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Jump Off on the radar for Jacquinot Bay

1. Jacq enjoying his first Strathbogie Spring last year after having recently retired. © Jacquinot Bay - Jump Off Facebook page

Jacq enjoying his first Strathbogie Spring last year after having recently retired.

© Jacquinot Bay - Jump Off Facebook page

 

By Equestrian Life

In the racing world, the majority of horses retire before they reach ten years of age. When Jacquinot Bay was born in 2007, few would predict that he’d still be racing more than a decade later. 
 
The leggy bay, by Galileo out of La La Land (Last Tycoon), was sold at the Inglis NSW Scone Yearling Sale in 2009 to a syndicate of owners. The Lindsay Park team of David Hayes, son Ben and nephew Tom Dabernig trained the horse throughout his career that spanned an incredible 82 starts for 15 wins, 13 seconds, seven thirds and $1,261,135 in prizemoney – not a bad effort! 
 
One of his most amazing wins was his last, in the Kate O'Sullivan Mile at The Valley in 2018 – as a ten year old no less! Following this win, Ben Hayes spoke of how “Jacq” was continuing to buck the trend and turn up to races as a ten year old: "We've got a stable rule that when they are that age and they put in two bad runs, that's it… but he's just so consistent and just loving his racing." 
 
Of course, no horse races forever. When the decision was made to retire him late last year as an eleven year old, there was never any doubt that this horse had another calling; fit and sound, career number two beckoned. 

 

2. Day one of training! © Jacquinot Bay - Jump Off Facebook Page

Day one of training!

© Jacquinot Bay - Jump Off Facebook Page


 
The work ethic described by his trainers was still burning bright when Lindsay Park (Euroa) vet nurse, Fiona Grundmann, was given the horse after his retirement. Jacq had been letting down in Strathbogie Hills post-retirement, when series two of Jump Off was announced. Thinking she might have a good candidate in Jacq, Fiona called friend Tracey Johnson who had previously ridden the horse in track work. 
 
Tracey jumped at the chance to again partner with Jacq. “I picked him up from Fiona's on the 16th of July and he has been training with me since, and flying!” she explains. Tracey has retrained Thoroughbreds for over a decade, however only takes on a couple at a time due to her busy work schedule running a Thoroughbred stud, riding for Lindsay Park, and looking after her two little girls. Over the years, Tracey has trained in a number of disciplines and has coached under Russell Johnstone and Scottie Barclay. Her current partnership with Jacq has been overseen by David Quick, who has been visiting weekly to help mould the partnership and act as their eyes on the ground. 

 

3. Tracey and Jacq in training with David Quick. © Jacquinot Bay - Jump Off Facebook page

Tracey and Jacq in training with David Quick.

© Jacquinot Bay - Jump Off Facebook page


 
Jacq’s work ethic as a racehorse was really quite astounding. “He was a bit of a workaholic and was happier to be in the stable keeping fit than out in the paddock eating grass,” says Tracey. “His last racing prep was over 500 days and in that prep he raced 29 times! He has A LOT of kilometres under his belt.” 
 
Jacq has turned out to be one of those horses that loves a challenge and finds interest in his work, which is why he has taken to jumping so quickly. “Some retired racehorses love to have a second career, some just want to sit back and eat grass for the rest of their days. It’s important to listen to your horse and let them choose,” says Tracey.
 
Within a month, Jacq was out at clinics and jump clubs – a big deal considering he’d never set foot in an arena during his decade-long career as a racehorse. Two months in, he was out competing… even managing a clear round on his first attempt at an event in Albury! Since then, Tracey and Jacq have attended a number of competitions, producing all clear rounds at Albury Spring Show (80 and 90cm) and then placing at Mansfield Dressage & Showjumping Championship Show in the C Grade classes. 

 

4. Jacq and Tracey at Mansfield, where they scored their first two ribbons! © Jacquinot Bay - Jump Off Facebook page

Jacq and Tracey at Mansfield, where they scored their first two ribbons!

© Jacquinot Bay - Jump Off Facebook page


 
“He’s still green and there is plenty more progress to make. But very few horses could get up and do what this boy is doing in such a short amount of time.

Of course he has some natural talent, but most of his progress comes down to his nature. He loves to work and loves a challenge and he also wants to do his best for his rider. It has been such a rewarding experience already and this horse is as sound as a bell and we really do work as a partnership.” says Tracey.
 
In its second year, Jump Off is returning with an exciting new format that will see the event open up to more competitors. There are three classes: “Just Raced” for any retired Thoroughbred racehorse that has raced or trialled within the last two years from the date of their last official race or trial; “Have Jumped” for any retired Thoroughbred racehorse with up to but not exceeding 30 EA points; and “Have Jumped Open” for any retired Thoroughbred racehorse. The $100k prize pool is split across the three categories, however half ($50k) is allocated to the “Just Raced” event. 
 
A total of 190 rider and horse combinations have registered to compete at one of three qualifying rounds across Australia (Sydney, NSW, October 2; Shepparton, VIC, October 12; and Sunshine Coast, QLD, October 19) for the chance to secure a berth in the lucrative final, to be filmed in front of a live audience at Boneo Park in Victoria on Lexus Melbourne Cup eve. Tracey and Jacq have entered the “Just Raced” qualifier event in Shepparton.

 

6. Tracey and Jacq at their most recent competition. © Girl with a lens

Tracey and Jacq at their most recent competition.

© Girl with a lens


 
“The old racing owners are aware of his journey and we’re hoping they will make it to the Shepparton qualifier,” says Tracey. Complete with a saddle pad created in his racing colours, Jacq will no doubt have plenty of supporters. “People's feedback has been great, people are thrilled to see the old boy out and loving life!”
 
Fittingly, Racing Victoria’s Off the Track program recently announced its commitment to Jump Off Series Two. RV’s Chief Executive, Giles Thompson, said the industry is again delighted to be a major sponsor and has embraced the new format of the second series.
 
“The inaugural series of Jump Off was very popular among the racing and equestrian communities, showcasing the versatility of thoroughbreds in one of the many pursuits that retired racehorses embark on in their life after racing,” Thompson said.

 

5. Tracey and Jacq in action. © Clair Dobie

Tracey and Jacq in action.

© Clair Dobie


 
Jacq is certainly an example of just how versatile the breed can be, and it’s quite amazing that he has achieved so much already in just two short months. For Jacq, who was used to marathon preparations in his first career as racehorse, there’s no doubt he’s just warming up!

This article was written in conjunction with Off The Track.
 

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