Most afternoons Graham Browney spends an hour or so having a chin wag with his old mate Roy.
He might talk about the weather, the latest news or what's been happening at the track.
"Someone will walk past and hear me talking and ask 'who are you talking to?','' Browney said.
"I tell them that I'm talking to my horse Roy. They probably think I'm mad, but I don't care.
"At my age it does me good to get out of the house for a while and I think Roy likes it too. He likes the company."
Roy is Big Roy, a five-year-old gelding by champion galloper So You Think.
Browney is a 75-year-old horse trainer based in White Hills and Big Roy is his only horse.
Earlier this month, Browney achieved something that two other trainers in Australia couldn't do - prepare Big Roy to win a race.
A maiden win at Wycheproof doesn't have the glitz, glamour and sizeable pay cheque that comes with a spring carnival victory at Flemington.
For Browney, Big Roy's breakthrough win on Wycheproof Cup day was special.
Big Roy had previously not won a race in eight starts and was unwanted by two previous trainers in Victoria and New South Wales.
"When I got the horse he lacked confidence, but it's amazing what some tender loving care does,'' Browney said.
"He's starting to build up his confidence slowly now.
"Once he builds that confidence up I'm sure he'll win more races.
"The horse wants 2400m or even further. We'll have some fun with him."
Browney paid $3000 for Big Roy and in seven starts he's had one win, one second and two thirds and earned the owner-trainer about $12,000.
"I don't pay much for my horses. I just keep it fun,'' Browney said.
The love of horses is what's kept Browney in the racing game for so long.
"I started picking up horse manure when I was five years old and I'm still picking it up at 75 years old,'' Browney said with a chuckle.
"I just love the horses and the people you meet in racing."
Browney was a jumps jockey based at Flemington where he rode "15 or 16 winners" before he rode trackwork for the likes of Australian racing greats Colin Hayes and Tommy Hughes.
About 30 years ago he moved to Bendigo and it's been home ever since.
"I'm up at 5am every morning and head straight over to the track,'' Browney said.
"I love it. I go over to the track each morning and have a great time talking to other trainers and owners.
"The great thing about training at Bendigo is the other trainers are always willing to help you out if you're having trouble.
"People like Arthur Pace and Brendon Hearps are happy to give you advice."
Browney's best horse was a tough stayer called Chopstick.
"Chopstick won nine races, including the Gunbower Cup and the Avoca Cup and ended up winning about $115,000 in prizemoney,'' he said.
"I like training the stayers...but it's much harder to win a race these days.
"You've got the big stables like Weiry (Darren Weir) sitting on you everywhere you go."
Browney is hopeful Big Roy could emulate Chopstick one day.
The next step in Big Roy's progression is a 1850m Class One at Kyneton on Friday.
"It will be a harder race for him, but we have to step him up,'' he said.
"He's getting better all the time as he builds his confidence."
Browney might be 75, but he has no plans to stop training or his afternoon chats with Roy.
"Horse trainers don't retire, they just walk away and die somewhere,'' he said with a grin.
"It's in my blood and I'll just keep going for as long as I can."
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