Cunningham Sets New Goal For Stable Star

By Julieanne Horsman

Scrolling through Instagram in between jump outs, young Warwick Farm trainer Clare Cunningham spotted a post which drew her in. Entries had opened for the Thoroughbred Spring Fair, a horse show dedicated to celebrating the Thoroughbred breed. The program included loads of classes including some for active racehorses and employees of the racing industry, so Clare decided to enter with her stable favourite, Cradle Mountain.

“Dressage has always been part of his training so I thought this would be a good opportunity for us to have a day out,” Clare said. “I’m going to keep him when he retires and plan to make shows a regular destination for us. I’ve really missed them.”

Cradle Mountain will join more than 100 Thoroughbreds at Hawkesbury Showground on Sunday 29th November for The Thoroughbred Spring Fair. The event, which is in its second year, provides an opportunity for equestrians of all ages and abilities to test their skills in a variety of led, ridden and novelty classes. There are also restricted classes for horses which have come through Team Thoroughbred’s rehoming program.

Clare Cunningham and connections celebrate Cradle Mountain’s Listed Carrington Stakes victory. Credit – Bradley Photos.

“It’s a great concept,” Clare said. “The Thoroughbred is such a versatile breed beyond racing and the Spring Fair is the perfect place to showcase this. We’re having a lesson with (elite equestrian coach) Jade Findlay to tighten everything up and Mum is posting up my old equestrian gear this week. I hope that’s not too tight though!”

On the day Clare will be supported by several of her stable staff who are also competing, as well her partner, Group 1-winning jockey Jason Collett.

“He’ll play groom for the day but could be a late scratching if he has to race,” Clare said. “There’ll be plenty of us there to help each other out though. Hawkesbury trainer Brooke Somers is coming too. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”

For Cradle Mountain, The Thoroughbred Spring Fair is an important lead up to what is likely to be his final racing preparation. He will resume in the Listed Razor Sharp at Royal Randwick on 12th December, having already notched seven wins and earnings of $340,000. Not bad for a $4000 yearling. Clare credits equestrian drills for getting the best out of her horses.

“It teaches them to use their muscles and push from behind,” she said. “It improves their head carriage and helps with manners too. We gallop twice a week and need to do something slower on the other days.”

Under the Local Rules of Racing, suitable homes must be found for all Thoroughbreds at the conclusion of their racing careers. They can turn their hooves to a variety of disciplines from trail riding to jumping but regardless of potential, those who already have the basics established are much easier to rehome.

“If what we do as part of trackwork can help prepare them for life after racing, why wouldn’t you do it,” Clare said. “They can’t all be winners, but we can give them a head start on the training they need for their best shot at a winning life in retirement.”

Redzel Takes Another Bow

By Julieanne Horsman

As racegoers gathered around the Theatre Of The Horse eagerly waiting for The TAB Everest contenders to step out, many were surprised when the first horse to emerge from the tunnel wasn’t the number 1 saddlecloth carrier, Nature Strip. They curiously admired the strong, shiny bay draped in a flashy silk rug until Greg Radley’s voice boomed across the racecourse “welcome back, Redzel!” Spectators erupted into a cheer for the dual TAB Everest winner, as he made his first return to Royal Randwick since retiring from racing. The eight-year-old Snitzel gelding appeared to be relishing his new role as an ambassador for Racing NSW’s equine welfare and rehoming division, Team Thoroughbred NSW. 

Team Thoroughbred's Jeff Brasch and Clare Edlund parade Redzel ahead of the TAB Everest.
Team Thoroughbred’s Jeff Brasch and Clare Edlund parade Redzel ahead of the TAB Everest. Credit – Lisa Grimm.

Trainers Peter and Paul Snowden, in consultation with owners Triple Crown Syndications, called time on Redzel’s racing career in April after a brilliant performance for 3rd in the Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes. He had amassed prizemoney in excess of $16million, making him second-highest earner in Australian racing history behind Winx. Redzel bowed out on a high note with a record of 15 wins, including both the inaugural TAB Everest in 2017 and the second edition of the race in 2018. He also ran a creditable 8th in the 2019 TAB Everest.

Redzel retired to Bart’s Farm (formerly Princes Farm) at Castlereagh which was purchased by Racing NSW in 2018 for the purpose of equine welfare activities. The stunning 137-acre property, designed by legendary trainer Bart Cummings, is one of three owned by Racing NSW where retired racehorses including Thoroughbreds who didn’t make the track can go to be cared for and retrained for other equestrian disciplines.

“Our owners are delighted to have sent Redzel into the professional care of Racing NSW’s Team Thoroughbred,” Triple Crown Syndications Director Michael Ward said. “This way the public will be able to continue to interact into the future with a horse that has brought so much joy to so many racing fans. It is only fitting that our champions on the racetrack are celebrated in retirement and we are sure that Redzel will continue to be a great ambassador for racing in this state during his time there.”

Redzel has settled in well to his new home in a paddock with three-time Group 1 winner Happy Clapper. Over the next few months, Redzel will learn the skills needed for life after racing and fans can look forward to seeing him at out and about at major events.