Fabulous One’s Second Act

16 May 2023

Fabulous one had an impressive racing career, amassing more than HK$7million during his time on the track! Now in the care of young Alice O’Donnell, he continues to impress in his new discipline of endurance, placing 3rd in his first 40km event and being awarded ‘Best Placed Thoroughbred.’

We caught up with Alice to learn more about Fabulous One’s second act.

How did Fabulous One (or ‘Cooper’ as you call him) come into your life?

I bought Cooper nearly three years ago – he had been off the track for a year and I intended on selling him. Somehow, he managed to stick around in my paddock, which will now be his forever home – he’s a much-loved member of our family. He’s a real character, coming inside the house and escaping his paddock in the middle of the night to go for a graze on the front lawn!

Congratulations on your recent recognition for best placed OTTB for the 40km Ride To Time event. Tell us more about that.

We had 3 hours and 20 minutes to ride a 40km track – the closer you were to the time, the better your score would be. Cooper was amazing considering it was his first ever 40km ride. We had previously only done a 20km and a 40km, but over two days. This was his biggest ride yet and he handled it like a champ.

For those that are not as familiar with endurance riding, explain it to us!

Endurance is an equestrian sport which focuses on long distance riding over different terrains. Endurance can be any distance from 10km all the way up to 160km ridden in one day!

There are two different events – Ride To Time and Enduro. Enduro is different to ride to time in that the first rider over the line wins. As soon as you cross the line you are required to pass a vet check. You need to get your horse’s heart rate under 64bpm, as well to have them sound for a trot up and hydrated.

Tell us about Cooper's life as a 'racehorse'.

Cooper was very successful on the track! He was foaled at Trelawney Stud back in 2011 and was sold as a yearling for $25,000. He raced twice in Australia and then headed to Hong Kong. All up, he won HK$7,217,605 throughout his career. He was retired as an eight-year-old and sent back home to New Zealand.

Fabulous One winning the Lantau Island Handicap.

What does ‘a day in the life of Cooper’ look like today?

Cooper starts his days demanding his breakfast and daily carrot in the morning. We will usually do a ride in the afternoon – down the road, in the arena, around the paddock or we will put him on the float and go somewhere new. He then gets his dinner and is tucked up warm for the night.

Why do thoroughbreds make sure great endurance horses?

They have such a brilliant work ethic, which makes them perfect for endurance. We definitely need to see more OTTB’s in endurance!

Do you have any future aspirations for Cooper?

I am keen to get Cooper out doing some more 40km rides next season. If I feel he is ready, we may even work towards a 80km Ride To Time event. For now though, he has just gone out for a well-deserved break.

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