Group One winning trainer, Lloyd Kennewell was once known as the youngest trainer in Australia. His confidence and his passion for training his pupils to win at the highest levels is unmatched.
In Spanish ‘pegarse la vidorra’ means to live a good life, which is exactly the opposite of life for the hard-working trainer who started working for top trainers at the young age of sixteen.
The indubitable and enterprising trainer speaks to Ten Furlongs as he plots his course to international raids from his new base in Caulfield, Melbourne:
Q: So young and yet so far! Is this your first trip outside Australia with Viddora? What would winning on Dubai World Cup night mean to you?
A: It would be huge for me and my family. It would be absolutely sensational!
Q: You have just moved to Melbourne; please tell us a bit more about your new facilities.
A: We are based in Melbourne now at the Caulfield Stables. We have a very historical barn which has been around for about 70-80 years.
Q: Do you have any concerns at this stage?
A: At this point, we would see that the horse travels well and races to the best of her ability. That's the most important thing for her at this point.
Q: When you ship Viddora and when are you expected to land yourself?
A: Viddora departs on the 18th of March and I leave on the 23rd or 24th of March
Q: What are your future plans for Viddora?
A: She's already a 6YO. We want to see what she can do on the world stage and what “We” can do with her on the world stage.
Q: Who owns Viddora?
A: She is owned by a syndicate with about 40 owners. We expect 10-15 owners to be in Dubai around from the 27th of March onwards. It should be a very exciting trip for the connections.
Q: Who is your racing leadership hero?
A: I guess it will be my dad. I have worked for my dad most of my life his name is Gary Kennewell. He will be in Dubai with me. He arrives there before me to make sure that Viddora lands safely. I started winning the early years I have worked for Bart Cummings and Colin Hayes.
I was traveling with horses from the age of 16 onwards. From a very young age, I decided that I wanted to be a trainer and I haven’t looked back since.
Q: What's on your bucket list?
A: We have just moved to Melbourne. It’s a big-state in a very competitive industry.
We just outbid Godolphin at the Magic Millions Gold Coast sale in January to purchase the highest priced yearling forA$1.7 million.
We are hoping to get some big race winners in the next few years. One of the big races on my list to win is the Blue Diamond.
Q: What was the first leadership lesson you learned in racing? How would you design a truly commercial horse, if you had a way to do so?
A: Australian horses are built for speed. About 80% of the horses sold are bred for speed and only about 20% who are stayers.
For me, I look for an athlete with a good conformation and a kind eye. I look for an intelligent looking horse. The pedigree comes afterward it determines what price we would like to pay for the horse.
When we go to the sales, I look at most of the horses myself. But I do get someone to do the blood-work for me.
Q: Trust, teamwork, and respect. How valuable do you think these terms are for you as a trainer?
A: We have to trust & respect the people that we work with it work with. We need them around 24×7. This helps good decisions flow through the right channels and ensures good systems are in place for the best returns.
Q: Which was the first Group One race you entered and what do remember from that ‘skirmish’ and what do you remember from the time you win the Winter bottom stakes with Viddora?
A: The first Group One race we entered into, we lost because of bad rain. But we had interred in the group one race in Adelaide but we did not win their trace because of a bit of rain but the experience left me determined to win my next Group One race. Which we did!
It was a lot of blood sweat and tears for the whole team but we won because of the great team and the trust I had in my own judgment.
Q: Tell us about Viddora and your history with her.
A: I purchased Viddora at the Magic Millions Adelaide sales for A$40,000. I went to the sale to buy a horse by a sire I was following. That sire was I Am Invincible.
At the time he was a new sire and Viddora was from his 2nd crop. She is now in the twilight of a career. It’s her last season and we planned to keep her travelling this year until she is brought by a farm to breed.
Q: Will you be looking to try and get Viddora into the Everest this year?
A: We won’t be taking her to the Everest again this year. Unfortunately, last year the wet track affected her chances badly.
Q: And finally, what or who inspires you to struggle continuously and raise the bar?
A: Who inspires me? Myself. I’m very driven to succeed. I want the greatest results I can achieve for myself and for everyone involved.