Scott Brunton is continuing the family legacy while also showing that he has just as much as his father had when it came to helping horses find their form or rediscover it, as the case may be.
His father - Brunton Sr., trained over 2000 starters and had winners in four Group company races and 12 Listed races earning himself a spot in the Tasmanian Hall of Fame and racing history from Australia’s island state.
It was this legacy that got Scott passionate and knowing what he would end up doing for a career.
"I was born into it, and I never was going to do anything else," Brunton said.
"Dad was a great horse trainer, always a brilliant horseman. He was a foreman for Angus Armanasco and had started his apprenticeship there and became a foreman before he went down to the late Noel Kelly in Ballarat.
"He (Kelly) ran the show at Forest Lodge and was the Darren Weir of the western districts you could say back in the early 80’s. He trained horses like Plush Embassy, Scotch, Dry, and some other great horses."
A self-confessed lover of all animals Scott has a menagerie of animals at his home.
"I’ve got a retired greyhound and another three dogs, four cats, a hundred horses, and four kids," Brunton laughed.
His career has seen him prepare over 600 winners as well as seeing some of his stable members take Listed and top Group race honours, but he still is not ready to settle with those achievements.
"I do hope my career highlight is yet to come."
The Mighty "Vegetable"
It is the progression of his stable star, The Inevitable (also referred to as "The Vegetable" by Brunton’s family and his fans) that really excites Brunton, as is clear to see when he talks about him. Bought for $90,000 as a yearling at the South Australian sales, this horse may just be the fairy-tale story for Brunton.
His career to date has seen him line up 26 times for 13 wins and surpass A$1 million in race earnings.
"Always, from day one, I knew there was something different about him. "His aerobic capacity and things like that are very different from other horses—I believe he is a Group One horse gone begging."
"It was a real thrill to see The Inevitable win the Group Three CS Hayes (2019) at Flemington and then take out the Silver Eagle at Randwick."
After this, as Brunton explains, the plan for continued success for his horse fell flat and left everybody with a sense of what now.
"Nothing went right after that. On the way to the Golden Eagle (three weeks after the Silver Eagle win) the truck broke down on the way and we were stranded on the side of the highway, with trucks whizzing past."
The Inevitable would end up finishing 12th in this race before being rested for eighteen weeks before a seventh finish in the Gr.1 Newmarket (2020), 12th in Gr.1 Furphy Goodwood, eighth in Gr.2 Gilgai Stakes and eleventh in Gr.3 Moonga Stakes.
Returning to 2021 Listed Conquering Stakes back in his home state the battler under Sigrid Carr would take the victory and show he still had plenty in the tank as a 6YO.
The pint-sized gelding unleashed his trademark turn of foot to take his stakes tally to five in the Listed Newmarket (1200m) at Launceston.
And then, although It was closer than fans would have liked, he got the job done in the Listed Conquering Stakes (1400m) at Launceston and took his prizemoney past A$1,000,000.
Not An Easy Journey
Throughout his racing career, the 7YO son of Dundeel has suffered from heatstroke, was diagnosed with pods disease or deep seeded bruising of the bone and his feet are off by five or six degrees yet continues to show his ability and hunger to win.
"When we brought him back here for six months and we got him right, but I have my partner, Tegan Keys, to thank for that – she is to thank for a lot of the accolades with him.
"She began jumping him and doing some work with his back issues and it really helped put some confidence back into his movements."
Brunton attributes the work his partner has done with the horse along with the environment of their training property in helping The Inevitable rediscover his confidence and winning form that had eluded him for the past twelve months.
"We are very lucky to have a property that has a lot of heavy sand and is surrounded by pine trees with beaches on either side." The projections from his injury and rehab have combined really well with that environment.
He has gone on to take out both the Goodwood Handicap and Listed Newmarket Handicap last month in his home state and backed up his defence of the Conquering Stakes with a massive run to go back-to-back.
"His first up-and-back was outstanding. He seems to go on autopilot a bit, but he knows exactly where to pick up and finish off.
"His first win with 61kgs was very good but he dropped a kilo and a half going into the Newmarket. I was like a kid in a candy shop when that came out."
He is a genuine backmarker, and his results speak for themselves with two of his last three wins that have seen him sitting last with 800 and 400m left to run in the journey and when asked the question stormed home to take the victory.
"He definitely is now, and he feels most comfortable knowing what is going on around him. He used to like to sit fourth or fifth, but he has the devastating turn of foot and knows when to use it.
"We reinvented him, and he really reinvented us also, we are very excited about what is to come with him."
Next Stop, Meydan
His experience on sand and dirt conditions as part of his rehabilitation matched with his revived drive to beat any field off the back of his engine and turn of foot is what has brought their potential campaign in Dubai back on the table.
"I was talking with Neil Jennings, the handicapper in Dubai, a few years ago and we were really keen to get him over there but that was when everything went wrong with The Inevitable.
"That’s why we are really wanting to get there, I think it would be a great holiday and I would love to have a look."
Brunton’s face lights up like that kid in a candy shop knowing his horse's potential and the opportunity to challenge some horses in the UAE.
"It would be a true feelgood story for a young bloke, or a once young bloke, from Tasmania with his horse to get over there and with the dirt and sand tracks he might fit in just nicely."
From here he will head to the Newmarket once again before the Tasmanian Stakes over a mile before the Thomas Lyons on Hobart Cup Day.
Making It Count
The race that follows these three starts will be the one with the most meaning to Brunton in Launceston, a race that has been renamed after the stable’s best horse, Hellova Street.
"He didn’t have the brilliance of The Inevitable, but he was at the top of the food chain around the stable here for fix or six years duking it out with some of the best weight for age horses."
Hellova Street had 59 career starts for 20-16-9 and won A$1.2 million in race earnings before passing away in 2020.
"He was a great horse who wasn’t well bred but he meant a lot to us and the stable.
"I would really love to get the money there if I can."
The Inevitable has a large cult following which Brunton and the stable will rely on to get him into the All-Star Mile.
"I would jump at the opportunity to get him in there, and I think out of the Tasmanians who stick pretty loyal, we think we have a great chance at a crack in that race."
The end game for his plans for Dubai dominance with The Inevitable will remain in his decisions, as he said confidently.
"If the possibility comes across my desk again, I will be taking it with both hands."
"I certainly think I have the horse good enough."