The lessons Brett Grant learnt in Jack Denham's school of hard knocks have stood him in good stead. The former trackwork rider has applied his philosophy of not wanting to be on the slow ones to his job as a jockey manager.
While he is one of the faceless men behind the top riders, like a Labor Party powerbroker, his influence was clearly seen as Nash Rawiller charged to Sydney jockeys' premiership.
''Brett's been amazing [since taking over]," Rawiller said after riding his third set of four winners in a day in the past month at Randwick last weekend.
"[My wife] Sarah was doing a tremendous job but Brett's so particular with everything. Even if I'm going to Wyong on a Tuesday or Thursday he'll ring and let me know things, like carry the whip in the left hand and that.''
Jockey managers take 10 per cent of earnings from their hoops; Grant's men include Christian Reith and apprentice Yusuke Ichikawa, but it is the one-percenter that make the difference for Grant's jockeys.
"He is different to any manager I have had,'' Reith said. ''A lot of my success has come because of him. He is more of a mentor.''
Grant has ridden, as an apprentice he got his claim down to 1.5 kilograms and while at Denham's he became the No. 1 trackrider and knew it was a serious job. "I worked out pretty quickly the stable liked getting a quid and if you didn't take what you did seriously you would be on scrubbers,'' Grant said. "I had 11 years at Jack's and got to ride a lot of good horses, even a champion.''
Grant was Might And Power's companion in the mornings but you can only ride for so long and he went into jockey management and did the form. He has built a vast CD library of races and works on a couple of principles.
"Times are a great tool, very important, but they change because of conditions and bias,'' he said. "The eye doesn't lie, when you watch a race you can see things.''
It is those moments he picks up from video that he passes on to his jockeys. Like a Wayne Bennett or Phil Gould, Grant has the knack of getting the best out of his men and each of them provide a different challenge.
Rawiller often gets a choice of rides and Grant's job is to sort out the right one. As the premier jockey pointed out "since Brett has been doing my rides I have been riding more longer-priced winners. That doesn't come because of chance.''
On Saturday, Rawiller has a full book at Rosehill, including Whittington for Gai Waterhouse in the San Domenico Stakes and also Charing Cross for Tulloch Lodge, where he remains the No. 1 rider.
Then there are three for Chris Waller - the promising Champagne Cath, Coup Ay Tee and Altius - and Gliding, Magic Weekend and Lilliburlero complete his engagements.
He will start favourite in the jockey challenge and TAB.com.au's Glenn Munsie said such
dominance has not been seen for at least decade. ''Nash started $1.10 last week, the last time we saw prices like that was when Darren Beadman was flying,'' Munsie said. ''He has gone to another level in the last couple of months.''
That time frame correlates with Grant taking the reins of his bookings and, while the jockey manager will talk to Rawiller before Saturday, he is careful not to overstep the mark.
''I just let them know what I have seen. I have to remember that I'm not the trainer and it is up to them to give the instructions,'' Grant said. ''But if a horse has a habit of laying in at the top of the straight I can prepare them for that.
''It is better to [take action] 50 metres before it happens and be prepared, than just react to it when it goes. That can make a big difference.''
Rawiller says it is experience of riding that makes Grant.
''He knows what it is like and is very passionate about what he does,'' he said.
Grant knows he is on a fine line. ''I can't overdo things with them because in the end you don't want them going out with too much in their head, they still have to ride the race the way it needs to be done,'' he said.
Reith has been in the Grant stable since returning to Sydney and has developed from a country hoop to be a group 1 jockey.''When he came to Sydney he said to me 'I just want to ride at provincials' and I thought well there is a lot more talent there than that,'' Grant said. ''I knew he would start there but Christian has always been a very good jockey, but had his problems. He did the hard work and look at where he is now.''
''Brett just gets you focussed and in the right frame of mind,'' Reith said of Grant. ''My success is his success because without his help I wouldn't be riding for Darley and in Sydney.''