As a winner on some of Australian racing’s biggest stages, Rightfully Yours has provided plenty of thrills for connections but few of his victories have come with the same emotion that followed his Newcomer win at Barastoc Horse of the Year 2014.
The former Mick Price-trained gelding’s success in the Ego Sunsense Newcomer Show Horse class was justification for owner Susan Gorst who had persisted with a show career for Rightfully Yours, a favourite horse of her late husband Peter.
“He was raced by my late husband who passed away just on 12 months ago and the horse was always going to stay with us,” Gorst said.
“He was one of Peter’s favourite horses and we travelled around following the horse and had a lot of fun with the family and the other owners.
“He was a favourite horse of ours when he was racing and he was always going to stay with us no matter what happened.”
The popular son of Show A Heart won 10 races in a 32 start career on the track and collected more than $550,000 in prizemoney for connections.
Under the care of astute Caulfield horseman Mick Price, Rightfully Yours’ feature victories included the Group 3 Carlyon Cup (1400m), the Listed Hocking Stuart South Yarra Stakes (1200m) and the Listed Clamms Seafood Stakes (1100m), all at Caulfield.
Despite initial concern about how the horse would handle the transition away from racing, Rightfully Yours silenced any doubters with a faultless display for rider Mark Kenzig at the weekend event, a class in which 86% of competitors were partnering off the track thoroughbreds.
“As a racehorse he was a very strong trackworker and people didn’t think I would be able to hack him once he finished racing because he ran on a lot of adrenaline,” Gorst said. “He had six months out at Monomeith Stud where he was used as a babysitter with the yearlings and he came home to me in May 2012.
“I had him at home for a while and he was just a very energetic horse and I thought I wasn’t getting anywhere with him so I rang Caroline Price, Mick Price’s wife, and asked if I could send him down for a week while I was away to see what she thought of him.
“She had him for two weeks and thought that he needed more time off to become a horse and learn to let down.”
Gorst turned to Wangaratta horsewoman Sonja Ledger and esteemed show rider Mark Kenzig for assistance, a masterstroke that has seen the horse graduate from a gifted talent on the track to a rising star in the show ring.
“Caroline asked Sonja Ledger to take him on and she just hacked him around and took him on bush rides and finally he decided to become a bit more relaxed,” Gorst said.
“After Peter became ill I knew that I wouldn’t have time for the horse so I rang Mark Kenzig and asked if he would take him for me and he picked him up on the way home from Barastoc last year and took him back to Sydney.
“He had him for 12 months and took him to his first show in November last year. “Mark just understands thoroughbreds because of his racing background and he has just been marvellous with him and hasn’t rushed him.
“I must really give a lot of credit to Sonja Ledger because she put the building blocks in place and then Mark has put on that education and finishing touches to him.”
Rightfully Yours’ win was one of a number of highlights for retired racehorses at the weekend’s feature event with Abby Heffer’s Moscow Ballet mare Pink I Am ensuring a Newcomer clean sweep by taking out Champion Newcomer Show Hunter Horse.
The win continued the scintillating form of the teenage rider and the iconic grey mare this season and followed success at the VAS Victorian Saddle Horse Championship and the Royal Melbourne Horse Show earlier this year.
Story compliments of Racing Victoria/Off the Track