By Darren Cartwright
As form lines go, Gold Coast clerk of the course and former Caulfield winner Hunger has one significant victory to boast about.
There are not too many horses that are trackside marshals and have beaten a Melbourne Cup winner at metropolitan level.
Hunger, who retained his racing name after leaving Mick Price’s Victorian stable, defeated Prince of Penzance and Floatmyboat in a 3YO Handicap at Caulfield in April, 2013.
Two years later, Prince of Penzance would claim the ultimate prize in Australian horse racing - 10 months after Hunger had been retired – the Melbourne Cup.
Hunger (pictured above, on rail, nosing out Prince of Penzance) was retired after finishing last of 12 at Flemington in January 2015.
The son of champion sire Snitzel had 19 career starts for four wins and four placings for $218,050 in prizemoney.
It would be four years before he found his way to Gold Coast Turf Club under the guidance of the clerk of the course and the club’s medical officer Kristie Deen.
“Hunger came to us in July, 2019 to start his new job as a clerk of the course. He is a lovely big strong horse and does anything to please, he loves his job,” she said.
The 12-year-old chestnut’s sidekick on race day is Smokey who raced as Gilltown under trainer Bevan Laming.
The 10-year-old grey had a short-lived racing career.
From six starts his best placing was fourth, beaten more than six lengths, in an Ipswich Maiden over 1350 metres in September 2015.
In his last race, he was 37 lengths last in a field of 10 in a Gold Coast Maiden on February 4, 2017.
The following week he was back on track at Gold Coast Turf Club and winning was the last thing on anyone’s mind.
His endearing manner was enough to land him a position as clerk of the course, Kristie said.
“Smokey had his last race here at the Gold Coast in February 2017 and ran last,” she said.
“Our clerk Kenny joked to the trainer to leave him here for a pony.
“The following Saturday, Smokey had his first day on the job and the rest is history.
“He’s a real character and everyone who meets him falls in love with him.”
These are but two retired racehorses that have found a post-race career as clerks of the course and it’s because they handle the hustle and bustle of crowds, and any other distraction, so well, said Kristie.
“They’ve already been exposed to what comes with race days, the crowd, the barriers, the speakers,” she said.
“Their temperament and attitude are probably the main factors to making a clerk horse and seeing what they’re capable of, is very rewarding.”
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