Meet master horseman – John Cremin

By Duane Ranger (Courtesy of Redcliffe Paceway)

Sunnybank couple, Neil and the late Judy Cremin, had eight children, but only one of them got the harness racing bug.

That was their second eldest – the Group One winning driver and Carbrook-based trainer, John Cremin.

The John Cremin trained and driven Glitter Strip return to the Redcliffe Winner’s Circle after nailing the fourth event last Sunday night. Photo courtesy of Dan Costello.

“Dad owned and bred some nice horses over the years, and there were none better than Peter Profit. I loved to help out trainers from an early age. That’s when it got in my blood.

“I was the only sibling who became infatuated with harness racing and made a living from it. I thought it was a great lifestyle, and after becoming cabinet maker, I made a decision that I wanted to work outdoors – primarily for health reasons.

“So, in the early 1980s I decided to get into training and driving,” Cremin said.

Attention to detail matters a lot to Carbrook horseman, John Cremin.

“Dad, aside I’m the only Cremin to really give the sport a go. Even my two sons never really took to the industry, even though Dean sometimes helps out when needed,” the 58-year-old added.

Cremin has trained 13 winners this season and 279 since December 1982, but he’s really shone in the bike.

He has saluted the judge 1,227 times since December, 10 1982. His most unforgettable moment in the sulky came at Albion Park on May 11, 2019.

That was when Cremin steered the Anna Woodmansey trained Pelosi to win the Group One $350,000 Australasian 2yo Pacing Gold Final.

John Cremin returns to scale with last-start Redcliffe winner (September 15), Steeven. Photo courtesy of Dan Costello.

Then for good measure the duo repeated the dose a month later at Tabcorp Park Menangle, when they nailed the Group One $75,000 New South Wales Breeders Challenge for the 2yo pacing fillies.

“They were memorable drives all right. Both Anna and I won our first group Ones aged 56, so there’s always hope.

“I really enjoyed getting behind Pelosi, who is now in New Zealand. In the end I actually sacked myself from the drive. I thought the horse needed a change,” Cremin said.

But Cremin insists he enjoys all wins equally, whether it be at Redcliffe Paceway, in the city, or at Marburg.

John Cremin pictured with the “rock” of his Carbrook stable – his beloved wife, Tanya.

“I love driving at all tracks, even the ones gone by like Rocklea. Every win puts bread and butter on the table when things can get a bit down, so I rejoice in them all. They can be hard to come by and it’s always heartening to win for your owners.

“I’ve always enjoyed racing at Redcliffe Paceway. It is a great club. I especially enjoyed my last two wins there,” said Cremin.

Last Sunday night (September 26) The Sunnybank-born and St Thomas More College-educated horseman trained and drove Glitter Strip to win the fourth event – the Stevie Redback Pest Control NR49-50 Pace.

Eleven days earlier he did the same behind Steeven in race 10 at ‘The Paceway – the Garrards Here On Track Maiden Pace. That was the son of Safari’s first victory and in doing so claimed a $12,000 Q-bred bonus.

Both 3-year-old geldings are owned by Cremin’s wife, Tanya. Tania Galway also has a half share in Steeven.

“We paid $6,000 for (the Trump Bloodstock bred) Glitter Strip at the (2019) Redcliffe Yearling Sale. He is by Sunshine Beach and is the youngest of five foals out of the former Red River Hanover mare, Red River Laine.

“Steeven (who was bred by Murray Cole) has been with us since November last year,” Cremin said.

Despite opening up at $18, Glitter Strip was the more impressive of the two, winning his 2,040m mobile with a 2:01.2 mile rate.

John Cremin – doing what he does best... 1,227 career driving wins, and counting.

That was 3.8 seconds faster than the favourite Steeven, who paced a 2:05 even clip in his 1,780m mobile. They drew nine and two and won by a neck and a half-neck respectively.

It was an inch-perfect drive from Cremin in both events.

“It’s extra pleasing to win especially when there’s a Q-Bred bonus attached. Glitter Strip has also won all of his bonuses. Racing Queensland needs to be applauded for this scheme.

The Cremin family from left, Dean, Neil, Leigh, Tanya, and John.

“It gives trainers and owners like me something to strive for. Like I said earlier, it keeps the bread and butter on the table and gives you an incentive to either breed or buy a locally-bred horse,” Cremin said.

“I’d swear by the Redcliffe Sale. It is very affordable and if your horse is good enough, there are Group races for breeders,” he added.

Cremin is working a team of four trotters and two pacers in Carbrook, a suburb of Logan City.

Glitter Strip and John Cremin do just enough to hold out Artistic Saint and Nathan Dawson (obscured) at Redcliffe Paceway last Sunday evening.

“I’ve got no stars but they are all good bread and butter horses. Harness racing is something that Tanya and I love and we have made a lifestyle of it during our life together.

“It all started from Dad and when I was an 8-year-old watching Peter Profit go around at Albion Park. That was in the early stages of night trotting. I used to help trainers, and my love of the game all stemmed from there,” Cremin said.

The 1966 James Scott colt, Peter Profit won 51.5 races overall – a record 43 of which were on the old right handed Albion Park track.

“Kanowski, who was also by James Scott, won a lot of races for Dad, while I’ve had some nice ones too like Kimbolton Jane (15 wins), and the 2015 Auckland Cup runner-up, Hughie Green (18 wins).”

Cremin also mentioned Melpark Royal Son (nine wins); Down Under Rors (13 wins); Psychedelic (15 wins), and from his current crop – The Night King (three wins) and Hattie (two wins).

Tanya and John live for harness racing. Their familiar green and while silks can often be seen competing at ‘The Triangle’.

‘I would never be able to do my job without Tanya. We are a team and both love the horses equally. Like my Dad, Tanya is a great role model,” Cremin said.

The Cremins have two sons – Leigh (25) and Dean (23). Their grandfather, Neil Cremin is a retired employee of the Law Society, and harness Board and club member. He was also appointed to the Appeals Committee of Racing Queensland in 2006.

Footnote: Glitter Strip (10) and Cremin will start from the second row in Race 6 at Albion Park on Tuesday (October 5).

For the record…. The Cremins’ now hometown of Carbrook was previously called Gramzow, a name of German origin. The German name was anglicised in 1916 during the First World War.

The John Cremin trained and driven Steeven (2) wins the last event at Redcliffe Paceway on September 15. That was the son of Safari’s first victory and in doing so he claimed a $12,000 Q-bred bonus.

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