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EQUITANA Racing Amabssador - Matt Cumani

Ballarat racing trainer Matt Cumani was in his element at EQUITANA Melbourne, checking out potential ponies for his first child – who is due just days before Christmas, looking for ice boots for his race horses and loving watching off the track horses thriving in their new surrounds.

He’s from blue blood of racing and the third generation in his family to train, albeit dad Luca trained in the UK and grandfather Sergio in Italy. The racing ambassador, brother of the very glamorous Channel 7 presenter Francesca, was one of thousands at EQUITANA Melbourne’s opening day. “There’s something about the smell of horses mixed with freshly cooked donuts and coffee that reminds me of my childhood,” he says.

Horses are his life and while he dabbled in finance, business and politics, he quickly figured he wasn’t a city boy after all. Marrying Australian farm girl Sarah Bell sealed the deal and he’s back doing what he loves. “It’s great to see what our race horses can do after their racing careers finish,” he says. “I love that EQUITANA highlights Australia’s love of the horse. It’s interesting for me to see the different breeds other than thoroughbreds and great to know thoroughbreds fit in this so well. Horses are a great leveller – I can spent a day with a diverse range of people – from the strapper to the owner and they can all be side by side.”

EQUITANA Melbourne runs through the weekend, with night shows Friday and Saturday as well as all day action. More than 30,000 people are expected through the gates. For more information www.equitana.com.au .