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Cream of the crop ready to shine at Ekka showjumping

9 August 2023

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By Andrew Smith

They may be retired, but the competitive juices will be flowing for Queensland’s former racehorses at the nation’s most lucrative showjumping event at next week’s Royal Queensland Show.

The Queensland Off-The-Track Program Showjumping Showcase, to be held next Monday, August 14, will see some of the Sunshine State’s most prominent retired racehorses go head-to-head at the Ekka.

Former Group race runners are among a solid field of 30 horses that will take to the Main Arena, including the Gerry Harvey-bred Double Impact who scored over $520,000 in prize money during a 75-race career.

Formerly trained by Peter Moody, Umanugget (competing as Victorious Hit) will also feature in the showjumping, having lined up for 10 Group races all over the east coast, posting wins at Doomben, Sandown, Devonport and country Victoria.

One of the stars of the show is sure to be Prince of Darkness, who competed on the track as Smart Devil.

The Glenlogan Stud product is now thriving in retirement following a 17-race career that earned him over $44,000 in prize money.

Sydney Olympian Ron Easey will saddle up on the gelding, who was gifted to his daughter Armani as a graduation present after his last race in 2019.

Shoulder troubles have stopped Armani from riding Smart Devil, with Ron stepping up for the Ekka where he has been competing in showjumping for around 30 years.

“I’ve done all the Royal shows in Australia and it’s the pick of the Royals I reckon,” Easey said.

“The ground is good, the people are very nice and friendly and it’s not so political as the other Royals and that’s why I go there.

“They’ve sort of combined it and put it into five or six days and it suits me the way they do that.

“They get a start every day and it gets the horse going.”

Ron Easey in action at the Ekka. (Photos: Little More Grace Photographics)

The new competition will include Australia’s largest prize money pool presently on offer for a showjumping class exclusive for retired racehorses.

An incredible $50,000 will be up for grabs, including $10,000 to the winner and paying down to 30th place.

Ron believes it has significantly upped the ante in the showjumping field.

“It’ll be very tough competition, and the best of the best will be there trying to win that prize money,” he said.

“It’s just going to be sort of like a Brisbane Cup - you’re going to have the cream of the horses there to compete with that money.

“People have got to get behind the sport a bit but I think if the racing industry keeps putting in money like this, then I think it’ll only get bigger and stronger and I’m all for that.

“I think it’s good and if we can keep something like this going it saves the thoroughbreds off the track and they’ve got a home.

“A lot of people can’t go out and afford the other horses and giving these horses to the people it gives them a good home and it makes it worthwhile and makes it competitive to get them going and get that prize money around.”

Jessica Bott, wife of thoroughbred trainer Adrian, will also be in action with Raise An Angel and Braeside Hugo (formerly Halo Diablo), while 2024 Paris Olympics hopeful James Arkins will saddle up on Captain Lightening Bolt (formerly Red Hot Hussler).

The QOTT Program Showcase will run from 4pm to 6pm on August 14.

Click here to view the full RNA show schedule.

Click here for more information on the QOTT Program.

Ron will compete on Smart Devil on Monday. (Photos: Little More Grace Photographics)