TALENTED thoroughbred trainer Mark Everett has had to deal with some major issues in his life this past year but thanks to the support of his fiancé Vanessa Medhurst and a few genuine friends he has managed to fight his way back and reboot his career.
Just over a year ago Everett was training a team of 18 at Seven Mile Beach and producing winners with monotonous regularity.
But on Christmas Eve last year he was diagnosed with testicular cancer that was threatening to ravage his body.
An operation to remove the tumor was successful and after months of regular post-operative treatment and tests he was given the all-clear about two months ago.
During the ordeal his training business all but died despite the valiant efforts of Medhurst who worked day and night to ensure the horses were well fed and kept in great shape to race.
“The whole cancer thing ended up taking its toll on both of us,” Everett said.
“I got to the stage where I couldn’t get around and Vanessa was doing everything.”
“She lost a lot of weight and with the added pressure of worrying about me it all became too much and things started to really fall apart.”
“We lost a lot of horses and that was understandable, even though throughout the ordeal we still ensured the horses were well looked after,” he said.
Everett, 38, was born and raised in Victoria at Ballarat where he made his foray into the world of thoroughbred racing at the tender age of 10.
“I left school early and worked for Bob Smerdon and I even rode in a couple of races as an apprentice but I was always going to be too heavy so I ended up becoming a trackwork rider,” he said.
Everett worked for a number of top Victorian trainers before meeting up with Medhurst while she was working for Tasmanian trainer Charlie Goggin at his now defunct satellite stable at Geelong.
“Soon after I met Vanessa at Geelong we moved back here to Tasmania and I rode some trackwork for Charlie (Goggin) and broke a few horses in for him.”
“It was about a year later that I took out my trainer’s permit and got my first winner, Pick Up Paris, in December 2006 about two months after I got my licence,” he said.
Everett says he owes his future to a few people who stuck by him during, what he terms as the most stressful period of his life.
“Vanessa and her family were tremendous while I was laid up and one of my owners Dr Greg Pitt has been marvelous because he has stuck by me through it all,” he said.
“A few close friends helped out when they could and another trainer Rhonda Hall has been absolutely brilliant in a number of ways,” he said.
Everett has relocated his business to Dr Pitt’s Runnymede property where he prepares a small team of six of which four are owned or part-owned by Pitt.
At Tattersall’s Park in Hobart last Sunday Everett was in the winner’s circle with Rome Burns that saluted on debut at bolter’s odds ($41).
Two weeks earlier at the same venue Everett’s four-year-old mare Hold Onto Your Hat won on debut to kick-start his winning streak.
Everett will saddle up Gurlion in Launceston tonight and he expects him to make his presence felt in race two
“Gurlion did a good job at his first run back from a spell in Hobart because I probably had him a bit too fresh for that assignment but I expect him to be much fitter for the run and he should go well in Launceston tomorrow night,” he said.