A Garryowen winner and reigning Pope Cup champion are among a stellar field of 16 former racehorses from across Australia competing in this Friday’s Off The Track National Show Horse Championship.
The 16 top-level show horses will congregate at the Werribee Park Equestrian Centre at 7.30pm tonight. Invitations for the National Championship have been issued to the riders of horses that have competed successfully in their respective Off The Track state finals.
A strong contender in this year’s field is SLM Mercedes, the 2017 Garryowen and Off The Track ridden class winner at Barastoc Horse of the Year. The Zabeel gelding raced as Crosswind and had three luckless starts, before retiring from the racetrack to pursue a promising career in the show ring.
Rolex II, who won this year’s coveted Pope Cup, will return to the event in which he finished runner-up in 2016, when representing Queensland. The striking dappled grey gelding raced as Grey Assassin, winning just shy of $14,000 during his career.
Racing Victoria’s Equine Welfare Manager, Jen Hughes, emphasised the importance of providing retired racehorses with the opportunity to pursue a secondary career once they had finished racing.
“Thousands of thoroughbred racehorses have gone on to enjoy successful showing careers following their retirement from the racetrack,” Hughes said.
“They are highly versatile animals, and it is so rewarding to see them enjoying great success at all levels in their post-racing careers.
“The National Show Horse Championship is one of many initiatives undertaken by our Off The Track program dedicated to supporting retired racehorses in second careers, which is an integral part of Racing Victoria’s Equine Welfare Strategy.”
The judges engaged to preside over the ridden class include Jo McEvoy, the dressage rider and wife of Group 1-winning trainer, Tony McEvoy; as well as Jerome Harforth, the renowned showing judge and stud founder. Rounding out the panel is former Australian Equestrian team vet, Denis Goulding.
The evening will also feature some glamorous guests competing in the ‘Fashions off the Field’, which sees competitors don their finest Spring Racing Carnival outfits alongside the ultimate fashion accessory, their Off The Track thoroughbred.
The Fashions off the Field will kick off proceedings at 6.30pm, and includes both a female over-21 class, as well as males and females aged from 16-21.
Judges for the Fashions class include Chairman of the Victoria Racing Club, Amanda Elliot, and the Herald Sun’s celebrity and entertainment writer, Fiona Byrne. Equestrian enthusiast and VRC Ambassador, Georgia Connolly, completes the trio of well-credentialed judges.
For more details regarding the event or where to purchase tickets, please click here