Life after racing: Lockyer Valley horse riders showcase their ex racehorses in their new careers. Photos: Supplied.
Life after racing: Lockyer Valley horse riders showcase their ex racehorses in their new careers. Photos: Supplied.

How these Lockyer gallopers excelled in life after racing

TODAY, the nation came to a stand still for the annual Melbourne Cup.

However, after racing, there’s plenty of racehorses that go on to have careers after the track.

Below are some Lockyer Valley riders who have taken on off the track thoroughbreds, giving them a new career and a new loving home.

STEEL ZIP

Mikayla Symonds riding Steel Zip.
Mikayla Symonds riding Steel Zip.

Thirteen going on two, you wouldn’t know that Steel Zip was an ex racehorse, unless you were a passionate supporter.

The grey gelding is described as a “once in a lifetime horse” that is currently ridden by Natasha Symond’s 12-year-old daughter Mikayla.

Trained by Toowoomba-based Pat Duff, Steel Zip won $970,000 from 87 starts with 11 wins to his name.

He arrived at the Prenzlau family’s home almost three years ago and has gone on to compete at Equestrian Queensland show horse competitions.

This year, along with his young rider, the dup qualified for the Interschool Queensland State Championships in Dressage as well as show horse.

They won their first garland together when competing at the Equestrian Queensland hack show at Park Ridge.

“He is one of the happiest horses I’ve ever met,” Natasha said.

“He’s 13 going on two – he loves his rolls every morning, especially when it’s muddy, and he loves to be scratched in his favourite spots.”

She said Steel was a once in a lifetime horse that was a true gentleman with a big “out-there personality”.

“The thing I like the most about Steel is how well he looks after his little rider,” she said.

“At only 12-years-old it’s a huge achievement for Mikayla to have competed Steel at the level she has with the amazing results that they have achieved in such a short time.

“It’s lovely to be a part of their journey that started when Mikayla was only six-years-old, I’m so excited to watch their partnership grow even more next year.”

NORTHERN WARRIOR

Brooke Dougall and Northern Warrior in the showjumping ring.
Brooke Dougall and Northern Warrior in the showjumping ring.

When Brooke Dougall first met her horse Chester, she was cleaning stables and paddocks at a spelling property.

Chester, who raced as Northern Warrior came and tipped the wheelbarrow over.

“I came home that day and said to mum ‘I want you to buy me Chester when he finishes racing’,” Brooke said.

Six month’s later, Chester arrived at the Dougall’s home in Prenzlau and began his retraining as an eventer.

The galloper was trained by Pat Duff, and was a stable favourite.

From 28 starts, Northern Warrior had one win and two seconds with $7,300 in prize money.

While he may not have claimed many victories on the track, the cheeky thoroughbred is excelling in his new career as an eventer.

The duo are currently competing at two star level, with the plan to progress to three star.

Recently, they claimed fourth place at the Queensland Eventing Championships, and a second place in the thoroughbred 120cm showjumping class at Larapinta Showjumping Spectacular.

“He is so brave and always tries his hardest. He knows his new job, and is really starting to love what he does,” Brooke said.

ESKIMO ROB

Eskimo Joe and Georgia Barnett navigate the cross country course together.
Eskimo Joe and Georgia Barnett navigate the cross country course together.

Georgia Barnett describes her eventer Eskimo Rob as “rather arrogant”.

The chestnut gelding raced under Beaudesert trainer Tony Perkins, with no wins and no prize money to his name.

But fast track to his life after racing, and Eskimo Rob was a star in the eventing world.

“If he doesn’t want to do something, you really have a task trying to persuade him otherwise,” Georgia said.

Now 17, Eskimo Rob, known as Moet, has retired from eventing, but has a string of accolades to his name.

He was victorious in the Warwick one star in 2017, and Toowoomba Equestrian Group pre-novice in 2017, as well as a third at Fig Tree Pocket two star in 2018.

The gelding also has a love for human food – sweet chilli chips and chocolate muffins are just a few of his favourites.

“Standing at only 15.2hh is small, but with a massive jump and a big stride to really cover the ground. He absolutely loved his second career,” Georgia said.

Moet has now retired and enjoying whatever he wants to do in the paddock after being a successful three star eventing horse.

DALE’S LUCK

Trudy Dougall and Gandy in the dressage arena. Photo: Braid Up Photography.
Trudy Dougall and Gandy in the dressage arena. Photo: Braid Up Photography.

It only took five races for Mick Miar (Sunshine Coast) to realise Dale’s Luck wasn’t going to succeed as a racehorse.

The grey geldings best result from five starts was a fourth place

But lucky for this six-year-old, he was given a second chance to be a star with Trudy Dougall.

Affectionately known as Gandy, he was spotted advertised on social media.

Today, he’s tackling the tracks as an eventer, winning his EV65 class at the Warwick Horse trials.

At the Queensland Championships, he competed in the EV80 and placed eighth from a large field of 32 horses.

Trudy said Gandy loves playing tag with the other horse’s rugs.

“We love his personality. His big eyes and willingness to have a go,” she said.

“He tries hard to please and once your have his trust, he is yours.”

BIG BISCUITS

Georgia Barnett guides Big Biscuit around the dressage arena.
Georgia Barnett guides Big Biscuit around the dressage arena.

Recently off the track, Big Biscuits has just started a career as an eventer.

Also owned by Georgia Barnet, the six-year-old made his debut in eventing this year, which was halted by coronavirus complications.

Georgia said the brown gelding was “pretty useless” on the track, but hoped he would make a top eventer.

Big Biscuits, aka, Ting, raced under Greg Cornish, and had one start with zero prize money.

“This year saw the start of Ting’s career in eventing.” Georgia said.

“Although unplaced as yet, he is progressing beautifully.

“Ting is a super sweet yet cheeky horse. Loves having the inside of his ears scratched.”

NORTHERN MAGIC

Ali Kuchel and Northern Magic at the Lockyer Equestrian Group dressage day. Photo: Braid Up Photography
Ali Kuchel and Northern Magic at the Lockyer Equestrian Group dressage day. Photo: Braid Up Photography

In his first competitive season in life after racing, Northern Magic already has a handful of blue ribbons to his name.

The galloper, trained by Blackall’s senior legend Charlie Prow, had 110 starts before loading onto a truck bound for the Lockyer Valley.

Today, he’s owned by Gatton Star editor Ali Kuchel, and has started his new career in dressage.

Northern Magic was purchased by Prow as a tried Magic Millions horse and had 15 wins and $114,000 in prize money to his name.

But in his new career, the black 10-year-old gelding has taken dressage like a pro.

Magic began his dressage career this year with the Lockyer Equestrian Group and Toowoomba Dressage Incorporated.

“He’s very quirky, which mirrors my personality,” Ali said.

“He’s often sticking his tongue out, stomping his feet or fidgeting, but he knows when it’s time to get the job done.”

Magic’s paddock mate is former Charleville galloper Café Grande, who was trained by Ron Sullivan.

Café Grande, known as TimTam, was a low-level dressage and showjumping horse before being retired.


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