Warwick racing legend returns to Cup
AFTER his dad and racing legend Johnny Barbierato passed away 21 years ago, Gino Barbierato thought he would never be involved in racing again, but thanks to the encouragement of his niece and wife, he made his great return to racing this year.
Mr Barbierato, who had been a trackwork rider and stablehand for his dad, had always wanted to get back onto the track but didn't quite have the nerve to do it alone.
But when niece Bubbles Barbierato entered the racing world herself after being invited along to watch jump outs one morning by longtime friends Bill and Cheryl Brown, she found a passion in the racing industry herself and soon after joined the Warwick Turf Club as a photographer and social media co-ordinator, she soon saw that she could be the one to give her uncle the push he needed.
"He started coming back to the races and started to meet up with old trainers who are still training like Michael Hemmings and Bill Brown," she said.
"I gave him a little encouragement, and said to him, it's something you should do, you love to do it.
"It was something he always said he would love to get back into but thought he was too old."
Helping Mr Barbierato fill out paperwork and get his licence, Miss Barbierato said it was the memories of her grandfather and uncle's racing history that made her want to get involved as well and soon enough she is now a part owner in one of the horses trained by her uncle.
Soon getting a hold of a couple of trying but promising horses, Ruby Rush and Imabarman, Mr Barbierato also asked his wife Jody Barbierato to help, despite her having limited racing experience.
"It's all a learning curve for me," Mrs Barbierato said.
"My grandfather used to do it but I never had much to do with it, I used to just watch the races."
It was truly a full family event, with six-year-old mare Ruby Rush wearing the racing colours that were once Johnny Barbierato's now being carried through the beginning of the new generations involved in the Barbierato Family's racing days.
"I got my grandfathers racing colours re-registered, so it is very special to have Ruby racing in those colours," Miss Barbierato said.
Saturday was the first time the family had two runners at the Warwick Cup race meet, while they didn't come away with any winners it was still a great day out for the family.
"In racing, it isn't always about winning but seeing our horses improve each time they race is just incredible," Miss Barbierato said.
"It's been very emotional to take on my grandfather's tradition.
"It's been a long time coming, all we need was a little encouragement and dedication."