The hub at Flemington will allow for this interaction, giving racegoers the ability to pat a champion. “Having a dedicated hub is going to be wonderful,” said Dr Clarke. “Although everyone is always respectful when the horses are on-course, it will be great not to have to worry about getting in the way of trainers, and just having that close access for the public.”
The hub will house a couple of the Living Legends on every race day including the Melbourne Cup Carnival, which was previously not possible due to how busy it gets. As well as a place to pat the horses, it will provide information about the horses, life after racing and how they are cared for. “We love to educate people on how well horses can be looked after even when they have a life after, then another life after, racing! Often many have come to us not straight from the racetrack, but post another career after racing, such as working in the Mounted Police like Super Impose and Chief de Beers.”
With so many champions on the roll, how will Dr Clarke choose who to send each time? “We rotate through the horses, but we will try to match them to a particular race day that may be significant to the horse, say if they won a major race that same day in the past,” said Dr Clarke. And there is never a problem convincing them to step on the float. “The horses just love a change in routine. Better Loosen Up is always looking for a turn to go out, and Might And Power never hesitated for a second when asked to leave his paddock.”
Used to travelling to different public events, some for many years now, the horses travel in a three-horse float so that they have extra space. Accompanied by a minder or two, usually including Dr Clarke as their vet, the retired legends happily mingle with the crowds, and of course, are pretty happy to help educate the younger fans in the art of feeding carrots to horses.
The on-course hub will also have the capacity to showcase detailed information on other pathways for horses after racing. This could include a former racehorse who has embarked on a new career via the Off The Track program, or a Racing Victoria-acknowledged retrainer to educate all interested patrons on horses’ careers post-racing. This new facility is sure to become a popular destination for all horse-lovers when they visit Flemington.
(Images courtesy of Living Legends)