David Camilleri: Strapper for Alligator Blood

17 June 2023 Written by Sarah Marinos

We speak to David Camilleri who enjoyed success strapping Alligator Blood, winner of the 2022 Group 1 Kennedy Champions Mile.

David Camilleri strapped Alligator Blood for his win in the Group 1 Kennedy Champions Mile. Camilleri combines his shifts at the stables of Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott with his day job as a project manager for a legal firm.

Life couldn’t get much busier for David Camilleri. Four or five times a week his working day begins at 3.30am at Flemington.

After clocking off at 8am, he heads to his office at home or in the city. There are also childcare and school drop-off duties to share with his wife.

“If I’m going into the office, I bring my suit with me and shower at the stables before going into the city. The hardest part of the job is waking up in the morning – the alarm goes off and for a split second I might think ‘what am I doing?’ But I get to the stable and see the horses and remember why I set that alarm. I’m in a good space around the horses,” said Camilleri.

Camilleri is a latecomer to racing. Friends introduced him to the sport about 15 years ago and he remembers following the journeys of certain horses and gradually becoming more and more immersed in the races, the horses and what is involved in taking care of a high quality thoroughbred.

In August last year a friend working for Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott said there was a job available at the stables. He knew Camilleri was at the gym by 5am so getting up early wasn’t a problem and he knew about his passion for racing. A day later, Camilleri did his first stint.

“I’ve never been around horses – on my first day I couldn’t put a headcollar on. I’ve learned from scratch on the job,” said Camilleri.

When Alligator Blood arrived at the stables in the middle of this year, Camilleri was given the opportunity to strap him at races. Watching him win at the Group 1 Underwood Stakes in September and then the Kennedy Champions Mile in November have provided Camilleri with some of his best moments trackside.

“I see Alligator Blood every day and to see him win has been a thrill – it is the best feeling.”