Retired thoroughbred Willungapark Clifford along with his rider Hazel Shannon have made history as the first rider and horse duo to win the Australian International Four Star event twice, after claiming the title in 2016 and 2018.
For a horse that was too slow to even make it to a raceday, Willungapark Clifford sure has made his presence felt in the eventing arena, claiming the biggest title in the Southern Hemisphere twice in his eventing career.
Shannon and Clifford finished Day 1 in fifth spot after the Dressage event before a clean run in the Cross Country had the pair in second spot heading into the final day. With fellow ‘Off the Track’ thoroughbred Just Kidding in first place close in their sights, Clifford and Shannon only knocked down two rails in good time in the Show Jumping which put the pressure on the kiwi horse. Just Kidding knocked down four rails in his run which ultimately gave Shannon and Clifford the history making win.
The win capped off a memorable weekend for retired racehorses who performed admirably in all three classes - the two, three and four star events.
The leading Three Star ‘Off The Track’ thoroughbred was Here To Stay, who was ridden by Belinda Isbister and finished in fifth spot overall. The ex-kiwi horse raced under the name Spookley in his home country and he had another solid weekend in Adelaide after finishing fourth in the same class last year.
After finishing fourth in the Two Star event in Sydney earlier in the year, Glenorchy South Park and rider Niki Rose backed that up with a fourth placing in the highly competitive Adelaide Two Star event, taking out the honours of the leading ‘Off The Track’ thoroughbred.
It was also a weekend to remember for Steph Hann and her horse True Celebre who took out the Leading Young Rider – ‘Off The Track’ Award. Hann and True Celebre came from 18th position on Day 1 to finish in ninth position overall, which is fantastic achievement for the young rider from Aldgate in the Adelaide Hills.
28,000 people attended the event over the four days and it is an event Thoroughbred Racing SA are proud to support as we continue to grow and promote our ‘Off The Track’ program for retired racehorses.