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Toowoomba Cup winner thriving in the show ring after racing career

Photo credits: (above) Hoofprintz Photogaphy (below) Oz Shotz Photography

Photo credit: Oz Shotz PhotographyBy Jordan Gerrans                                                                             

Well before the Toowoomba Cup-winning career of Honey Toast finished up, track work rider Emily Hart had her eyes on the gelding.

Hart, who rides track work around the Darling Downs as well as showing horses away from the racetrack, initially was worried she would not be able to get her hands on the Redoute's Choice gelding post-racing.

“His presence just caught me, he grabs your attention and I said to the stable at the time that I would like the horse when he finishes up racing and they told me 'get in line' because there were many people who had the same idea,” Hart said.

Honey Toast put together an admirable career as a race horse, collecting $444,575 in prize money – which came from nine victories, highlighted by the 2016 Toowoomba Cup.

Just as he was successful at the races, he is also making a name for himself at events such as the T Shirt Hack Day, which was put on in conjunction with the Allora Show Society recently, with a class for Off The Track horses.

“Eventually a bit of time went by and I was able to get him,” Hart said.

“It was really easy for him to go from racing to being a show horse, he is a good doer and he was quite natural because he has always carried himself really well.

“I eased him into it, let him have a look around and he has gone ahead in leaps of bounds – he just loves it.”

Hart has owned Honey Toast for the best part of two years and while COVID has slowed down how many shows they could attend; they get to as many as possible.

At the recent T Shirt Hack Day, which was sponsored by Racing Queensland, Honey Toast cleaned up, claiming several prizes, including:  Led OTT 16-16.2hh, Champion Led OTT Hack, Supreme Led OTT, first Versatile OTT and third Ridden OTT 16-16.2hh.

“Honey has been very, very successful in the show ring and won numerous Supreme Led things, he has taken it all in his stride really, he is just a natural,” Hart said.

“He is a real show-off when he gets in there, he will arch his neck – he is a proper show-off in the ring.

“He knows when people are looking at him, he is a real professional.”

Hart noted that she saw several thoroughbreds at the T Shirt Hack Day and has gradually seen an increase in Off The Track horses at shows in recent months and years.

Honey Toast is one of two Off The Track gallopers Hart owns with the team set to have a break over the summer months and return to shows in February of next year.

“He has got the best personality, he is a really funny horse,” Hart said of Honey Toast.

“I would not say he is naughty but he is a bit cheeky, it just makes you laugh.

“He has his little quirks that I love.

“He is so funny.”

In her role as a track work rider, Hart has developed a close bond with the in-form Sir Warwick in recent months as the Jake Capewell-trained gelding has won his last four races and goes searching for his fifth this Saturday afternoon on the Sunshine Coast.

At the recent T Shirt Hack Day, the event had around 20 OTT horses attend with several posting excellent results:

Honey Toast: Owned by Emily Hart -  1st Led OTT 16-16.2hh, Champion Led OTT Hack, Supreme Led OTT, 1st Versatile OTT, 3rd Ridden OTT 16-16.2hh.

Arabian Drum: Owned by Racheal Spring, now known as Swan Lake, attended her third show since retiring OTT. She placed 1st led Tb under 15.2, Reserve Champion led Tb, 2nd in her ridden class, 2nd versatile OTT.

Deux Chevaux: Owned by Charlie Charli Willett ridden by Leanne Hartwig Ridden hack OTT retired over three years. 1st place, adults hack- 1st place, Versatile hack -3rd, Led OTT 15.2h-16h - 1st, Reserve Champion OTT hack.

Foxstreet: Owned by Michelle Gaitskell, ridden by Paul Fenton. Ridden hack OTT retired 12 months 1st, Versatile OTT 5th, Led hack OTT 2nd.

April's Luck: Owned by Danielle Salmon 1st Led OTT over 16.2hh.

Monolito: Show name Balius was ridden by Adam Oliver to win his class take out Champion OTT hack and go on to win Supreme Ridden OTT.

Croxley Fame: Trialled but never raced, owned by Kelly Sturgess - 2nd Led OTT Hunter over 16.2hh, Reserve Champion Led OTT Hunter, 1st OTT Hunter Retired over three years. 1st Adults OTT Hunter, Champion Ridden Hunter.