- Father to a 15 month old little terror who runs rings around us every day. Work in the engineering industry, nothing too exciting there as it’s mainly to do with building services. Lived in the UK for around 27 years before relocating to Brisbane, Australia some 12-13 years ago now.
Q – How did you come across TK?
- I think I first saw the game mentioned in another online game I played, Soccer manager. Had always had an interest in horse racing since spending many Saturdays watching the races with my Grandfather as a kid and going to the local track with an uncle.
Q – Any particular reason you named your stable Manor Park Stud?
- Actually the name comes from a local pub we had, the Sherwood Manor. I think the Park part was just tact on as Manor Stud didn’t have much of a ring to it.
Q – You started the game in 2009, do you still remember your first race?
- Now this is testing the old grey matter. I think it was a C5 race at Adelaide as that seemed to be the place to be back then for league racing. I finished something like 4thor 5thwith an app, was only up against one or two human players in the league at that time so managed to lose to bots.
Q – If you could start over, what would you do differently?
- Probably enter World cups more often than I did as when I first started out it was all about winning the league and getting to C1 to challenge for league honours there. So I rarely entered them for some reason, did finish 2nd as a C4 stable in the Ascot Vale, lost to a muddie in the wet with an unstyled sprinter. Mind you from memory back then there were only 5-6 World cups in total.
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?“
- Initially there is no doubt it was a player named Pengo who at the time was one of the better players in game, was lucky to get him as a mentor. Best piece of advice he ever gave me was to just have TS at the end of a race. Then add another somewhere to its next race and see the difference it made. So I spent some 3-4 seasons just testing out RI’s constantly in stakes races.
- Then it evolved to watching the successful stables and seeing what they did in the big races, RAT is a very valuable tool when working out what others are doing.
- No doubt there are plenty of players out there who’ll help you if you contact them. The likes of Inca, Gavstar, Pedantic, Captain, Woodchucker and Smoggie to name but a few will help guide you and give you tips on where you might improve. There are various chat rooms you can use where people are generally very helpful, these can help you get up to speed in no time.
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??
- A horses life cycle so to speak only lasts 9 seasons. After that we all reset and go again. Who’s to say it isn’t your turn to have one of the all time great horses, just got to give it a try. You might not have had the success instantly you’d have hoped but with time and experience comes greater knowledge of what went wrong etc and where you can improve.
Q – What is one thing you wish you knew when you started the game?
- The betting bug. Had no idea it existed until after it got fixed. Just don’t have the time now to be trying to bump up the personal finances. Would have been great to have banked a few hundred million back then.
Q – Your first world cup is always special, tells us about your first winner Navaho Sorry?
- I already had a long runner who I had set out to run in this cup but then realised there was a mudlark who I felt was way too good for it. Navaho Sorry, rated around 73-74OR NC, was listed for sale near the end of the season and at that time the stable was making between $1-2m a week so decided the $500k purchase price was worth paying to have a shot at it. Navaho pipped the mudlark by less than .1 at the finish, think the heavy ground also helped.
Q – Any other memorable races that stands out for you?
- My first TKO win. James Bond was an unstyled 49OR 4yo plodder when I bought him from memory. Decided to have a crack at epics as hadn’t trained a horse at the distance yet. He went on to win classic cups in classes 5, 4, 2 and 1 and then the big break through came in his last TKO final against Frankie, Foss and a number of Zonic stables. Remember watching the race and not believing that I’d finally turned the tables on some of the greats. Then in his final race we fronted up to the Masters and finished 4th in what to me is the greatest ever field of epic runners assembled in one race. You had 90OR+ TKO winners finishing 8th, the whole epic scene was something special back then.
Q – How do you plan a race, do you weigh up the opposition or run your own race?
- I used to weigh up opposition and try work out how they would run the race and try and tailor my tactics to suit. After a while and some real disasters I realised I was better off just running my own race and letting others worry about me, eventually.
Q – Do you still get nervous before a cup final?
- The odd time I do still, I used to all the time but it definitely calmed down over the years as don’t take it so seriously now. Amazing how a game can seem to get you hooked like this one managed and for so long, HB has to be applauded for that and what he has created here.
Q – How do you celebrate a really successful day?
- End of the day I like to sit down with a beer or glass of wine and reflect on that days events, if particularly bad then 2 or 3 glasses might be needed.
Q – To what do you most attribute your success?
- Research and patience. Back when I started I was always experimenting, reviewing races, reviewing others races with RAT. The first year or so I probably watched more races of others than my own.
Q – What would you say are the five keys elements for starting and running a successful stable?
- Planning – Failing to plan is planning to fail. Make a target however great it is and have a go as you never know what you might achieve.
- Patience – Rome wasn’t built in a day. We all started off at the bottom of the barrel. Took me 2 years to win my first WC after many failures. Once you get that conveyor belt of youngsters going the rest takes care of itself. These days with the number of cups around it wont take anywhere near as long as that to be a contender if done right.
- Experiment – Stakes races are fantastic places to test out new instructions. Not all horses in your stable are in training so the stats never change. Test instructions out from one stakes race to the next with these horses and see the difference in each performance.
- Sacrifice – Not all horses can be trained. Most the top players only train 5-6 horses at any time and then the rest of the stable is made up of stakes runners. Too often you see players placing 4-6hrs on most the horses in their stable. You’ll just end up with mediocre horses that way.
- Resilience – Be prepared for the losses as we all have them, just makes the wins that much better. There’s usually a reason for it, review the race, check RAT etc as you’ll eventually see what went wrong.
Q – Which do you consider to be the best horse you have trained to date?
- Probably Patrobas, just. To have the ability he had over 2 distances is rare. Started out as a long runner who developed as he got older into a great epic horse. To be involved in the fastest ever long race was crazy to watch even in finishing 3rd. To break 64km in longs and go close to that in epic races, not many have come close to achieving that. Sadly missed out on a triple crown by a whisker, were the final another 20m but that’s the beauty of the game. Been many what ifs?
Q – Which horse in your stable currently is your favourite and why?
- At the moment Bigger Rolly. Following in his sires, Kingsman, footsteps and looking very promising as a medium runner. Shame he’s a mudlark as means his open cup chances are hindered a bit. His half brother Ted Pickens isn’t far behind now I’ve got his stats where I want them. Shaping up to be a very nice long runner, will stick solely to that distance as don’t have the time to build his epic xp.
Q – Which of your other horses do you feel would be worth following over the next couple of months?
- Foudre I bought in to get some new blood into the stable, am hoping he might finally prove shorts isn’t my downfall but am up against some great competition this cycle.
Q – Which retired horses in the game has left the biggest impact on you?
- That I owned it would be Novus Propinquo. To win World cups over the 3 distances like he did was amazing to see. To beat 6yo sprinters with a medium distance horse with 12xp in distance, you’d come near last were you try that now I’d imagine.
- Owned by someone else it’d be Pockets, a comp epic runner from Chenko. It was near unbeatable over epics when that was by far the most competitive distance in game. Also showed me what was possible with the style as so many didn’t like the comp style for the distance.
Q – What are your plans for the future and what is the one thing you want to achieve most in TK??
- I don’t really have any immediate plans in game at the moment, last few seasons have been a bit quiet as everything has taken a back seat to my son. Recently works been busier than ever and the last 8-10 months have been trying to get plans in place to build our future home. So expect the next 8-10 months to be busier than ever.
- Think the one thing I will try before calling it a day in game is train a fast finisher sprinter up to have a go at the sprint records. If you see me doing that it will be a signal the end is nigh.
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?
- Make sure you give the youngsters as many hours of training as possible. If wanting to compete in the WC’s then you really need 10-12hrs on any 2-6yo. Know people are not fans of the impact of training track but you can get away with using it once a week and still be very competitive.
- Stats balance is key like with any horse, you can have the best jockey in game but if you have things out of whack you wont be factoring. HOF is a good place to look at older horses as there’ll be some alignment still there to their stats especially with the training nerf. You’ll see which stats are key for each distance.
Q – Favourite style of horse you like to race with?
- Competitive no doubt. Find them the easiest to work with as can compete in most ground conditions.
Q – Three horses still racing owned by other stables that you wish you had owned, and why?
- Brainteaser – it’s a hard one to pick between BT and Crows Addie Over Sofa but when one of the best 2yo horses ever listed for sale stats wise is paired with one of the best players the games seen means heart ache for everyone else. Will keep on trying to beat him but don’t fancy my chances anytime soon, best chance might be as an older horse but we’ll see.
- Captain’s Quest – Short distance is probably the weakest I race, had some success with mudlarks at the distance but not much else. Horse has just about won it all and looks like adding many more cups to the cabinet.
- Dora Milaje – If the domination continues of the age restricted epic cups into the open age scene this horse could run up a serious total of cup wins by the time retirement comes around. Gave me a massive scare over longs in the SYT over unfavourable distance so the horse has great ability.
Q – Any interest in real life horse racing?
- Yeah from an early age always had an interest in both flat racing and the jumps. Probably don’t watch as much of it these days as I used to but if there’s a big carnival on at the weekend will tune in if I get chance or watch Royal Ascot or Cheltenham online.
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?
- Probably some of the people that have been and gone. Had a really good laugh with players over the years. Game wise you can think you have everything perfect for the race and then the wheels fall off, trying to work out what happened is the real fun behind it. Sometimes though you have no idea, that’s the beauty of the game. Nobody has all the answers.
Q – Old stables that you miss or you wish were still playing?
- Pengo my old mentor. Aquananu, he seemed to leave just as he reached the top of the game. Was a brilliant player, the best of those to come out of Adelaide which was the strongest track in game at that time. Been a few leave recently who looked destined to be really good top players and add to the quality of WC fields, likes of Force and Kazana. Real shame we never got to see just how good these kind of players were as imagine they’d have pushed the bar that bit higher.
Q – Name a few things you would like to see changed on TK?
- Signing window of ex-apps, 12hrs min, amount of work players put into them training them up they should see some benefit when they finally turn pro.
- Probably a reduction in the number of classes, possibly regions. Does seem far too many tracks for the number of players we have, with that though you’d likely lose some players who enjoy racing on their own so it’s a fine line.
- Probably increase the number of starter horses for new players to increase the racing for them when they begin. They need to get hooked early if they’re likely to hang around. Also give them credits to rename their starter horses.
- 3D race viewer would be great.
- World cup final gate positions being decided by heat qualifying times. This way you’re rewarded for going harder in the heats, at the moment you can pretty much walk some of them. Plus it means it’s not fastest finger first come race opening times.
Q – Is there something in TK that you would want to change that would reflect something in real life horses/situations?
- Like career ending injuries? I’m not sure any of us would be ready for that. Dropping $10m on that nice little 2yo, second race into its career it breaks a leg. I wouldn’t fancy seeing anything like that come into the game although do recall it being proposed at one point.
Q – What irks you the most in this game?
- Jockeys just paying no attention sometimes to instructions. I’ll be sat there watching the race and be thinking did I actually set any ri’s for this race, that has been the case once or twice but more often than not it’s just the jockey doing as they please.
Q – What is the one feature of the game you cannot get your head wrapped around?
- Breeding. No idea what is the special ingredient some have but I seem to get way too many mutations for my liking. Had some top foals the last few seasons all come out unstyled, I almost dread foaling day more than look forward to it.
Q – Looking back at the years you have been playing, what were the accomplishments you are most proud of?
- Back when I first started playing the game was all about winning C1 titles for me at Lowe while still challenging for the few WC’s we had available, over the years as more and more WC’s were setup my focus changed. Winning the triple crown the same day as Angel was a great feeling. For it to never to be done and then all of a sudden fall twice on the same day was pretty funny. Also winning the Masters 4 times with the same horse was something special, Tripp Leilani. I couldn’t see anything matching the previous best of 3 titles so to go one better was great.
Q – Which stables do you find most difficult to beat?
- Probably the one I’m racing most lately is Pedantic. He’s up there with the best players to have played the game so while it’s not been great losing to him there’s no shame in it.I actually enjoy the rivalries as it keeps the game interesting.
- Had some great battles with a number of players over the years who are still around. Angels always tough to beat as you know you need things to work out perfectly to pick up the win, Captain is currently the form stable in game it seems as any time there’s a cup weekend he seems to be picking up a trophy or two. Trydon07 has trained some great horses over the last few years too. Hate trying to make lists like this as you always forget someone, there are plenty of great players in game who can all beat you on their day.
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 for sure. Amount he has put into the game over the years setting up some of the most prominent cups in the game for everyone to enjoy.
- The Alliance. Again not just the cup sponsorship but then the website including previews and interviews etc. Really is a huge amount of work involved in those as a few of us found out when we tried doing them years ago.
- Hate to say it but Zonic. Showed the importance of xp as until he started churning out the 3yo’s with 20xp in distance nobody really cared too much about it. Next thing we knew everyone was following suit or attempting to.
- Red with Sir Lancelot as breeding wasn’t a huge part of the game until he came on the scene. Riddley had Jobim who was a bit older from memory but SL took it to another level. All of a sudden stud prices were going for $2-4m a time, foals were being sold for $10-15m a pop, it really was crazy to see.
Q – What is the best advice you’ve been given in playing this game?
- Patience is huge in this game. Watch what the successful stables are doing in the big races, review RAT to see the differences in instructions. Experiment with your own instructions in stakes races, compare speeds etc when changes are made. Train youngsters from 2-6 with as many hours as you can spare, 10hrs minimum. If you don’t succeed the first time, try try try again. None of us won a cup at the first effort, most took a good 15-20 efforts to come close. If you need any advice mail one of the older players, generally they’d be happy to help out.
Q – What are the most common mistakes that you see other experienced players making? Mistakes that they may not realize, that they are making?
- Sometimes top speed all the way isn’t the quickest way to the finish line.
Q – What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
- I once beat a future European 800m athletic champion at an inter schools meeting. Sadly when the running clubs came asking about training properly the idea of taking it seriously and doing so in my free time wasn’t for me. What might have been!
Q – How do you like to spend your free time?
- These days it’s purely dedicated to my son, plenty of reading books, any of the Pig the pug series I can pretty much recite from memory. We make sure there’s no use of mobiles, computers or tv when he is up so he gets our full attention whether its wanted or not. Any free time I do get I either spend it drawing, something I’ve always done since young or researching some new gadget to install in our new home which is being built soon, then I realise the cost implications so scrap that and move onto something else. Do still get the odd night out so like to make the most of those, end up suffering for it the next day and then some.
Thank you Paul for taking the time to sit down and interview with TK Nuts it’s been an honor!