Angus Blue, winner of the CCI3* at the 2017 Melbourne International Three Day Event

Retired racehorses set to shine alongside Olympic hopefuls at Werribee

Racing Victoria (RV), through its Off The Track program, has once again partnered with Equestrian Victoria to sponsor the prestigious 2018 Saddleworld Melbourne International Three Day Event (MI3DE) and reward the retired racehorses participating.

Off The Track thoroughbreds are well represented across all five classes of competition at the MI3DE, Victoria’s premier equestrian eventing competition held at Werribee Park from June 9-11.

More than a quarter of the 176 entrants are former racehorses, with 49 Off The Track thoroughbreds set to compete this weekend. 

Off The Track is the naming rights sponsor of the CCI1* and CCI1*Junior classes, considered the entry level to international elite level competition, and the program will also offer prizes for the best-performed retired racehorse in the CCI3*, CIC3*, CCI2*, CCI1* and CCI1* Junior classes.

As well as the star-studded line-up of former gallopers, another highlight of this year’s event is retired racehorse Koko Story and his rider, Rob Palm. 

Palm discovered Koko Story as a five-year-old in the stable of Gold Coast trainer Gillian Heinrich. Following three lacklustre barrier trials the chestnut gelding, then named Southern Pride, was retired. 

Since retiring from the racetrack, Koko Story has scaled the lofty heights of eventing to reach CCI3* level. Palm will compete the 10-year-old in the CIC3* class this week as a final tune-up before they plan to venture to Europe, with the aim of representing Australia at the CHIO Aachen in July.

Another standout entrant competing in the Off The Track CCI1* is 2016 Triequithon winner Viewbank Icon, who was beaten by a combined 50 lengths in his three career starts on the racetrack but is now a fierce competitor on the eventing circuit. 

Well-bred Testa Rossa gelding Ruadhan, who retired in 2011 after 22 starts for Victoria’s leading trainer Darren Weir, will compete in the CCI2* class with rider Jessica Forth, who has worked up the grades in recent years with her 12-year-old. 

“Racing Victoria is thrilled to be involved once again in the Melbourne International Three Day Event through our Off The Track program,” said RV’s Equine Welfare Coordinator, Lauren Moor. 

“The impressive number of retired racehorses competing in eventing is testament to their suitability to all equestrian disciplines following retirement from the racetrack.

“It was a thrill to see an ex-racehorse win last year’s CCI3*, which really demonstrates their suitability to the sport, and we look forward to witnessing many more highlights in this year’s event.”

Click here for more information about the Saddleworld Melbourne International Three Day Event, and here for more information about the Off The Track program.