Sixteen year old Tristan Larsen has always been around horses with his father Kirk and mother Michelle running a successful stable at Branxholme.
“I just sat on Dad’s knee when I was younger and started from there,” he said.
The first horse he was allowed to drive was Auckland Cup winner Howard Bromac.
“He was sort of retired, and Dad let me drive him. He was quiet and nice to drive.”
Although the fire was lit early on, it really sparked into life when Tristan leased his first horse.
“What really got me into it was leasing a horse off Nevele R Stud. He was by Changeover and I broke him in and did all the work with it. That got me really keen. Unfortunately he broke down before Larsen got him to the races.
Larsen left school in January this year and at the moment is working at his father’s stable and also for Ryal Bush trainer Brett Gray.
“It works out really well for me. I do two hours at Dad’s in the morning, I go to Brett’s at about 8:30 and when I get home I help Dad again. It’s good being in two stables, getting more drives.”
This season he’s driven at the workouts. He’s also had one race day start at Ascot Park after he and James Forbes were called on to fill in when junior drivers Sheree Tomlinson and John Morrison were not able to make it on time for an Invercargill meeting.
“I’ve got the hang of how it (driving) works at the workouts. I had that race day drive when the drivers’ plane got delayed so that gave me a bit of a taster.”
Tristan has also bred his first horse, a filly by Stunin Cullen out of Hoshi Bromac.
“It’s going along very nicely. I’ve done all the work including breaking in to the cart.”
Hoshi Bromac, a full sister to Howard Bromac, won once from twenty starts and has left Sur Le Fur (Courage Under Fire) the winner of thirteen, Varenna, Divine Justice and Calypso Rock, (A Rocknroll Dance three year old) which qualified this season.
Larsen says the best horse he’s seen is Adore Me and his favourite driver is Blair Orange.
“He can rate a horse and is a good horseman to learn off.”
Larsen hopes to have his junior drivers licence this coming season.