RUNNING his own horse racing business has been a dream come true for Lismore's Mitch Lowe.
Lowe left a long-term job in sports tourism last year and pounced at the chance to convert a hobby into a fulltime job.
Viva Racing has already established itself as a major syndicate across the Northern Rivers.
"It's hard work but as someone who loves horse racing it's a great way to make a living," Lowe said.
"Whether its a maiden at Lismore or a Group 1 at Eagle Farm, it's a great feeling to win a race.
"I saved up money with a group of friends (when he was still) in high school and we purchased a horse that went on to win a few races.
"We met more people in the industry during that time and our circle got bigger and bigger."
Lowe grew up riding horses at his grandparents property in Old Bonalbo.
He also had his grandfather on the other side of the family who was a keen punter which had him hooked from a young age.
Lowe has solid backing in leading Northern Rivers trainer Matt Dunn and Queensland's Michael Costa on board.
The impressive Snitz is part of their stable with the six-year-old gelding having won over $545,000 prizemoney.
"There was no dedicated syndicate like this between Newcastle and the Queensland border, the time was right to set something up with the contacts I had," Lowe said.
"It was an untapped market and we've had a 95 per cent success rate with our 10 horses having won at some point since we started, we just want to keep pushing forward now.
"Snitz is a fantastic horse, it won a listed race last year and has won others in Sydney.
"It's a great thrill for all the owners and this is what horse race ownership is about."
Lowe had emerging colt Subterranean run fifth in the million-dollar J.J Atkins (1600m) Group 1 race at Eagle Farm on the weekend.
It was a decent chance coming off the back of an outstanding win in the Group 3 Ken Russell Stakes at the Gold Coast two starts back where he came from near last to beat the opposition.
"He is not an overly big horse; however he gives 100 per cent whenever he races," Lowe said.
"These races are always tough to win with barriers and luck in running playing a huge factor."
Subterranean is raced in partnership with well-known horse racing owners Steve Grant and Ken Lowe.
A number of the Viva Racing owners are based in Ballina, Lennox Head and Lismore.