Aiden Warwick was always going to be involved with horses in one way or another.
When you’re the son of Hall of Fame trainer/driver Trevor Warwick - named Australia’s leading trainer in the 1986/87 season with 138 winners and a multiple winner of the training and driving premierships in Perth over a number of years - it seems logical that you follow in the “old man’s” footsteps.
Aiden, the younger brother of Justin, himself a leading trainer/driver of pacers in the 1990s before successfully branching out into thoroughbred training, graduated seamlessly into harness racing as a reinsman and trainer with some notable results.
The youngest of the Warwick boys won Cup races driving Holme For Christmas and tasted plenty of success with Party Date, Lombo La Fe Fe and his brother’s horse Try A Fluke.
He was a young trainer/driver on the rise with, what seemed to be, the world at his feet.
But Aiden, then aged 35, was “burnt out”.
“I’d been around horses all my life,” he said. “I guess it was expected of me ... that I’d follow Dad and Justin into harness racing.
“I initially enjoyed training and driving, but people without an intimate knowledge of the sport don’t realise how demanding it can be on your time.
“It’s full on and there’s very little time for anything else.”
Warwick and his wife, Eleesha, were not only training pacers, but they were raising a young family with five-year-old son Denver and one-year-old daughter Charlee.
“It just all became too much and something had to give,” Warwick said.
“Training and driving was becoming a burden and I was getting stale, so we decided to pack the whole thing in and have a break.
“It was just what I needed. We started living a normal life and we went fishing, camping and travelling ... and I got to see my kids more and became a better father.
“We started doing things you just can’t do when you’ve got a team of horses to look after.”
Warwick became a jack of all trades to put food on the table and picked up his tools and did brick paving, building and labouring during his hiatus from the track.
His last winner as a driver before he stepped away from pacing came at Narrogin in June 2010 when he steered The Feather Foot home.
But now aged 45, and with Denver 15 and Charlee 11, Warwick started to take a “fresh look” at the industry, especially when well-known owner Robbie Tomlinson offered him the job as head trainer at his impressive property at Coolup.
“Robbie came up at the right time for me,” Warwick said.
“Puffer (leading thoroughbred trainer Grant Williams) is a good mate of mine and he told me ‘Robbie is a good bloke’ ... and it just went from there.
“I started giving Robbie a hand at his property in October last year and it’s now one of the best training establishments in WA.
“And it’s only five minutes from where we live.
“We’ve got 14 horses in work at the moment, but there’s room for more.
“I’ve got great help with the staff and Robbie even kicks in with a hand.
“We’ve also got a terrific 1000 metre fast-work track and a sand track ... it’s a state-of-the-art set-up and I’m confident we’ll have plenty of winners in the future.”
And Warwick didn’t have to wait too long to get back into the winners’ list with three-year-old Naval Aviator scoring for him and driver Nathan Turvey at Pinjarra in early January.
“I’m back driving now,” he said, “and I’m enjoying jumping back into the cart.
“But I know my limitations and I’ll probably put the more experienced guys on my horses so I can concentrate on the training side of things.”
Aiden Warwick is a welcome addition to the training and driving ranks of harness racing in WA.
It’s great to see him back, refreshed and keen to make his mark on a sport that his father and older brother dominated in their heydays.