Last weekend’s 50th anniversary Barastoc Horse of the Year once again saw a stellar line-up of retired racehorses show off their new skills across the Off The Track classes.
One of the feature show horse events in Australia each year, Barastoc attracts the state’s premier horses and riders and is traditionally a happy hunting ground for thoroughbreds.
Several former stars of the track were in action at Werribee Park Equestrian Centre, the most exciting of which was ‘the horse with the heart’, Lankan Rupee.
Crowned Australian Racehorse of the Year in 2013/14, Lankan Rupee won five Group 1 races and amassed over $4 million in prizemoney during his illustrious career, before retiring and beginning his career in the show ring.
His first outing at Werribee in front of a large crowd proved a success, with the now 9-year-old gelding placing fourth in a strong field of newcomers.
It was 58-start former Bryce Stanaway-trained galloper Seal, who had his last race exactly one year ago to the day, who was victorious in the Freshman’s Class.
Seal raced as Black Soul and amassed over $100,000 in prizemoney before uniting with rider Penny Ahern, who is thrilled with how far the handsome gelding has come in a short time.
“Once he came Off The Track I sent him to the McMaster family, who are Racing Victoria Acknowledged Retrainers and Sammie put all the ground work in him and gave him a solid foundation. But his temperament is phenomenal and he tries so hard,” said Ahern.
Sunday afternoon’s ridden class also featured a star-studded line-up of both former stars of the track and champion show horses in their own right, with this year’s VAS Show Series Final winner Revelry RP, 2017 and 2018 Garryowen champions SLM Mercedes and Stage Presence all taking part.
Seasoned show horse competitors Briony Randle and her striking black gelding Entourage returned this year to re-claim their title, with their sights now firmly set on the Off The Track National Show Horse Championship at the end of the year.
“He’s been a fantastic and consistent horse for us, I absolutely love him to bits and we’ve had such a great run,” said Randle.
“He’s very cheeky, it’s all about Sunny and always on his terms when he wants to do things, but once you learn to work around his special little ways, he gives you everything.
“Last year we missed out on qualifying for the National Series because we didn’t compete in this class, so this year I was adamant we could get here and qualify for it.”