By Andrew Smith
Mount Beppo is a long way from the pristine turf of the Eagle Farm racecourse – about 125km in fact.
It’s where we find former Queensland Horse of the Year Vega One enjoying his next chapter in life.
Trained by Tony Gollan, the gelding was a superstar on the track with six wins and seven placings in a glittering 32-start career, netting over $1.8 million in earnings.
It was the 2020-21 season where he posted a dramatic win in the Group 1 Kingsford Smith Cup, triumphantly steered by premier jockey Jamie Kah.
That same year, he also placed second in the Group 2 Victory Stakes, as well as in the Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap after starting as favourite.
Running his last race in The Archer in April of 2023, Vega One has now transitioned to retirement as part of the Queensland Off-The-Track Program.
He now spends his days on the property of QOTT Acknowledged Retrainer Kate Rogers.
“Vega is a bigger-than-life personality of a horse so slightly different to retrain but he’s got a real grit and determination that’s shone through obviously post racing and he’s going to make someone a very good competition horse into the future,” Rogers said.
“I don’t think you’d call him a horse - he’s more like a larger-than-life puppy dog that just wants to be with you, on top of you, play with you and be in your space so he’s certainly got a character and a half.”
Rogers is currently guiding the Group 1-winner through a 12-week program designed to provide him with a new set of skills.
“The first two weeks is about teaching the horse to be able to be lunged, doing some groundwork, desensitisation and sometimes we go back to long reining and from there we gradually build up their program,” Rogers explains.