Apprentice Answers Patinack’s Call

Millionaire mining magnate and owner-operator of the influential Patinack Farm Stable, Nathan Tinkler last month extended a lucrative offer for apprentice jockey Timothy Bell to join the ranks as the operation’s Queensland stable rider, Bell this week accepting the deal.

Having spent a three-year period riding for Tamworth-based trainer Sue Grills, Bell recently reassigned his services to Eagle Farm horseman Kelly Schweida on a one-month loan.

Bell’s time with Grills was highlighted by his association with stable ace, Johannesburg gelding Border Rebel, who he rode to three stakes wins including the 2010 and 2011 Hinkler Handicap.

After much deliberation, Bell is now set to make another move to work alongside Patinack Farm’s head trainer John Thompson at the stable’s Gold Coast base.

“It was a tough decision but I’ve decided to accept the position as their (Queensland) stable rider,” Bell said.

“I had a number of meetings with Mr Tinkler and the stable is in great order with the number of horses coming through.”

Bell, 18, described the offer as the “opportunity of a lifetime” and was looking forward to his new appointment opening up more doors for him.

“It’s an opportunity of a lifetime for a young person like myself,” he said.

“There’s a lot of potential in the stable and hopefully it can open up a big career and opportunity for myself.”

One of the most in-demand jockeys coming through the riding ranks, Bell has previously rejected offers from rival stables in Sydney stating he would prefer to stay out of the highly-competitive racing scene there for now.

“I’ve had to weight up a lot of things but being so young and being tied to a stable with a great team like Patinack was an offer too good to refuse,” Bell said.

“Sydney probably isn’t right for me at the moment as it’s so cutthroat and Brisbane will probably be my base.

“It took a lot of advice before accepting this role and you only get one chance at it.”

The relocation will see Bell working closely with Thompson and his 45-horses in work at Wadham Park at Canungra in the Gold Coast hinterland.

It is set to be a big 12 months for Thompson and Tinkler, the venture to enjoy a huge injection with 60 new yearlings in preparation to begin their careers in August.

“There’s about 45 horses in work here now and another 60 yearlings are set to come in,” Thompson confirmed.

“In Sydney and Melbourne there’s another 150 yearlings about to start off.”

While keen to express the strengths of Patinack Farm, Thompson was also quick to extend his congratulations to Bell and said he was very pleased for the young gun to be jumping onboard the bandwagon.

“The biggest thing that impressed me most about Tim is that he’s so level-headed and his riding talent speaks for itself,” Thompson said.

Bell’s new position won’t limit him from riding outside horses for other connections either, another advantage for the up-and-coming hoop.

“Tim will be our Queensland rider but he can still do outside riding for other trainers and he’ll be allowed to ride work in Brisbane and the Gold Coast if he wants,” Thompson explained.

“We won’t be tying him down and he’ll get the bulk of our rides in Queensland and we’ll use him whenever he’s required in the south.”

Bell got his first taste of riding at Wadham Park on Tuesday before his official appointment, partnering with a quartet of horses in trackwork.