Retired jumpers bring visibility to welfare commitment
Trentham racecourse will highlight life after racing with an appearance of former jumping stars Wotabuzz and Wise Men Say between races on Saturday.
The duo, who between them have claimed many of New Zealand’s premier jumps Races, are now enjoying active retirements in the Central Districts and will parade after race two at Trentham.
“James, as Wise Men Say is known at home, has always been a stable favourite of mine and I have ridden him since he was a three-year-old,” current caregiver Emma Quinn said.
“He has a big personality and is playful like a big kid in the paddock and in his work at times.
He is having a well-earned winter off and will start being ridden again during the summer. He will be hacking around the farm we live on and doing small local shows with the aim of hopefully hunting him next winter,” she said.
The 11-year-old gelding is a White Robe Lodge product who was bought by Raymond and Mark Connors out of the South Island sale before going on to win nine races in an illustrious career. In addition to his one win on the flat, and one in a hurdle event, Wise Men Say scored seven times over the big fences.
His wins included two Great Northern Steeplechases, a McGregor Grant Steeplechase and, most appropriately for Saturday, a Wellington Steeplechase.
Wotabuzz retired from racing in August 2015 as an 11-year-old after a career which saw him notch 10 wins, the highlight being the Grand National Hurdles.
“In the time I’ve had Buzz as a sport horse he has Show Jumped to 1.15m, has done flat classes and is currently my hunter. He is a super horse and I’ve had some great fun with him,” Laura Knight said.
Having retired horses parading on race day brings visibility to NZTR’s ongoing programme around welfare and traceability.
“While those within the industry are well aware of the fact that our thoroughbreds are well cared for in their post racing lives, and often pursue successful second careers in other equestrian pursuits, there is a lot of misinformation out there,” Martin Burns, NZTR’s GM Welfare & Sustainability said.
“To see horses like Wotabuzz and Wise Men Say who have been raced and now retained by their connections into retirement demonstrates the industries commitment to its horses and helps reinforce the message that thoroughbreds are for life,” he said.
“In many cases, the time and training that goes into producing a Jumps horse makes the transition to a life after racing a more straightforward one. Both of these horses are prime examples of how transferable those skills are that they pick up throughout their career,” said Burns.
For other examples of horses thriving in their life after racing, check out NZTR’s Wall of Fame for off-track thoroughbreds, from the unraced, through to Group level performers, these horses carry out roles as pony club mounts, happy hackers or even paddock mates, as well as competing in eventing, show jumping and polo.