EASY WIN: King's Men finished three and a half lengths in front.
EASY WIN: King's Men finished three and a half lengths in front. Emily Bradfield

Ex-jockey trains Warra winner

HORSE RACING: From riding in the winning saddle to training the winning horse, a career change for Todd Banks is paying off after securing his first win as a trainer at the Warra Races on Saturday.

The day of country racing culminated with race five, the 1400m Local Business Benchmark 50 Handicap, with Banks' King's Men taking out top spot.

Behind the Thistle came out of the gates bucking leaving his jockey on the turf 100m in, thinning the field for King's Men who held a steady third place for the majority of the race.

Coming around the last bend, jockey Noriyuki Nishio pushed forward, coming up on the outside to take over She's My Andy and secure a convincing three and a half length win.

Banks was confident heading into the race but said the ease and margin of the win took him by surprise.

"I thought he'd win but I didn't think he'd win that easy. (Nishio) sort of stood up on him the last bit for an easy win too, he exceeded my expectation winning like that,” Banks said.

"Our only concern was our horse is usually a back marker. He sits back, so we had to devise a plan to ride him out of his comfort zone to be a bit handier so he'd be in striking distance on the home corner.

"Everything went to plan and the horse was just too good for them in the end.”

The win was the first in four starts for Toowoomba based Banks who has only been training six weeks after an old injury stopped his career as a race day jockey in its tracks.

Banks said the change was a natural progression but he enjoyed the more hands on approach to training his starters.

"I think you've got a big advantage being able to ride the horses track work when they're training because you know how they're going and you can tell the jockey exactly where to put them,” he said.

"While other trainers just like standing there watching them, I don't think they have the same advantage in knowing exactly how well the horse is going.”

Excited with his win, Banks said it was a real team effort, with high praise for the jockey on the day.

"Nori is a good mate of mine. He's a ten out of ten ride - you wouldn't get a better ride anywhere.”

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