Former top free-for-all pacer Savesomtimetodream is the 2019 Alabar HERO Series Champion.
The 11-year-old Village Jasper gelding defeated 19 rivals to claim the state’s richest and most prestigious standardbred showing championship at Bendigo on Sunday.
The Alabar HERO Series Final carried $1000 in prizemoney for the overall winner and was staged under the auspices of Victorian Agricultural Shows Limited’s prestigious Saddle Horse Championships.
Savesomtimetodream was also named Best Newcomer, securing a $500 cheque. The Award recognised the best performed competitor less than two years off the track.
Bred, trained and owned by the Rowse family at Ballarat, he retired from a six-and-a-half-year racing career on August 25, 2017, with $222,625 in stake earnings in his bankroll.
The pacer notched 20 wins and 33 placings from 113 race starts, highlighted by successes in the Gunbower, Yarra Valley and Ararat Pacing Cups, and a semi-final of the Vicbred Super Series.
In May 2018, he was recruited by Harness Racing Australia under the banner of There Is No Finish Line to feature in a Track To Hack project documenting the transition of a retired standardbred from racing to riding.
The project included a series of on-line video diaries and regular features in Horse Deals magazine.
HRA Animal Welfare Officer and accomplished show rider Kathleen Mullan oversaw the horse’s re-education – prior to joining her care, Savesomtimetodream had never had a saddle on his back.
He was therefore the richest racehorse and least experienced riding horse in the HERO Series Final.
A three-person panel, including licensed harness racing trainer Courtney Slater and SA guest Holly Alcorn, adjudicated on the final, with just one point separating Savesomtimetodream and runner-up Maxwell Smart, who raced as Equity Wizzbang.
The second place getter was also runner-up in 2018 after winning the inaugural Alabar HERO Series Final in 2017 for owner Eboni Knights.
An Owner/Rider category, carrying $500 in prizemoney, was introduced for the first time this year.
It was won by Rebecca McGee riding Mighty Boy Lombo, a Northern Luck gelding who retired in 2013 after a moderate racing career in the NSW Riverina, which notched two wins from 28 starts.
The Child’s Ridden Standardbred went to Double Art, an Artiscape gelding who failed to place in 13 race starts, who was ridden by Emily Barton.
Maxwell Smart was the Champion Led Standardbred for Julie Knights and Rebecca Mackay was named Champion Rider in the Standardbred ring aboard Style Of Art, an unraced daughter of Kenneth J.
The Best Presented Standardbred was Kelly Stuart-Mitchell’s Gowan Brae.
The Alabar HERO Series would not be possible without the ongoing support of principal sponsor Alabar Bloodstock, and Victorian Agricultural Shows Limited.
All pictures are by Belinda Richardson of Alabar Farms.