The Australian International 3 Day Event is the Southern Hemisphere’s most prestigious equestrian competition and this year we’ll see over thirty ‘Off The Track’ thoroughbreds competing on the world stage.
Over the last few years, retired thoroughbreds have been becoming more and more successful in the world of eventing and this weekend, two local riders will be hoping to continue that trend as they step out in the 3 Day Event with ‘Off the Track’ horses.
The 2 Star event will see Steph Hann and Isabel O’Loughlin represent South Australia with True Celebre and Lagoes Choice, their retired thoroughbred eventers.
Hann has been riding True Celebre for six years now and the fifteen-year-old horse just keeps improving with each event he contests. Like many of the retired racehorses competing this weekend, True Celebre has a fascinating story about his former life as a racehorse.
True Celebre broke his maiden at Seymour in his fifth career start under the guidance of legendary trainer Lee Freedman. He won again two starts later at Kyneton before having another twelve unmemorable starts, where his career on the track finished in 2008.
Fast forward ten years and he’s seen some success this year, with placings in eventing competitions around Australia and along with Hann, was also crowned Reserve Champion Youth Medium and Reserve Champion Youth Elementary in the SA State Dressage Championships.
The other local in competition on the weekend will be Isabel O’Loughlin and her horse Lagoes Choice. He was known as Duluth in his former life and didn’t quite have as a successful career as True Celebre In his six career starts he never got closer than 5 lengths from a win. His career started in the Mick Price stable and ended in January 2012 at a picnic meeting in Alexandra.
He’s since won events in Canberra and Lockington and after finishing in third in the 3 Star event in Adelaide last year with Andrew Cooper aboard, O’Loughlin will be hoping to go a couple better this year.
In the main event, the 4 Star competition, Cooper’s attention will be with Hunter’s Hill, a former five start maiden from the Lee Freedman yard known as Flecked. Cooper has enjoyed a lot of success overseas this year and is currently the top ranked Australia rider in eventing.
2016 4 Star winner Willunga Park Clifford returns again with Hazel Shannon in the saddle. They’ll be looking to bounce back after finishing eleventh last year but for a horse who was never quick enough to make it to the track, he’s sure turned into one fine eventer!
The Australian International 3 Day Event will begin on Thursday 15 November and run until Sunday 18 November at Victoria Park.