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Rewriting the laws of nature

At a time when the public focus rightfully is on the care and welfare of former racehorses, Iron Law is the poster boy for all retired gallopers.

The now 34-year-old has been owned and cared for by Bob Law since he purchased him as a weanling in 1990 and the former Morphettville trainer was years ahead of any campaigns in making sure his stable favourite would eventually enjoy a fulfilling retirement.

It’s fair to say that, as a racehorse, Iron Law didn’t set the world on fire. After struggling and not putting in early, Law finally got him to win races at Quorn and Port Augusta.

“I think he only eventually won because of the rider,” Law recalls.

“Ruth McMillan didn’t take any nonsense from hm and made him do it on race day. She’d ridden him in work and knew how to handle him. I don’t think he’d have won any races without her.”

Law, 82, is also long retired, having put the polish on the last of his runners as an owner-trainer in the late 1990s. Without doubt, he trained better horses than Iron Law – when he was preparing his very small team at headquarters, he landed good city races with the smart gallopers Royal Realm and Sport Scene. Despite that, he never trained a horse with which he achieved such an affinity.

Iron Law, or Jack as he affectionately known, had been living the good life on four tree-studded hectares near Clarendon. 

“I had a few others, but they got old and passed away,” Law says. “He’s outlived them all. He loves where he is, I think that contentment is one of the reasons he’s lived healthy for so long. On the one occasion he was away from his paddock, he wouldn’t eat, he was miserable. Actually, Jack was sulking. When he came back, he wouldn’t stop eating.

 “He’s very happy roaming around 10 acres and can do anything he wants. I still feed him morning and night and he’s always rugged during the winter time and during the nights even in the warmer months because it can get pretty cold up in the hills. If it’s going to be a nice day, I’ll take the rug off him during the day. He never wants for anything.”

Law stops short of saying his wonder horse is pampered but no measure has been spared in caring for the old gelding. Law pays a physio to come up from the South-east on a regular basis to attend the horse and keep him in the best condition possible.

Horse nutrition specialist Hygain, in conjunction with Thorough Care SA, have honoured Iron Law with a special gift to commemorate the horses’ birthday on August 1 - an Off the Track Seniors Appreciation pack. Available for older horses retired for more than four years, Iron Law qualifies many times over.

Meanwhile, Law says age is just a number to the old champ: “He came to me when he was just six months old and found a home for life. There’s no sign of him slowing down, he still runs around like a two-year-old.”

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