Strapping a superstar was the catalyst for Donna Riordan building a successful training business.
Riordan strapped the brilliant sprinter Coal Pak, who the 1986 Group 1 Oakleigh Plate (1100m) at Caulfield, for her uncle Warren Jeffreys as a young girl and that experience spawned a passion that has resulted in Donna Riordan Racing’s success.
Time spent with Jeffreys and other astute WA trainers Paul Garner and Paula Wagg ensured Riordan worked at close quarters with top gallopers such as Aussie Pak, Cold Feet and Flash Kali while gaining valuable experience that would stand her in good stead later in her career.
Donna is always looking for the latest techniques to get the best out of her horses and values advice given to her from top trainers such as Neville Parnham, the champion Placid Ark’s trainer Wally Mitchell and Trevor Andrews.
Riordan took a roundabout route to become a trainer after working in the harness racing industry and at auction house Goodwood Bloodstock, which later sold its thoroughbred division and became part of the Magic Millions group. Riordan continued at the auction house as Manager of Gloucester Standardbreds before getting her trainer’s licence in 2009.
Riordan notched first stakes winner when Terror Force won the Perth Stakes at just his second start while the talented horsewoman has also won city races with her shrewd purchases Gotham City, Bradford Badboy, O’Hara Belle, Long Over Due, Hyde Park Flyer, Fonzarelli and Miami Horror.
“When I’m buying horses or doing anything, I treat the client’s money like it is my own and I give all horses the best of everything, exactly like I would if I owned them,” Riordan tells any current or future owner.
Donna Riordan Racing is a family business with her sister Rosalyn the stable foreperson while her parents own shares in horses in the stable.
While Donna has the drive and the passion to succeed in Perth’s training ranks, she has never forgotten how tough the training business can be and works hard to improve conditions for her colleagues as the proud vice-president of the Western Australian Racing Trainers’ Association.