Racing Victoria’s (RV) Off The Track program is partnering with the Victorian Agricultural Shows (VAS) to present the 25th edition of the Saddle Horse Championships this weekend (4 - 5 January 2020) at the Bendigo Showgrounds.
A feature of the state’s show calendar, over 55 retired racehorses will be showcased across a number of classes including a new led state final, two sections for raceday fashions (male and female) and the ridden Off The Track state final.
A number of retired thoroughbreds competing this weekend enjoyed success in their racing days, including the former Bart Cummings-trained Precedence, a two-time Moonee Valley Cup champion who ran in the Melbourne Cup and amassed almost $2 million in prizemoney during his career, five-time Group 1 winner Lankan Rupee and Group 1 winner Zabeelionaire.
VAS Executive Officer, Rod Bowles, said the Victorian Agricultural Shows is thrilled to again partner once again with RV to present the Saddle Horse Championships in Bendigo.
“Seeing retired racehorses find a second career in showing is fantastic and a great boost to the Victorian Agricultural Shows," said Bowles.
“The feature events will be the led and ridden finals along with the raceday fashions competitions and the awards for horses that have retired from racing.
“The opportunity for competitors to obtain a retired racehorse, featuring some of the best breeding bloodstock available, is terrific and to see them go on to enjoy a new career as a show horse is wonderful."
The racing theme is not confined to the equine stars, with the events judging panel including former show exhibitor and long-time thoroughbred trainer Libby Haworth.
“I’m pleased to be invited to judge at the 2020 Saddle Horse Championships and really excited to be officiating in the Off The Track section, which is a wonderful way of promoting thoroughbreds once they have finished their racing careers,” Haworth said.
Also no stranger to the racing industry is judge Sally Watkins, whose farm runs 30 broodmares for the Inglis and Magic Millions yearling sale and who has competed on various horses at national level shows.
“I’m passionate about the beauty and versatility of thoroughbreds and looking forward to being part of the team judging the RV Off The Track ridden series state final,” Watkins said.
RV’s General Manager of Equine Welfare, Jennifer Hughes, said the opportunity to partner with shows such as the Saddle Horse Championships offers an important chance to not only promote the versatility of the thoroughbred post-racing, but also support those riders who have opted to compete on an Off The Track thoroughbred.
“There is great incentive to choose a thoroughbred as a show horse and it is fantastic that we can provide increased prizemoney and rewards for those competing in Off The Track events," she said.
"These championships are one of 200 events that RV supports annually to drive demand for the thoroughbred in Victoria, encouraging equestrians to make retired thoroughbreds their horse of choice."
For more information on the Saddle Horse Championships visit http://www.vicagshows.com.au/saddle-horse
To learn more about RV’s Off The Track program visit https://www.racingvictoria.com.au/the-horse/off-the-track