Over 50 retired racehorses will showcase their new talents as showjumpers when they compete in the final of Jump Off Series Two tomorrow (Monday 4 November) at Boneo Park Equestrian Centre on the Mornington Peninsula.
Jump Off is a reality television series that celebrates the versatility of thoroughbred racehorses, with Racing Victoria’s (RV) Off The Track program a major sponsor.
After its successful launch in Victoria in 2018, Jump Off Series Two has broadened to a national competition with an exciting format offering more retired racehorses and their riders the chance to compete for Australia's richest show jumping purse of $100,000.
With 54 ex-racehorses competing across three categories, including Just Raced (open to any retired thoroughbred that has raced or trialled within the last two years); Have Jumped (open to retired thoroughbred racehorses which are ranked with less than 30 Equestrian Australia points); and Have Jumped Open (open to any retired thoroughbred racehorse) there will be plenty of action for the crowd to enjoy.
Included among the competitors is equestrian royalty Vicki Roycroft, a member of three Olympic and three world championship teams in eventing and showjumping. She will compete on Austin’s Cane, an 11-year-old gelding who had 24 career starts for two wins on the racetrack, in the Have Jumped category.
Roycroft is one of the most successful Australian riders at world cup finals and is considered the best performed showjumper in Australia, having been selected as a member of more International teams than any other Australian showjumper.
Also competing in the Have Jumped category is professional jockey Jeff Penza, who has returned to the saddle after suffering serious injuries as a result a race fall in Queensland in 2018.
Known as one of the hardest working riders in the land, Penza rode in 257 races last season for 34 winners and 69 placings, and will compete on 11-year-old gelding Fireball, whom he partnered to two of its seven victories on the racetrack.
A number of RV Acknowledged Retrainers will also compete for glory in the final, which will be filmed in front of a live audience, including Samantha McMaster and Setcon in the Just Raced category.
Earlier this year, Samantha, along with her sister Sarah McMaster, partnered with leading Victorian stable Lindsay Park, headed up by David and Ben Hayes and Tom Dabernig, to rehome all of stable’s thoroughbreds in their post racing lives.
Also competing on a recently retired galloper will be Robert Palm from Regulator Thoroughbreds and Performance Horses, a Victorian organisation that provides pre-training and education of thoroughbreds and performance horses of all ages and disciplines.
Palm will compete on Honey Steel’s Gold, a nine-year-old chestnut who clocked up nine wins in a 62-start career including the Marong Cup (2200m) in February 2017. Previously trained by the Lindsay Park team, the gelding enjoyed success on both the flat and over jumps, amassing more than $500,000 in prizemoney before being retired in late 2018.
RV’s Chief Executive, Giles Thompson, said the racing and equestrian industries had both thrown their support behind Jump Off Series Two and the stage was set for an exciting finale during the biggest week of the year in Australian racing.
“When series two of Jump Off was announced we saw an increase in the demand for thoroughbreds as riders sought out competitors for this unique event which was pleasing to see,” Thompson said.
“Thoroughbreds are a highly versatile animal and to see them leave the racetrack and be retrained to develop the skills needed to showjump is great to see.
“The horses competing in the Jump Off Series Two final are all retired racehorses who have come through qualifying heats in Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland for their shot at glory on Melbourne Cup eve.
“Through our Off The Track program, Racing Victoria has sponsored more than 700 equestrian events in which over 15,000 retired racehorses have competed and we’re pleased to have extended that sponsorship this year to Jump Off Series Two.”
RV’s Off The Track program drives demand for the thoroughbred as performance and pleasure horses, as well as providing education on the various post-racing options, versatility, and appropriate care and retraining of the breed.
For more information on Off The Track, visit https://www.racingvictoria.com.au/the-horse/off-the-track or to register interest in attending the Jump Off Series Two final at Boneo Park, visit www.facebook.com/jumpoffaus.
Produced by Showmakers, Jump Off Series Two airs on the Seven Network with the final to be broadcast on Sunday afternoon, 17 November.