Equestrian Life
Racing legend Fields of Omagh celebrates 23rd birthday

Fields of Omagh celebrates his 23rd birthday. © Living Legends

Fields of Omagh celebrates his 23rd birthday.

© Living Legends

Racing legend Fields of Omagh celebrates 23rd birthday

By Equestrian Life

Champion racehorse Fields of Omagh (aka FOO) has celebrated his 23rd birthday at Living Legends, the ‘International Home of Rest for Champion Horses’ north of Melbourne.

“Happy birthday FOO (aka Fields Of Omagh) 23 years young today celebrated with his favourite treats, Dutch carrots and liquorice at Living Legends. Always woolly with his winter coat at this time of year but will have a gleaming spring coat in a month on Cox Plate day,” reads a statement from Living Legends.

The champion thoroughbred raced in five Cox Plates and won the Group 1 race twice.

FOO is also partly responsible for the concept of Living Legends. It all came about when FOO’s owners sat down to discuss the issue of retiring horses. None had a farm, and they also lamented how racing fans lose contact with their champions once the curtain falls on a horse’s career. The records remain, but the horse vanishes from the public eye.

Concurrent to this fateful discussion, the Victorian Government was calling for expressions of interest in a 60ha section of Woodlands Park – a 680ha park earlier acquired by the National Parks Service – just five minutes from Melbourne Airport. Martin O’Connor, the breeder and principle owner of Fields of Omagh, made the connection and began rallying the troops. He approached Andrew Clarke – the current CEO of Living Legends – when Andrew was based at the University of Melbourne as a vet. Martin’s idea was to set up a home of rest for champion racehorses, where the public could remain involved in their life after racing. When based in the UK, Andrew did a PhD funded by the The Horse Trust, a home of rest for older horses. Naturally, he was interested in what Martin had to say. Martin had found a way to help fans reconnect with their champions; Andrew saw an opportunity to get vet students involved and eventually raise money for research. The rest is history.  Andrew laughs, “Be careful what you wish for, because you might just get it!”

That was close to 15 years ago, and today Living Legends is home to an impressive list of racing legends. You can find out more and plan your post-Covid visit here.






© copyright. Equestrian Life. Saturday, 28 November 2020