Lat year 20-year-old Remi Gray became the first female clerk of the course to work on track at Flemington during the Melbourne Cup Carnival. But it is for her work retraining and partnering Off The Track thoroughbreds in their new careers that Gray is really making a difference.
Gray is currently working with 12 retired racehorses, who she partners with for her clerking duties and as Polocrosse ponies. A star in her tribe of former gallopers ‘The Freak’, more affectionally known as Freaky.
Freaky is a six-year-old grey gelding who retired from racing after running fourth at Warrnambool in his last start, in February 2018. The cheeky grey had 19 starts for three seconds during a career that spanned three years.
It was his bossy attitude during his time in the stables of trainer Simone Ferchie that caught Gray’s eye.
“He was always a lead when he was working on the track and he loved having a mate, but it was his touch of arrogance and sass that caught my eye pretty quickly,” said Gray.
Gray kept her eye on Freaky and flagged her interest with connections in taking him Off The Track.
“I let Simone know I was keen to take him when he retired and she passed that onto the owners, who loved the idea of still being able to see him at the races and on Racing.com, so I was lucky enough to end up with him,” she said.
His bold nature meant Freaky was known for his efforts bolting and jacking up during his racing days, but as soon as Gray began working with him at race meetings, he took to his new role effortlessly.
“Freaky loves being a clerk of the course horse and thrives in his role,” she said. “He loves to be the boss and the naughtier the racehorse is, the better he behaves.”
In the past 12 months, Gray and Freaky have clerked at big country race meetings including the Avoca Cup, Dunkeld Cup and Ballarat Cup. A natural in the red uniform, Freaky handles the crowds well and will do anything for food or a pat.
Gray re-trains all her own clerk of the course horses, and loves working with thoroughbreds for a variety of reasons.
“I love working with thoroughbreds because they are so willing to learn and extremely versatile,” she said.
“It’s even better when I work with my own horses that I have retrained, I find it so rewarding to see what they are capable of.”
Gray was recognised for her clerking efforts when she received the Spirit of Racing Award at the Victorian Wakeful Club Lady of Racing luncheon, which she was thrilled to be recognised for.
“Winning the Spirit of Racing Award was amazing,” she said.
“Never did I ever dream of working at Flemington during the Spring Racing Carnival, let alone win such a wonderful award. To represent us ladies in our industry is a privilege, and I will always be grateful for the opportunity.”