Prime Trainers

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Profiles composed by Joe O'Neill

Kris Lees - Prime trainer since 2006 - NSW

Kris Lees

Kris Lees has been Prime Thoroughbreds NSW trainer since December 2005. Kris is now established as one of Australia's very best young trainers. Kris had a great season in 2009/10 season finishing 4th on the NSW Trainer's Premiership behind the powerful Waterhouse, Waller and Snowden stables. This is a remarkable effort for a trainer that had been only out on his own for six years. He had another very good season in the 2012/13 season finishing 9th on the National Trainer's Premiership. His good work has continued into the new season with Krisâs horses consistently winning races.

In only his first year as a trainer Kris won the Gosford, Wyong and Scone training premierships. In the following season, he trained two Group 1 winners in County Tyrone and Vitesse Dane. Kris won his third Group 1 race when County Tyrone won the Sydney Cup and added to this tally with Samantha Miss winning the AJC Champagne Stakes, Flight Stakes and VRC Oaks.

Kris received six horses from Prime Thoroughbreds on Bill Mitchell's retirement. He went on to win races with five of these including wins at Randwick, Canterbury and Warwick Farm. The Prime team was flying when Equine Influenza struck in August 2007 and closed down our NSW operation until February 2008. The strong team we had established was decimated but has bounced back.

Overall Kris has done an excellent job for us. His winners for Prime Thoroughbreds include Savoureux, Terra Amata, Unique, Sanosuke, Hidden Wonder, Rose Of Scotland, Under Command, Pitt Street, Funny As, Makossa, Ohmygod, Captain Chaos, Admiral's Cup, Sweet Talkin Woman, Valize, Magnifique Lass, El Tegra, Izacat, Unser, Miss Bulawayo, Albert's Image, Gold Circles, Namsarai, Our Sphinx, Ohmygod and Tuqiri.

Kris Lees offers us a high class metropolitan trainer at an affordable price.

Correct as at 19 February 2015.

John Thompson - Prime trainer since 2012 - NSW and Queensland

John Thompson

John Thompson was born to be a horse trainer. John is a 4th generation trainer and is the second son of Sydney premiership winning trainer Vic Thompson Jnr. John has been around horses all of his life and has had the best grounding a young trainer could hope for as he branches out on his own after four years as the head trainer for Nathan Tinkler's Patinack Farm Racing Stable.

John commenced working for his father, Vic, when he was the head trainer for the Ingham families Crown Lodge and then accepted the position as Sydney foreman for Bill Mitchell where he did a great job for four years. The best horses in the stable at this time were Dignity Dancer, Kenwood Melody, Snippet's Lass and Akhenaton. John was also very important in the formative years as Prime Thoroughbreds started to grow. His advice to Joe O'Neill was invaluable and always taken into account when we were placing our horses or managing their careers.

When Bill Mitchell closed his Randwick Stable down, John took up the position as head foreman for the powerful Bart Cummings' Randwick Stable. He stayed in that position for eight years and, from speaking to Bart, know that John was a highly regarded member of his team and sorely missed when he left.

Previously he was head trainer at Patinack Farm. There is no doubt this provided John with many challenges but in his quite but competent style which is his way John navigated around the problems and did a remarkable job for Nathan Tinkler.

John has really established his reputation during this four year period where he has successfully guided the careers of such outstanding gallopers at Nechita, Longport, Peron, Tremec, Pane In The Glass and Sookie.

We are thrilled to be able to support John and look forward to him training many winners for us in the years ahead.

John has done an excellent job for us including Makeadane and The Deestructor winning for us.

Correct as at 19 February 2015.

Patrick Payne - Prime trainer since 2011 - Victoria. Image © Bradley Photographers - Used with permission

Patrick Payne

Patrick Payne was always destined to be a success in the racing industry. He is the eldest member of the famous Payne family which hails from Ballarat in Victoria. He burst on the scene when he rode Soho Square in win the AJC Doncaster Handicap as an apprentice in 1992. He started riding at 14 and was the youngest rider ever to out ride his apprentice's allowance. He was closely associated with Northerly and Tie The Knot.

Patrick Payne has a long family involvement with horse racing and was granted a trainer's license in 2008. He has been quietly building a strong team out at Plumpton in Melbourne's west.

A regular at the major yearling and Ready to Run sales throughout Australasia, Patrick has had good success with his younger horses and is always on the lookout for a suitable tried horses.

Patrick takes a hand on approach to training and is known for his patience.

We first came across Patrick Payne when he started riding for us in Melbourne in the 2000's. Patrick was a superb rider possessed with a great feel for the horses under him. He rode with great success overseas and was at the very top of his game when he decided to retire due to continuing issues with his weight.

Not many jockeys make a success as a trainer but Patrick has certainly done that since he commenced training in 2008.

He has trained some very good horses with his best wins being with Laura's Charm (Sunline Stakes Winner), Capecover (Adelaide and Mornington Cups), Kerdem (Queensland Cup), Danaupain Starlet (South Australian Oaks), Princess Marissa (CS Hayes Memorial Stakes), Fieldmaster (Devonport Cup), Baron Douro, Rebel Truce, Hot Lover, Turner Bayou, and Cellarmaster.

Patrick trains from a 320 acres property at Plumpton on the outskirts of Melbourne. He has a 2400m dirt track, 2400m grass track and an 800m straight incline track.

Patrick has done a great job for Prime Thoroughbreds guiding the careers of the highly talented sprinter, Husson Eagle and the promising 2yo metropolitan winner Atalanta Miss.

As at 19 February 2015.

Adam Trinder - Prime trainer since 2018 - Tasmania

Adam Trinder

Adam Trinder comes to Prime with strong endorsement from Patrick Payne together with a recommendation from Tasmanian Hall of Fame trainer Charlie Goggin - himself a long time trainer for Prime Thoroughbreds. Adam takes the place of Stuart Gandy, who has been appointed the private trainer of the GeeGees stable of Paul and Elizabeth Geard.

Adam has been training since 2010 and has 290 winners and 13 stakes winners. His major wins include Tatts Stakes, Thomas Lyons x2, George Adams, Vamos Stakes, Magic Millions 3yo, 3yo Cup x2, Hobart Guineas 3yo, Tasmanian Guineas 3yo, Tasmanian Derby 3yo and 3yo Trophy.

Adam trains out of Devonport and has an all weather track, beach gallop and a 1600m grass gallop at his disposal. He also has a treadmill on his property.

He regularly takes his horses to Longford and Launceston to gallop them on the grass tracks.

The Hobart track is to be rebuilt after the 2019 Hobart Cup. This will leave the trainers in the south of the state without a grass track to gallop their horses on for about 12 months. It is therefore an opportune time to have the Prime horses trained in Devonport.

I'm thrilled to have Adam, a high class trainer, take over as our Tasmanian trainer from Stuart Gandy. Stuart and his team have done a sterling job for us and I thank them for their efforts.

Correct as at 6 August 2018.

Tom Dabernig - Prime trainer since 2022 - Victoria

Tom Dabernig

I have been looking for the right trainer to back up Patrick Payne in Victoria. When Tom Dabernig announced he was leaving Lindsay Park I spoke with him and he accepted my offer to be our second Victorian based trainer.

I had a lot to do with Tom when he was a foreman and trainer at Lindsay Park in SA. During the seven years I had horses at Lindsay Park we had a lot of success and Tom was an important part of some great days with horses such as Unchain My Heart, Lord Monty, Unabated, Maha Chakri and Mosse Diva.

Here is a short precise on the journey Tom has taken. He has achieved a lot and the good results have continued since he branched out on his own. Tom is the grandson of Colin Hayes AM O.B.E., and nephew of Hall of fame trainer, David Hayes. Tom grew up with racing in his blood.

Tom is a third-generation horse trainer and a family member of one of the most successful racing families in the world. Born on the 19th April 1976 and raised at the famous Lindsay Park property in Angaston, South Australia. Tom grew up learning all the facets of the family business under the watchful eye of his grandfather who was a great teacher. Tom is a quiet achiever and sat back and watched Colin go about his business. In his formative years he worked closely with his grandfather, before working full time at the property. Tom's mother, Jan, is CS Hayes' daughter and Tom's father Arthur, worked as Lindsay Park's Stud Master. Arthur worked at Lindsay Park for 39 years.

Career Timeline
1993 - Joined the Lindsay Park racing tea, working in the Angaston Stable.
1999 - worked for leading trainers in both England and Ireland.
2004 - obtained his trainer's licence.
2014 - entered into a training partnership with David Hayes
2017 - Victorian and Metropolitan Trainers' Premiership
2020 - Victorian Metropolitan Trainers' Premiership
2020 - became head trainer of Lindsay Park.
2020 - awarded leading trainer of the 2020 Flemington Spring Carnival. The highlight being Group 1 Victory with the VRC Oaks 3yo filly Personal. Between 2014 to 2020, the training partnership won 19 Group One Races.

Dabernig Racing. In 2021, Tom made the decision to establish his own business and relocated to Warrnambool, Victoria in an exciting new chapter. Tom has the experience and desire to continue to evolve as a trainer. He is passionate about the country environment as a preferred place to train horses and is eager to incorporate the beach and all the facilities that Warrnambool has to offer into his training regime.

Correct as at 23 January, 2022.


Prime Trainers


States where we race


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Years Established

Why Prime and these trainers?


Established in 1997.

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The lifetime in racing of founder and Managing Director, Joe O'Neill.

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Joe O'Neill holds AFS Licence Number 226395 and has done so since 2003. So you know that you are dealing with a licensed person who can carry on a financial services business for horse racing schemes.

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Frequently Asked Questions

All Prime trainers are chosen after careful scrutiny and recommendations. There have been changes over the years for many varied reasons. Each trainer's performance is regularly assessed to ensure the high standards and reputation of Prime Thoroughbreds is maintained at all times. This is not negotiable.

The Prime model is that communications with the trainers are coordinated through the Prime office. This avoids the situation of the trainers being bombarded by clients when a centralised approach has stood the test of time.

Stable visits are regular and are announced through the MiStable communication system. It is not possible for clients to visit a stable outside these times. Covid restrictions may affect these visits so it is wise to check this with us if required.

Prime operates a centralised billing system that handles both income (winnings less withholdings) and payments to the trainers and other suppliers. This proven method ensures trainers are paid on time and avoids them having to chase payments from up to twenty owners per horse. The system is proven.

You can find out more on the accounting system by clicking here.