There was a big industry presence on the Central Coast this weekend. Krissy Harris who founded the Thoroughbred Sport Horse Association has spent the last few years building her off-the-track show jumping initiative. This weekend she held the Strawberry Hills National Titles which was a thoroughbred-only show that included over 80 classes in Show jumping, dressage, and show horse classes.
Krissy received over 270 entries of retired racehorses from WA, SA, QLD, VIC, ACT & NSW. Collectively they earned over $12 million in prizemoney on the track and ranged in age from 4 – 24 years old. The national titles were held at her newly developed property Stonewall located at Mangrove Mountain.
Stonewall has first-class facilities and the racing industry hugely supported it. Everywhere you turned you could see proud sponsors’ advertisements on arenas, riders, and marquees. John Singleton from Strawberry Hills has been a proud sponsor of the Thoroughbred Sport Horses Association since its inception in 2019. So it was only fitting that he had the naming rights for the national titles. McCarroll’s Maserati was also a prominent brand on show, bringing a luxury feel to the event. They had several cars on display in the arenas as well as a VIP tent for sponsors to relax and watch the competition unfold.
Riders came from near and far to showcase their thoroughbreds including Olympians Shane Rose, Shenae Lowings, and Vicky Roycroft. Nicknamed the hardest-working jockey in racing, Jeff Penza also showcased Fireball in some mighty competitive classes. Amateur rider Sophie Scott travelled all the way from WA with ‘Skippy’ who raced as All West. Sophie is sponsored by Off The Track WA who contributed to her trip to NSW. She proudly won the TSHA National Group 1 Champion on Saturday.
Two feature classes that were on offer over the three days of competition were the team’s events. The Racing Teams showjumping challenge consisted of nine teams, with three riders in each team jumping over a course of 1.10m – 1.15m. This class held a purse of $70,000. The teams were proudly sponsored by industry leaders such as Strawberry Hill Stud, Waterhouse Bott Racing, Snowden Racing, Robrick Lodge, Mystery Downs, Emcee Apparel, Newgate Stud & SF Bloodstock, Team QLD & Shugg Group. This event attracted industry participants as well as professional equestrians and Olympians.
The second team event on offer was the invitations Maiden teams. This consisted of eight teams with three riders all riding two rounds of 80cm – 85cm. This class held a purse of $10,000. The teams were proudly sponsored by: Peachester Lodge, Parakoola Park, Breednet, Godolphin Lifetime Care, OTI Racing & Bloodstock, Thoroughbred Breeders NSW, Inglis, and Stonewall Equestrian.
The Thoroughbreds Involved
The criteria to compete your horse in any of the Thoroughbred Sport Horse Association is simple. They must be listed in the Stud Book. You simply purchase a Thoroughbred Sport Horse Association license for $55 and you are all set to enter your horse.
Some of the thoroughbreds that were competing this weekend were Grand Zulu (Grand Lodge (USA)). Who won the Group 1 BMW as a four year and collected over $1.8m in prize money over his career. At the grand age of twenty-two, he carried his junior rider William Hodgekiss around the show jumping rings this weekend.
Seventeen-year-old Cagey (Shrewdy) who raced for Matthew Smith was prominent in the show jumping over the weekend appearing in the six-bar challenge. Cagey who now competes under ‘Cage Fighter’ claimed his first four-star win under the up-and-coming rider, Sam Woods, last year.
Emily Patterson was unlucky in the OTI Racing and Welfare program and Hawkesbury River Saddle Co National Six Bar Title when coming second to Charlie Richardson. Emily Patterson rode Libertarian who raced as Liberty Shopper. Nicknamed Libby, he has been a special horse for Emily soaring over great heights at World Cup and Grand Prix levels.
Additional industry sponsors included Blake Ryan Racing, Kim Waugh Racing, Edmonds Racing, Davali Thoroughbreds, Laurel Oak, Kristen Buchanan, and Cooper Racing. Over the three days of competition, over $160,000 in prize money was on offer for off-the-track thoroughbreds. With people like Krissy Harris leading the way for retired thoroughbreds, you can’t help but feel the future is bright for our breed. Australia has a world-renowned racing industry. If we can implement solid foundations like what Krissy and the Thoroughbred Sport Horse Association have, our retired racehorses are going to have a place to showcase their second careers.
Krissy has a dream; she has the financial backing and support from our industry and this weekend we saw it as a reality. With attractive prize money opportunities like this, we can only imagine that off-the-track thoroughbreds will become more popular. A huge congratulations to Krissy’s sponsors who believed in her concept and reaped the rewards over the weekend.
To learn more about the Thoroughbred Sport Horse Association click here.