Freelancer; Bruce Birch is focussed on becoming a 'catch driver' here in Queensland.
Queensland horseman Bruce Birch has decided it’s time for change.
The internationally experienced horseman will turn his back on the training caper and concentrate solely on his race driving at the end of the month.
It’s a decision he hasn’t taken lightly, but it’s one he’s very comfortable with as he focuses on life as a ‘catch driver’.
“I’ve been thinking for some time about my options and the fact that the Gold Coast is about to disappear, well, it made my decision a whole lot easier.” Birch stated.
Birch was training his team of 10 standardbreds on track at the Parklands complex and most of the team has already been moved on to different stables.
The New Zealand born horseman has enjoyed the backing of Greg Mitchell (recently voted Queensland Owner of the Year for 2011/12) in recent years with many former Kiwi pacers heading his way and enjoying good success.
During the recently completed 2011/12 season, Birch prepared 44 winners from 293 starters.
“The recent decision in regard to the future of the Parklands complex was the real clincher for me because it really limits my options I believe, I could go out and invest in my own property but I’m prepared to take the wait and see approach.
It’s really disappointing losing the facilities here at the Gold Coast, it’s a great track and I’ve really enjoyed my time here but I’ve decided to opt out now rather than in another eight months.
At this point, I don’t want to pack up and move interstate because the lifestyle here on the Gold Coast is first class and my wife (Elizabeth) is heavily pregnant.”
Life as freelance driver can be brutally tough both mentally and financially but Birch is fully aware of the challenges he faces.
“During my time in North America, I made my living as a freelance reinsman up there where I would regularly pull double meetings per day. It was nothing unusual for me to drive at Freehold during the day and then head to the Meadowlands for a book of drives later that night.
I really enjoyed my time up there driving, sitting behind horses like Bad Bert and Armbro Oliver while gaining the trust of leading trainer Noel Daley but I believe I can make a go of it here, Elizabeth is fully supportive and so is Greg which is a great start.
I’ll be heading to all tracks here and I’m keen for as many drives as possible plus for as many different owners and trainers too.”
Birch is off to a flyer in the new season and currently sits fourth on the State Drivers Premiership with 10 victories from 52 drives to date.
Last weekend, Birch landed a winner on Friday night at the Gold Coast aboard the talented pacer Stanbesideme while he backed it up 24 hours later at Albion Park when successful with consistent pacer Greenmans Valley.
Birch is currently enjoying good success for the Stuart Hunter stable headed up by open class pacer Hiking where he has won 5 from 6 on the former Sydney gelding.