By Andrew Adermann
Sarah Millard and Catch A Crystal’s partnership continues to go from strength-to-strength, taking out the 2021 Queensland Standardbred Track to Hack Finals.
The event, sponsored by Racing Queensland, promotes Standardbreds as Pleasure Horses upon their retirement from their traditional role of Harness Racing.
It also promotes the Standardbred as a successful and athletic horse that can excel in a variety of performance and show disciplines and creates opportunities for an alternative lifestyle outside of racing.
Millard and Catch A Crystal were crowned winners at the Finals in September, being asked to perform an individual led workout (conformation and correctness), and an individual ridden free workout to music.
All horses were judged in individual sections and awarded points which determined the top four combinations for each level.
“I’ve had her for six years now, and she’s just an easy-going horse – you can get on and ride her with no issues,” Millard said.
“She’s just a good-natured, quiet horse who is great to have around at home.
“I’m so proud of everything we’ve achieved together however it’s not just an individual win to me; my coach Hillary McGregor-Potter has done so much work for this.
“I’d also love to give a massive shout out to my sister; she comes to every show and helps me turn the horses out – she does everything and I cannot thank her enough.
“It’s not a win for me, it’s a win for them as well.”
This wasn’t the duo’s first taste of success, with the partnership also taking out the 2019 Queensland Standardbred Track To Hack Series.
In March 2020, the duo also took out Racing NSW’s Off The Track Series, and with life post-pandemic returning to some sort of normality, Millard says that the lure of interstate competition remains a focus going into 2022.
“We can’t wait to travel again, we’re looking forward to taking both horses again interstate and competing there,” she said.
Ay Pee Warrior (bottom right), also owned by Millard, was awarded runner up by the judges, capping off a stellar night for the astute horsewoman.
“He hasn’t been a very easy horse, but we’ve just turned so many corners with him,” she said.
“He can be a little bit difficult to ride but it was just so nice to be able to show that he can get out there and really do his best.”
Millard has been a horsewoman all her life, however, it was only recently that she got involved in the showing side of the industry, demonstrating that standardbreds are more than just racers.
“My husband’s family raced horses for a lot of years, and I’ve been riding since I was 10 but I wasn’t really serious about showing or anything like that up until about six years ago and have been showing standardbreds since then,” Millard said.
“It’s so important (to have these series’) because it gives the owners the chance to showcase the breed and to change a few stigmas that are attached to the breed.
“It gives us all the opportunity to show what you can teach these standardbreds and that they are not just for racing.”
2021 QLD Standardbred Track to Hack Series Final results:
Open Track to Hack
- Open Track to Hack Best Presented Combination: Catch A Crystal – Sarah Millard
- Open Track to Hack Overall Winner: Catch A Crystal – Sarah Millard
- Open Track to Hack Runner Up: Ay Pee Warrior – Sarah Millard
- Open Track to Hack 2nd Runner Up: Everydays A Sunday – Felicity Reinke
- Open Track to Hack 4th Place: Vision of Dubai – Amelia Dalton
Walk/Trot Track to Hack
- Walk/Trot Tack to Hack Best Presented Combination: Broken Halo – Fran Bahr
- Walk/Trot Track to Hack Overall Winner: One Little Bit – Brittany Maude
- Walk/Trot Track to Hack Runner Up: Broken Halo – Fran Bahr
- Walk/Trot Track to Hack 2nd Runner Up: Bells Beach House – Emily Turner
- Walk/Trot Track to Hack 4th Place: No Recess – Amy Cargill