By Duane Ranger
It takes more than rheumatoid arthritis to keep 66-year-old Alan Grimsey away from the racetrack.
The long-time Scarborough resident hasn’t trained a winner since Wallumbilla won at Redcliffe on April 6 in 2011.
Not long after that victory Grimsey’s illness forced him to leave the sport he had lived and breathed for 20-plus years.
Now, some eight years later, Grimsey has passed all the fitness requirements and has been granted a trainers’ licence.
“They couldn’t keep me away. I’ve missed it. I’ve bought a horse especially for my comeback. It’s in my blood," he said.
“Speaking of which, I’m still on medication that I had have been taking for my rheumatoid arthritis. The medication has been cleared, so I’m ready to train again. Bettor Because will be my first starter next week."
The Grimsey owned and Mark McNee trained Bettor Because notched up her third win at Redcliffe Paceway last Wednesday night. She was driven by Peter McMullen and was the $8 third favourite.
The following day Grimsey took over the training duties.
“That was a lovely win. Now I want to go on with it. All I want to do is train one or two in my retirement. It gives me something to do each day," he said.
“Theresa (wife) and I used to train a team of five or six and regularly get 40 to 50 winners a season. I’ve just missed it.”
Grimsey’s rheumatoid arthritis has troubled him for several decades. In fact just three weeks ago he was rushed to hospital where he underwent an operation on his right knee.
“It had blown up like a football but they drained it out with anti-biotics. I then saw the doctors a couple of weeks later when I was still on crutches and it’s improved a lot since then,” Grimsey said.
The comeback horseman bought Bettor Because, a 3-year-old daughter of Bettor’s Delight – and Cullens Cameo, off Shannon Price.
“I think Shannon knew I was trying to get back into the game and helped me out for me by selling me a fairly good one. I’m appreciative of that. I’m going to enjoy the one-to-one interaction with the horse,” Grimsey said.
When Grimsey was at his peak he was known as the ‘king of claimers’ and raced good horses like King Nigel (44 wins and $102,013); The Twister (28 wins and $199,264); Bronski Revenge (36 wins and $128,003); Rasters (30 wins and $74,80); Disguised (29 wins and $91,607); and Lucinda Bay (19 wins and $53,794).
“King Nigel was a great old horse who we raced in the late 1990 and early 2000s. He won a Listed Classic race for his previous trainer, Lyn Paton,” Grimsey said.
Grimsey’s colours are yellow with the black sash and sleeves.
Although he seldom drives these days Grimsey's first win in the sulky came behind the Stu Hunter trained Midnight Ruby on the Gold Coast on June 30, 1998.
“I used to own that mare. She won seven races - the last being in May 2000," he said.