Remember the name Julio Olascoaga.
Although it's his first season as a head trainer, the journey has been one built on hard work, commitment and knowing what he can get from his horses. Thus far he has recorded two winners from fifteen starts as he continues to show what his horses can do on the track.
“I enjoy it every day and it doesn’t feel like I am working,” he said.
Speaking about his background, where he has been and his plans for this great journey, Olascoaga said, “I come from a family that has been always in the horse industry in Uruguay, my dad and my brother both have been champion endurance-Raid riders & trainers.”
“I just grew up around sport horses. Then I made my way through veterinary school.”
After graduating in 2019 he owned a couple of horses with some friends from university – it was this which would be the beginning of his career.
“That was my first approach to racehorses.”
The passion he has for horses and the industry is contagious and through the conversation, it is clear to see.
“It is hard to explain. The feeling of having a runner with a chance in a race and the feeling of winning.
“Only those who have felt it will understand me. Nothing compares.”
With a drive to make a career with this passion and in the industry, he would become an assistant trainer to four-time Uruguayan champion trainer Antonio Cintra. As Olascoaga tells it this partnership is one that he holds very highly.
“He’s my master and I learn every day from him. He has the gift to do what he does.
“You can’t be more grateful for having the chance to work for him. He is a world-class trainer and an even better person.
“He always looks after his staff and understands the key to making teams. I’ve been given the opportunity to train for his team during this season, it is a great responsibility but supported by great owners & staff that make everything easier.”
Reflecting on his training career to date he sees a few highlights as influential and races he will never forget.
“The Al Bastakiya Listed race that Quality Boone won last season as it was the ‘signature’ that we are on the correct path. Bringing these horses to compete at the highest level and compare them to the world.”
Quality Boone is a 4YO Daniel Boone x Quindici colt who was greatly praised by Cintra being brought to Dubai for his first start in December 2021 in which he won by a length showing his ability on the dirt.
“The most enjoyable race was the first and second, we got in the Group One GP Latino Americano with Aero Trem and Athletico El Culano. On our home track against the strongest field in South America. All of those horses continued their careers with tremendous success after that.”
Following this Group One wins Aero Trem became the first South American trained horse in the Saudi Cup last year, a feat that meant far more than that single win or any amount of luck.
“It meant a lot of work! It took hours of day-by-day planning since winning the GP Latino Americano in October, that win positioned him as the best racehorse in South America.
“To then bring him to the Saudi Cup in February was a long journey. He ran a massive race in Saudi and was another demonstration that we can be at the level to compete on the world stage.”
Plenty Of Quality On Show
Now training in the UAE season Olascoaga is excited about the profile of racing in the Middle East as he said.
“It’s growing and bouncing back from the pandemic as expected. Because their people have horses in their blood.
“They will always be good racing and good horses here. In our case, it is the perfect environment to establish a satellite stable and bring the best we have.”
Training for the team this season for their UAE campaign it is a mission that his mentor Cintra is no stranger to and a wealth of experience that Olascoaga can draw upon.
Cintra first tasted success in Dubai back in 2006, when Heart Alone won the Group 3 Al Shindagha Sprint, Cintra returned during the 2020/2021 season and picked up another win when El Patriota won the Al Bastakiya Trial at Meydan Racecourse.
This season Olascoaga prepares a stable of 13 in Dubai with some types with real potential and others who have proven their ability again and again.
Olascoaga has just seen his 3YO colt Long Kiss take out the Jumeirah Classic by a head. In the head-bobbing finish, the trainer was aware and impressed with the performance of his horse who outclassed the field in the second running of the trial.
“He got them on the line. It was a superb ride.”
El Patriota won on debut in Meydan in January 2021 but has not seen victory since with his first start at the track to hopefully come soon after he finished sixth last start at Abu Dhabi in the Listed Abu Dhabi Championship Thoroughbred.
Ajuste Fiscal won two starts ago at Meydan in impressive fashion putting 7.25 lengths on his opponents. The 6YO gelded son of Ioya Bigtime ran third in the Group 2 Maktoum Challenge Round 2 in 2021.
“It was a relief seeing him coming hard at the top of the straight. He’s a class horse and can be later at the end of the season in the big races. He did not have a good last season, so it was important to get him back to the level he belongs.”
Sprinter Upper Class also won at Meydan two starts ago in November by an impressive seven lengths and was unbeaten in South America before heading to the Middle East.
Quality Boone is a 4YO colt who has won twice at Meydan from five starts at the track including a win in the Listed Al Bastakiya last season.
The trainer has great hopes for him following a 290-day break from the track.
“He had an injury last time out in the UAE Derby but has recovered well and is training well. He spent the summer in Dubai so he is improving.”.
His stable also has another pair of colts which the trainer is really excited about.
“Eye On The Prize and Es-Unico are two very good colts that will be aimed at the UAE Triple Crown and the Saudi Derby.”
Having experience travelling for his training career and transporting horses Olascoaga commented on the need to do so to be able to campaign internationally as well as see his horses show their ability in the right races.
Making The Right Moves
“It takes a lot of planning and that’s the key. We leave no stone unturned in trying to get them a good trip and a good recovery after travelling.
“That is the key to getting them back fit and ready to race.
“I had worked as a flying groom for many years before working with Antonio (Cintra) so I had a good idea what to do and what not to do in order to travel them well.”
As he continues in this UAE campaign with hopes to unleash his thirteen-prong attack across the
Dubai World Cup Carnival as well as Saudi the mission is plain and simple.
“Just try to get them all into the winner's enclosure!”