Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Ex-racehorse wins in Melbourne

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A former racehorse who was too slow for the track has won a feature class at the coveted Melbourne International Three-Day Event for the second-consecutive year.

Pivotal gelding Dragon Flame trialed twice in New Zealand, but connections quickly decided his talents were better suited away from the racetrack.

He joined the stable of Albury-based eventer Teegan Ashby in early 2020 after the emerging rider embarked on a trans-Tasman search for a potential elite-level mount and the pair has been steadily rising through Australia’s eventing ranks ever since.

The win at Werribee over the King’s Birthday long weekend came in the ‘three-star’ class, which is essentially akin to Group 2 level in racing.

The 10-year-old was sixth after the opening dressage phase, before completing the cross country and show jumping phases without penalty to claim the win.

A relatively recent convert to thoroughbreds after growing up riding Warmbloods, Ashby said Dragon Flame, who now competes as Magic Mushroom TAE, is the perfect three-day event horse.

“I’m really rapt with him,” Ashby said.

“He’s been a great partner for the last few years and I love working with him.

“He’s been really sound and he’s a real workman.

“He loves his routine and he’s really consistent, so I know what I’m going to get with him and I think that is what makes him so reliable and so successful.

“He’s a really polite horse – he’s willing to take on what I’ve got to say but he’s enough of his own character.”

Ashby is confident Dragon Flame can take the next step to compete at ‘four-star’ level in the coming seasons.

“He’s knocking on the door (at the elite level) and hopefully he’ll be able to continue the success as he steps up in the second half of the year,” she said.

“I’d hoped to be competing in the four-star at Melbourne this year rather than in the three-star again.

“He’s won at every level I’ve completed on him and they let you know when they are ready to step up and I think he is now.”

Triple Hat Trick, who was beaten by almost 20 lengths in his only official trial at Dubbo in 2017, was crowned the best-performed ex-racehorse in the ‘four-star’ class for rider Andy Daines.

Racing Victoria, via its Off the Track program, sponsored the event and provided incentives for the best-performed ex-racehorse in each class.

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