T.N. Trevor Miller: A Racing Journey from Cunnamulla to Caloundra

T.N. Trevor Miller: A Racing Journey from Cunnamulla to Caloundra like no other.

Racing has always been a realm of incredible stories, where human dedication converges with equine excellence. One such remarkable tale is that of T.N. Trevor Miller, a name synonymous with passion, perseverance, and lots of hard work. When it comes to luck Trevor says he worked hard and made his own luck.

Born in the Outback Queensland town of Cunnamulla, their family home was in Watson Street situated on a large block that had horse stables and facilities at the back.

Who built the stables and things?

Trevor’s journey began at the tender age of 13 and has since etched a legacy that stretches across generations. His father Bill, was a drover and a brilliant horseman and his two brothers were already training so Trevor was around horses from birth and soon learnt what was involved in caring for and being at one with horses. Trevor developed a deep connection with his horses, he understood them and what they needed to perform at their best and he knew how to keep them sound.

From small children Trevor and older brother Barry would have competitions between themselves almost like a modern day trivial pursuit with racehorse knowledge. Trevor knew the races, placing and weights of every horse racing is Australia and Barry knew the breeding which was a key to both brothers success in the industry. They could be referred to as encyclopaedias in this regard and this was key to their breeding and purchasing of horses throughout their careers.

The brothers would gather all their cousins and neighbourhood kids and they would all have foot races, bike races constantly challenging each other.

Early Roots in Cunnamulla:

Trevor Miller’s upbringing was surrounded by horses, sport and lots of hard work. His parents, Bill and Cora Miller, had a large family of nine children and were good providers and hard workers. Bill, was a drover, and would be away for months at a time. Cora tended to nine children and ran a cordial factory. Cora was an excellent pianist and her musical talents resonated with the racing balls that used to take place after race meetings, embodying the fusion of music and horse racing that was an intrinsic part of those times and social gatherings.

Trevor’s journey into racing began when he started riding work at age 13 for his brothers, Billy and Barry. It was here that he dipped his toes into the world of racing, honing his skills and discovering his passion for the sport however his jockey career never took off as he rode just 4 winners out of 70 starts. “Even Barry was reluctant to give me a ride,” Trevor recalls with a hint of humour.

Everything was a challenge in the bush and he had to do most things in Cunnamulla for himself as there were no farriers and no veterinarians. On occasions when he took a horse to Ipswich or Brisbane it was a three day journey each way on the train in a wagon with the horse and no services.

How did you travel horses in the beginning – On the train/truck/float?

The roads were all dirt and the distances were long just like the days which created challenges and sometimes incidents. One such incident Trevor & Darryl Brown his jockey went to Quilpie races, on arrival Darryl fell out of the car & went arse over head, Dad said “What the bloody hell is wrong with you?” Anyway off they went to the races the horse Famlyn ran with Darryl as the jockey and won the race. 

Lorraine Jackson a jockey from Bourke got a ride back with them & Darryl drove home, next thing Trevor knows he’s on a stretcher in Charleville.  He and Lorraine became unconscious somewhere between Quilpie & Charleville & Darryl made it to the Charleville hospital.  

Turns out the muffler had broken off the ute on the way out & the fumes were coming up behind the seat & they all had got carbon monoxide poisoning.  It had been raining so the window was up except who was driving had their window open a bit.

Another night Trevor, Darryl Brown & Sue Turner (now married to Graham Beig) were coming home from the Charleville races with 2 horses, they went down a gully in the road, & coming up the other side the float snapped off the drawbar, by the time they had turned around & got back to the float the horses were gone. 

The float was still upright, all doors shut, the only way they could have got out was through the front window which was about 1 m x 1 m if that. They then had to try & find them in the dark, Trevor followed their hoof prints & eventually found & caught them. One of the others drove onto Cunnamulla & got another float.  Today Trevor is still baffled how the horses got out uninjured.

Transition to Training:

Trevor’s journey in racing quickly transitioned to training when his brother Barry left for Brisbane, taking on the mantle of guiding equine athletes to success. At the young age of 20, he obtained his trainer’s license, and by 23, he was fully immersed in full-time training.

His first taste of training success came with the victory of Quinty Boy in 1975 at Wyandra racecourse. This marked the beginning of a series of wins that would come to define Trevor’s illustrious career. Over the years, Trevor amassed an impressive record, winning 5 premierships in the bush and securing 210 winners in rural racecourses.

Trevor won the Charleville & Enngonia Newmarkets with Bonsreturn who had 51 starts for Trevor & won/placed 41 times.

  • 1st – 14
  • 2nd – 18
  • 3rd – 9

Banished Sword was another handy horse Trevor trained, he had 62 starts for 30 win/place.

  • 1st – 12
  • 2nd – 10
  • 3rd – 8

Capanui won 3 Charleville Cups

  • 2 with Barry
  • 1 with Trevor

Caloundra: A New Chapter:

In December 1986, Trevor Miller, wife Rosalea and three children Mandy, Kym and Andrew embarked on a new chapter by moving from Cunnamulla to Caloundra. It was a bold and risky move with a young family however Trevor quickly proved he was up to the challenge secured stables and trained at Caloundra’s Corbould Park Racecourse starting with just six of his own bush horses in tow including;

  1. Gallant Ruler
  2. Bonsreturn
  3. Copper Shoes
  4. Dictatorial
  5. Java
  6. Challen Star

His foray into Caloundra was marked by resounding success and set the stage for his legacy with his first victory being Copper Shoes on 7th February 1987, followed by a win in Gympie the following week on 14th February 1987 with Bonsreturn. By the following week Trevor had his first double in Caloundra with Gallant Ruler & Dictorial on 21st February 1987. The biggest success quickly followed when Trevor won his first trainers premiership at the Sunshine Coast Turf Club (SCTC) for the year in just six months.

Trevor’s wife Rosalea, a beautiful seamstress made all their racing colours when we were in the bush and for a few years when first in Caloundra.

Trevor achieved a rare distinction by becoming the first trainer to win four races on the same day at Caloundra. He also etched his name in history by being the sole trainer to win on all three tracks at the Caloundra racecourse, course proper, cushion and inner grass with two horses Big Tony and So Dominant showcasing his versatility and expertise.

Heavenly Knight (1100m) and Whale Of A Knight (1000m) both broke the track record on the same day trained by Trevor and both ridden by Shane Shield.

  • Heavenly Knight still holds the 1100m Track Record at Caloundra today.
  • Under Trevors training Heavenly Knight won 19 Races and Whale Of A Knight won 15.

Unparalleled Achievements:

Trevor’s accomplishments continued to mount, and his name became synonymous with success in the racing world. Trevor and his bush team of horses started to break record after record and;

  • Gallent Ruler won 26 times, 24 at Corbould Park Racecourse Caloundra and 2 at Doomben Racecorse in Brisbane.

In fact some thirty six years later the track record is still held for the most number of wins at Corbould Park Racecourse in Caloundra and also of any TAB track in Queensland. To top it off Gallent Ruler won Horse of the Year in his first season at Corbould Park Racecourse in Caloundra.

Trevor continued to brake track records and secured numerous victories triumphed in feature races, winning all 5 Feature Races at Sunshine Coast Turf Club (SCTC).

  • 1 Caloundra Cup (Listed) with King Latarmiss,
  • 2 Glasshouse Hcps (Listed) with Heavenly Knight and Whale Of A Knight. One of these Trevor quinelled with Heavenly Knight & Guilded Queen.
  • 2 Sunshine Coast Turf Club (SCTC) Guineas (Listed) with Hagar the Horrible & My swagman which were back to back wins.
  • One 2 Year old B J McLachlan Classic (Listed) with Real Good and 1 Sunshine Coast Cup (Listed) with Baal Yabba.

Heavenly Knight won the;

  • Group 3 Lightning Stakes 1000m.
  • Seven days later won Group 2 Ansett Cup (Now QTC Cup) 1200m, both at Eagle Farm racecourse.

Baal Yabba also won

  • A Group 3, the Summer Stakes at Doomben.
  • Two Listed Wadley Stakes were won with Booroonga and Sheer Devotion.
  • A Listed Silk Stocking GCTC with Guilded Queen. 
  • A Listed Exhibition Hcp Eagle Farm racecourse with Waterford Road.
  • A Listed Wayne Wilson Hcp with Victory Eight.

His dedication to training extended to nurturing young jockeys, with a notable mention of his apprentices where four of Trevors apprentices went on to win the SCTC Apprentice Jockey Premiership.

In total over the course of his career Trevor has had 9 Apprentices all up

  • Darryl Brown
  • Les Ross
  • Lisa Francis
  • Yoko Ota
  • Jason Kropp
  • Matt Morris
  • Michael Hughes 

Trevor also had on loan Salima Al Taleei  who was the 1st female jockey in the UAE.

He had 3 Apprentices indentured all at the same time. One day Trevor won a race in Brisbane with Picture Book & all 3 apprentices won a race at different tracks.

Some of the jockeys that have ridden for Trevor over the years include;

Darby McCarthyMalcom Johnstone, Robert Thompson, Darren Beadman, Glen Boss, Brian York, Steven King, Zac Purton, Michael Rodd, Kieran McEvoy.

Trevor’s impact on the racing industry for the past sixty-seven years with sixty as a trainer is profound, leading to his recognition as a life member of the Enngonia Race Club and his membership in the Australian Trainers Association for an astounding 57 years. He has had 1083 winners since moving from Cunnamulla in 1986 and 1293 winners all up. This record included 144 doubles, 34 trebles, 4-5 winners on the same day and two horses that won twice on the same day, Glenala Gildoo at Cunnamulla ridden by Colin Aspinall both time 17 July 1976, Blue Kellina at Bundaberg ridden by Richard “Megsy” Hall both times on 7 November 1992.

Cups Trevor’s won include Caloundra Cup – Sunshine Coast Turf Club (SCTC), Summer Cup – Sunshine Coast Turf Club (SCTC), Landsborough Cup – Sunshine Coast Turf Club (SCTC), Nooroma Cup, Charleville Cup twice, Gayndah Cup, Stayers Cup – Townsville and the Roma Cup. In no small feat to date Trevor has won the Sunshine Coast Turf Club (SCTC) Trainers Premiership 12 times, run 2nd 6 times and 3rd twice.

A Legacy of Perseverance:

Club Boutique Hotel Cunnamulla invites racing enthusiasts to join the fun and purchase tickets to the Sportsman’s Dinner to celebrate the contribution of local race horse connections and the proud mark they have made in the history book. All funds raised from the dinner will be donated to Cunnamulla & District Diggers Race Club and the Victoria Racing Club (VRC), Melbourne Cup winning Jockey, The Melbourne Cup Trophy and Paul Sawtell will be at this not to be missed event 6pm September 19, 2023.

T.N. Trevor Miller’s journey is a testament to the power of passion, perseverance, and an unyielding connection to the world of horse racing. From his early days in Cunnamulla to his triumphant years in Caloundra, Trevor’s story is one of overcoming challenges, celebrating victories, and leaving an indelible mark on the racing landscape. With over 67 years in the racing industry and an impressive roster of wins, Trevor Miller’s legacy is etched into the annals of Australian horse racing history.

To hear more racing stories and explore the history and imagery make sure you visit the exhibition “Cunnamulla & District Racing and the Melbourne Cup Through the Ages” from 8 – 30 September 2023 at the Cunnamulla Fella Visitor Information Center Regional Gallery. Opening night will be Friday September 8, 2026, BOOK NOW!

 

If you plan to come to Cunnamulla and join in the epic cellarbrations there are many options for travel and accommodation including a 4 day, 3 night fully inclusive tour package including return flight on Rex Airlines departing Brisbane Sunday September 17, and returning Brisbane Wednesday September 20, 2023. Only 5 seats lefts booking closes 8th September BOOK NOW!

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