AFL great Pagan makes fine start to training career

Two-time AFL premiership winning coach Denis Pagan has made a successful transition to training racehorses claiming his first winner at Sandown.

Pagan, 72, coached North Melbourne to flag success in 1996 and 1999 and has always had a long-term love of the thoroughbred.

It was through his association with Flemington trainer Troy Corstens that the spark was lit to try his hand at training horses.

Pagan, who prepared his first runner on July 4 after being granted his licence just days earlier, had his fourth starter Frankie Two Angels (Medaglia D’Oro) take out the Ladbrokes Same Game Multi Handicap (1300m) at Sandown on Wednesday.

“It’s exciting, I was really pleased with the way Lachie (King) rode it and couldn’t have been more pleased with the result,” Pagan said.

“It’s good, exciting stuff. It keeps you young.

Gr.1 VRC Derby (2500m) prospect Johnny Get Angry (NZ), a son of Tavistock, was Pagan’s first runner to finish in third position and he then followed up with a second to Alcyone (Teofilo), again at Flemington, last Saturday.

The trainer’s only “miss” was with My Squeeze Louise (NZ) (Mongolian Khan) at Seymour last week.

A $7.50 chance, Frankie Two Angels scored by a neck from Reuber ($10) with Big Day Out ($12) a long neck away third.

Pagan hopes to return to Flemington on August 8 to run Frankie Two Angels in a 1400m three-year-old race.

The son of Medaglia D’Oro was purchased at the New Zealand Bloodstock Ready To Run Sale by good friend Troy Corstens for $150,000 from the draft of Ohukia Lodge.

“I reckon I’ve owned 30 horses in the last 35 years and none of them has been any good,” Pagan told RSN radio.

“I’ve driven home form Sandown plenty of times thinking geez wasn’t that a terrible run, wasn’t that a terrible day,” he said. “But even though I was by myself,  I drove home yesterday thinking ‘this is a good caper, this horse training.”

Pagan holds an owner-trainer license and has no desire to train for outside owners and leases five boxes off Troy Corstens at Flemington.

“I’ve got eight horses with three in work at the moment and another couple that are 10 or 12 weeks away from racing,” Pagan said.

“Johnny Get Angry was bought at Karaka as a yearling and Frankie Two Angels was bought at the Ready To Runs in New Zealand.

“I’ve got to thank Troy for sourcing my horses for me. He is just about the best for someone buying between $50,000 and $150,000.

“He has done a good job getting my team and I have to thank him for not only buying my horses but setting me up. It would have been nearly impossible to train there but he has leased me boxes and given me access to his staff. I will be forever grateful to him.”

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