Tony was a Queensland Under 19 representative. But he also had close ties to the stable run by his father Darryl while he was growing up and he had been a keen follower of form to give his penchant for a punt some hope of success. He and footy mates would often get to Clifford Park races after a match. Despite some words of warning from his dad Tony took out a trainer’s licence when he was 20. He had a team of four horses and the confidence of youth. But reality soon bit.
“I thought the first horse I saddled was a certainty in a race at Wandoan and bet accordingly. The horse ran off the track at the home turn and was beaten. I was crushed and soon realised the training caper was a lot tougher than I’d first thought.’’ – Tony Gollan
Tony revived his own training business in 2003. A stroke of good fortune gave his return some early momentum. Eureka Stud father-son combination Colin and Scott McAlpine gave him a Special Dane filly which they named Temple Spirit. The filly was a great success on the track, wining eight races.