AS NEWS of the devastation caused by the South Australian bushfire continues to spread, a group of Victorians have banned together to complete a generous offer.
Just to recap, several participants lost their houses, racing gear and even horses when Mother Nature showed her fury last Wednesday.
One of the hardest hit was astute horseman Phillip Westbury, who lost “everything” in the blaze.
“There is nothing left standing on the property,” Westbury said as he fought back tears. “More than 30 years of our lives gone in a few minutes.
“Gear, carts, clothes, it is all replaceable, but when you lose a whole team of horses it is devastating…we love our animals.
“We are trying to save a few, and a couple look like they may be alright, but they will never race again, which doesn’t matter, we just want to save them.”
Enter the interstaters, who have arranged for recently-retired mare All By Chance to be served by Shadow Play, then cared for until Westbury is ready to take deliver.
A winner in 1:57.7 earlier this year, All By Chance was trained by talented mentor Stephen Cleave, who arranged the mare to be served with owner Tony Pollidano.
Cleave then contacted Alabar Bloodstock, who were quick to supply a free service to Shadow Play, which boasts a best time of 1:47.4 and earnings of $1,549,881.
Elite Horse Transport will transfer the mare to Alabar’s Echuca property before moving her to Greg Streeter’s farm until she is relocated to South Australia.
“Tony had just retired the mare and was undecided as to whether he would breed from her, but when I spoke to him about the heartache in South Australia, he was quick to hand the mare over,” Cleave said.
“Alabar then threw in the service, and she will be transported and cared for until Phil is in a position to take delivery.
“It’s not just for this service either…Tony is giving Phil the mare to keep.
“It just shows how much harness racing is one big band of brothers.”
- PAUL COURTS