HERO knocks up quick half-ton as horses thrive post racing

03 January 2018
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HERO horses contesting the Alabar HERO Series.

HERO horses contesting the Alabar HERO Series.

HRV HERO continues to set the standard for life after racing with an abundance of horses being resettled post their competitive careers.

Fifty horses were rehomed in the first three months of the 2017-18 season alone, a milestone HRV HERO manager Tanya McDermott attributed to the program’s hard work and, to a smaller but equally important degree, direct rehoming by trainers.

“I continue to be amazed and proud of the support HERO receives from all sectors of the trots community,” Ms McDermott said.

“The constant inquiries and messages of encouragement that we have received over the course of 2017 have been truly extraordinary and reinforce just how much the program is valued and appreciated by the industry.

“HERO is a team effort and its ongoing success is a credit to those at the grass roots of harness racing.

“We are truly indebted to the owners and trainers who are putting in the hard yards and the big bucks in the quest for an elusive champion but remain committed to life after racing irrespective of their horse's racetrack achievements.”

One of HERO's major success stories has been the Alabar HERO Series, an annual off-the-track standardbred showcase held in partnership with Victorian Agricultural Shows Limited.

The event was recognised by Harness Racing Australia in the 2016/2017 Joseph Coulter Media Awards, receiving a High Commendation in the ‘Demonstrated Excellence In Promotion’ category.

The 2018 Alabar HERO Series Final will be held at Bendigo on Sunday, January 7, under the auspices of the Victorian Saddle Horse Championships.

The event is Victoria’s richest and most prestigious showing competition for retired standardbreds. This final offers $1000 in prizemoney for the overall winner, $500 for runner-up and $500 for the best newcomer.

The Angelique Club has generously donated an inscribed rug for both winners and two lucky finalists will each receive $500 vouchers to the Australian Equine Behavioural Centre courtesy of the Abrahams family.

Alabar HERO Series qualifiers were scheduled at more than 40 agricultural shows over the past 12 months and 27 retired pacers and trotters will travel to Bendigo for the event’s climax.

In an exciting achievement, one-third of the finalists have been re-educated and/or rehomed under the HERO Program banner.

The inaugural Alabar HERO Series winner Equity Wizzbang, whose show name is Maxwell Smart, and last year’s Best Newcomer Paragon Minda are among the 2018 qualifiers.

HERO has also recruited champion horsewoman Kerryn Manning to join the 2018 judging panel.

“It’s amazing to think that no so long ago standardbreds were still very much frowned upon in the show ring,” Ms McDermott said.

“The Alabar HERO Series has been a consolidation of a lot of hard work by many, many people over a lengthy period of time.

“Likewise it has really opened the equestrian community’s eyes to the potential of off-the-track standardbreds. The challenge is ongoing, but the progress has been extraordinary.

“Credit must go both to the owners and trainers who are nurturing horses with the potential to excel in the show ring at the conclusion of their careers, as well as the passionate standardbred enthusiasts who are taking on the re-education process and presenting the horses to an extremely high level when they do embark on their new vocation.”

HERO has recently recruited two excellent new registered retrainers.

Sarah Crowe is a university student based in Kyabram who has a passion for standardbreds and Elle Moro is a very experienced and accomplished horsewoman who recently relocated to Sebastian near Bendigo.

Ms McDermott said both would be assets and already have had their first HERO horses in retraining.

Elle is working ‘Benny’, an unnamed/unraced 2012 Angus Hall–Maori Dream gelding who cost $40,000 as a yearling and failed to make it to the races, and Eleanor Brown, a 2003 mare who failed to place in six race starts.

Sarah is retraining Thekidscalledit, a 2010 gelding who placed once in three race starts.

“The registered retrainer network is an important cog in the HERO Program’s overall function,” Ms McDermott said.

“There is always a need for more highly skilled and committed individuals with an understanding of standardbreds and their needs as they transition to life under saddle.

“Both Elle and Sarah have a demonstrated history of success and we are excited to have them both on board as HERO heads into 2018.”

For more about the HERO program go to www.hrvhero.com.au