Luke Pepper knows how a champion feels and that knowledge drives him to look for a superstar of his own.
Luke rode the Australian turf legend Takeover Target in most of his work and travelled all over the world with the wonderful sprinter, playing a significant role in victories in the UK, Singapore and Japan.
Like many top trainers Luke’s involvement with horses dates back to his time in a pony club before developing a passion for the horse that took him showjumping and into other equestrian pursuits.
Luke rode successfully at the picnics before increasing weight forced him to abandon his quest to become a professional jockey but he retained his love of horses, working at Meringo Stud until a meeting with super Canberra trainer Barbara Joseph started him off on his training journey.
Pepper learned a great deal from his seven years working with Joseph and another top Canberra horseman, Nick Olive, where he became stable foreman before branching out on his own in the 2009/10 season.
Pepper almost immediately made history when he trained the winners of the Moruya, Narooma and Bega Cups in his first year of training.
Luke also quickly made his mark in the city when Panderelle provided him with an enormous thrill when she gave him his first city winner on the Kensington track at Randwick.
Pepper spent time training at Moruya before returning to Canberra in 2015 to enjoy the benefits of the terrific facilities at the course with a synthetic track always available for fast work as well as grass tracks and a swimming pool.
Luke has his own horse walker at the stable, which adds to the variety of training he can provide every horse in his care.
Being located in Canberra gives Pepper many options when it comes to placing his horses, which he believes is as important as getting them to peak fitness.
The stable is perfectly placed to send horses to Sydney or Melbourne while Luke is quite comfortable taking runners to Adelaide or Brisbane if the right race arises.
“If I can get the best out of each horse I train, then I’m happy,” Pepper says.