For close to three decades, the Standardbred Pleasure and Performance Horse Association of Victoria’s (SPPHAV) State Showing Championship has attracted a cohort of new and experienced standardbred owners, to participate in an inclusive and detailed program of events.
The 2023 ‘SPPHAV State Champs’, as it is affectionately known to members, was another huge success, with dozens of competitors enjoying a full day of led and ridden events.
“It was a fantastic day, with lots of new and familiar faces”, said long-serving SPPHAV President, Shelley Murcutt.
“It is great to see the social side of the event, where standy owners from all across the state get to meet up face to face”.
One of the ‘new faces’ attending her first ever State Champs was successful dressage rider Jordan Gill, who brought her newcomer gelding Our Warrior, known around the stables as Mickey, to experience the atmosphere at one of Victoria’s most prestigious standardbred showing events.
“The day was amazing. Mickey is still quite green and young, but it was a great environment to take him out in as everyone there was so friendly!” Jordan says, enthusiastically.
Putting in a big day of participation across many events – a tremendous effort from a freshly retired four-year-old – and receiving a second placing in the Novice Ridden Gelding class, Mickey and Jordan were thrilled to accept the Best Performed Off The Track award, sponsored by HRV Hero, which considered the overall efforts of State Champs competitors on horses who had raced within a twelve-month period of the event date.
“I was very impressed with Mickey, who I just think is a one-in-a-million horse. He’s only been cantering for about three weeks under saddle and so to show up at such a big event and canter in both directions, especially on the circle with a rein change in the middle, was a big ask for him and it’s made me very optimistic about his future”.
Another rider who sings the highest of praises for her “exceptional” standardbred gelding is Lisa Barker, who, since falling in love with retired pacer Major Resolution four years ago, has become a force for good for the standardbred, garnering high praise and gratitude from the SPPHAV Committee for her ongoing efforts and generosity. Lisa has supported the Supreme Award at the State Champs for the last couple of seasons, additional to securing an impressive list of class sponsors through her professional contacts in thoroughbred racing, and plans to continue to do so for many years to come.
“Having such elite people involved in the thoroughbred industry willing to show support for events like the SPPHAV State Showing Championship helps to create more awareness across the racing codes and promotes that standardbreds are actually amazing horses”.
Sharing in her commitment to continued support of the breed, is long-time sponsor of standardbred events, including the 2023 SPPHAV State Showing Championship, Rebecca Cartwright from Hygain feeds.
Deeply passionate about standardbreds, Rebecca cites the “immense joy” she gets from seeing standies and their owners come together from all around the state to share in positive participation and promotion of “beautiful and talented horses”.
Representatives of SPPHAV are steadfast in their belief that “without sponsors and our dedicated Committee, there would be no events” and keen to acknowledge the following 2023 Standardbred State Showing Championship event partners:
Hygain – Rebecca Cartwright, Equinade, HRV Hero, Renown Silverware, ZEA, Nikki Burke Racing, Lisa Barker and Griffiths Racing and Invergordon Discount Feeds.
Recognition also goes to key SPPHAV committee members, with special mention to President Shelley Murcutt, who dedicated much time towards this major event planning and management.
Congratulations are extended to all participants who attended the State Champs, in particular successful event exhibitors and Hero Ambassadors Brooke Sweeney and Mitch Fox of Fox Equestrian, who won Supreme Led with Kasbah Kid, Hollie Hildebrant and Savesomtimetodream who took home the Supreme Ridden award, Keira Barton and Brentwood After Dark, who were awarded the Best Overall Horse, HRCAV and Barefoot awards, and Lesley McAleice, who won the Best Overall Exhibitor with her two horses – Darcy Park Classic Connection and Darcy Park Dark Angel.
With February fast approaching, the hardworking team at SPPHAV are looking towards the next major event on their calendar: the HRV and Barastoc Standardbred Horse of the Year (HOTY) Ring, which is being supported through overarching event sponsorship by the HRV Hero program.
Standardbred owners are encouraged to come along to the HOTY event, which is being held on Saturday February 11th at Werribee Park. A schedule of events and entry details can be found here.