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Equine Ambassadors

 

A collection of former racetrack stars has been adopted as equine Ambassadors for Harness Education & Rehoming Opportunities.

The group is entrusted with the important role of promoting the many great attributes of recreational Standardbreds, demonstrating the breed’s exceptional trainability, versatility and level head.

HERO Ambassadors regularly appear at feature race meetings throughout Victoria, undertake Pony Club visits and present demonstrations and meet and greets at events such as Equitana and the Seymour Alternative Farming Expo.

If you are interested in having the HERO Ambassador Team attend an event, or would like further information, please email hero@hrv.org.au

Villagem 

Affectionately known as “Tas” – he was bred in Tasmania - Villagem is a 2005 foal who retired in May, 2015 after a headline-making career which netted $626,585 in prizemoney.

He won 25 races, including three Group One’s – the VicBred Super Series Final as a three-year-old, and both the Australiasian Breeders Crown and Chariots of Fire aged four.

As an open age performer, he finished third behind modern day folk heroes Smoken Up and Blacks A Fake in the 2010 Miracle Mile.

Donated to HERO by his owner Mick Lingard, Tas is a fantastic riding horse who is happiest meandering down a country road but often turns heads with his handsome good looks and has been shown with success.

Tas was a popular racehorse enjoys interacting with people and thrives in his second life with HERO.

Smudge Bromac Nz

There have been more successful pacers in Victoria than Smudge Bromac Nz but few are more adored than the little horse with a huge heart and a very big personality.

“Smudge” retired sound after a marathon 209-start career which reaped 36 wins, $460,958 in stake earnings and Cups wins at Echuca, Yarra Valley, Melton and Albury.

He relishes his new life and has taken on every challenge presented to him, including a promotional appearance to Melbourne’s Federation Square in harness alongside his favourite partner in crime, Waikare Aristocrat.

Smudge has quite a nice collection of led class show ribbons to his credit as well, and loves to ferry Santa around the local neighbourhood at Christmas in harness.

Smudge Bromac’s public appearances under the HERO umbrella serve a dual purpose – promoting Standardbred life after racing and heightening awareness of Motor Neurone Disease, a role he undertakes in honour of his former part-owner John Brain.

Im The Boss

Im The Boss, aka Boss, was a remarkable renaissance story, dominating Victoria’s Country Cup circuit in 2018 after being purchased out of claiming ranks for just $11,000 by prominent owner Luke Stokie.

His racing resume is headlined by three victories at Group Two level - the $70,000 Kilmore Pacing Cup, $50,000 Mildura Cup and $50,000 Shepparton Gold Cup.

Boss was challenged by soundness issues in the latter part of his career which were managed with the assistance of Peter Clark and the staff at Willowood Equicentre’s renowned water walker facility.

It was here that life after racing owner Sue Terry fell in love with the gorgeous gelding and was prompted to offer him a home which he now shares with fellow HERO Ambassador Smudge Bromac.

Boss had a relaxing introduction to retirement, commencing his new life with an appearance at the launch of the 2019/20 Victorian Country Cup season.

He has recently been educated for riding by Mitch Fox at Fox Equestrian who has lofty plans to campaign him on the show circuit in 2021.

A 2011 pacing-bred son of Major In Art, Boss notched 19 wins from 91 starts for stake earnings of $238,683.

Arden Rooney Nz

Millionaire pacer Arden Rooney Nz is no stranger to creating history.

A winner of 21 races including the Group One New Zealand Trotting Cup and A.G. Hunter Cup, the retired racetrack superstar is the first horse to be formally adopted as an Ambassador by Horseland’s Bendigo store.

Rooney is a 2009 foal who was retired prematurely from racing in 2016 by trainer Kerryn Manning due to injury and was entrusted to liberty specialist Steve Cox to oversee his life beyond the track.

The son of leading sire Bettors Delight has excelled in the new vocation under Cox’s guidance, showing a high level of intelligence and outstanding trainability.

He is building an impressive resume of skills, including bowing, standing on a pedestal, answering yes and no and smiling on command.

Rooney’s retraining has been supported by HERO and his racing owners Merv and Meg Butterworth of Decron Horse Care.

 

Whiskey Business

Whiskey Business could well be Australia’s most versatile Standardbred.

The popular and talented gelding is blazing a trail on Victoria’s barrel racing circuit, the latest addition to his burgeoning resume.

Whiskey Business (Minty to his friends) was bred by his owner/rider Kylee Paull, in partnership with her father John.

The son of JR Mint made his racetrack debut on Christmas Eve, 2012 with an inglorious performance, beaten 246 metres at Maryborough. It was a sign of things to come.

Minty’s 50-start career would have ended much earlier if not for the advent of ‘montes’ (trotters competing in ridden races under saddle) in Victoria.

He raced under saddle on 30 occasions and notched his only career win in a monte at Cranbourne on November 19, 2016.

To keep his mind engaged, Minty regularly enjoyed trail rides and beach outings while racing so he was a vastly experienced saddle horse by the time he retired 100 percent sound from the track in October, 2017.

Kylee’s family has long had a keen interest in pleasure harness pursuits, so it was no surprise that the gelding’s first foray into life after racing was showing.

He adapted easily, earning his most notable blue ribbons in the Standardbred harness classes at Melbourne Royal in 2018.

But the lure of the Western world, a legacy of her father’s cowboy heritage, was never far from Kylee’s mind.

Just two weeks after rubbing shoulders with the equestrian world’s elite, Minty stepped out in his first barrel race. He finished second in division three.

Minty is now absolutely loving his change in direction and consistently improving with each competition.

He was recently adopted as a HERO Equine Ambassador and is a glowing example of the breed’s exceptional adaptability, trainability and temperament.

Kasbah Kid

Bred by the Anderson family’s enormously successful Lauriston Bloodstock operation, Kasbah Kid was a $62,000 yearling purchase through the Australian Pacing Gold Sale.

He proved a shrewd investment for his racing owners, returning three times his price in stake earnings across a 62-start pacing career which produced 16 wins and 23 minor placings.

Hollis as he is best known was trained by Geoff Webster and campaigned in partnership by highly respected Thoroughbred trainer John Hawkes.

He retired prematurely in late 2020 as a result of a leg injury which curtailed his competitive career but responded well to rest, allowing him to join the HERO Program and embark on life after racing.

Hollis is a particularly handsome and beautifully conformed son of Art Major who has been selected for a special project under the care of Mitch Fox and Brooke Sweeney at Fox Equestrian.

He will be educated under saddle with a view to progressing to the show circuit in an Ambassadorial role.

His retraining journey and new career will be documented and followed over a 12-month period to demonstrate the Standardbred suitability for such a role.

 

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