Skip to main navigation Skip to main content

QOTT Acknowledged Retrainer of the Year shares love of standardbreds

23 February 2024

Share this page

Share on a platform

Or copy the page link

By Andrew Smith

Amanda Chant wants Queensland to know how rewarding working with standardbreds can be.

The North Maclean-based retrainer was crowned the Queensland Off-The-Track (QOTT) Acknowledged Retrainer of the Year at the 2023 Queensland Harness Awards on Sunday night.

“It’s a huge privilege and an honour to be named Queensland’s Acknowledged Retrainer of 2023,” Amanda said.

“Just that support of the whole community - it’s been so wonderful to be able to uphold that.

“I want to thank Racing Queensland, and my husband, who’s the absolute backbone of Neverland Equestrian Standardbred Retraining and Rehabilitation Services and me being able to pursue what I do.

“Basically my family, my friends, the whole standardbred community - with their support, it’s 101 per cent how they get behind me with everything that makes a difference.”

Both Amanda and fellow nominee Giuditta Crisci have been with the QOTT Program as standardbred retrainers since it started in 2022.

During that time, Amanda has retrained and rehomed 11 standardbreds for the QOTT Program, and currently has six horses in training at her Neverland facility at North Maclean.

“There’s so many personalities and characters that we’ve had come through Neverland, each horse so different - I couldn’t name them all individually,” Amanda said.

“Seriously, every horse that we have brings delight to the stable.

“Especially with our current horses, we have a few young ones in at the moment and to watch them grow and develop, it’s great to see them come through and shine into their lives after racing.”

Amanda Chant (L) with RQ Senior Animal Care Manager Kim Duffy.

RQ Senior Animal Care Manager Kim Duffy said Amanda had been a deserving recipient of the accolade for 2023.

“Amanda’s passion for the standardbred breed and her dedication to achieving great outcomes for the Queensland Off-The-Track Program is second to none and I am incredibly proud to see her recognised for her incredible efforts,” Ms Duffy said.

“She does an exceptional job with supporting the Queensland Harness racing industry with retraining and rehoming retired standardbreds.”

“Amanda is a life-long advocate for the aftercare of standardbreds, and she works tirelessly to ensure that each standardbred she rehomes is matched to a suitable home.

“She genuinely cares about each and every horse that passes through her care and we’re thrilled to have her on board as a QOTT Acknowledged Retrainer.”

Amanda credits her husband Lennie with encouraging her to sign up as an Acknowledged Retrainer for the QOTT Program.

“When I saw the expressions of interest come out, it was a bit of a pipe dream,” Amanda said.

“Again, it was my husband who encouraged me - he said, ‘why don’t you take that chance because you never know, if you don’t give it a go, then you’re never gonna know.’

“I’m so glad I took that opportunity to delve into it, and again, to bring through the passion that I have to do this, it’s just a wonderful opportunity.”

Amanda and Ditta are currently flying the flag for standardbred QOTT Acknowledged Retrainers.

They are keen to see more retrainers join the ranks to help standardbreds transition into life after racing.

“The support that we get – and just to know what you’ve done for those horses, they’re so underestimated in what they can do,” Amanda said.

“What isn’t there to love about standardbreds? Honestly, they are the most versatile breed you’ve got out there, they’re the most characteristic and full of personality.

“If you don’t have one in your paddock, you seriously need to think about getting a standardbred because honestly, they give 1000 per cent back to their owners once they connect.

“It’s just so rewarding when you rehome them with the right people, there’s no better feeling than that.

“We’ve got some great retrainers out there and great people that do care for these horses, so I really encourage anyone to give it a go.

“The support we’ve got in our Queensland Off-The-Track community, it’s really good - it’s really bringing a lot of the owners, the trainers, and the retrainers all together.”

Click here for more information about the QOTT Program.

Amanda at home with Tisadvanced.