The Captain Pursues Post Racing Career in Queensland
The Captain, one of the Territory’s most remarkable thoroughbreds, will be farewelled by Clarke Racing Stables on 19 January as he embarks on a new career in Queensland.
Prepared throughout his NT racing career by 10-time champion trainer Gary Clarke (who was also recently recognised as the Territory’s 2022 Most Powerful Sportsperson), The Captain will always hold a special place in the trainer’s heart.
“I wish I had a stable full of horses like him,” said Clarke. “He is the ultimate professional and we will miss him terribly.”
Prior to being trained by Clarke, The Captain had raced in Tasmania from the stable of Scott Brunton, and collected no less than seven wins in the Apple Isle. In 2018, he then made the long journey North to compete at the Darwin Cup Carnival in the care of Victorian trainer Richard Laming.
The Captain failed to win a race during the 2018 Cup Carnival, but rather than return to Tasmania, his owners allowed Clarke to purchase him.
Under the care of Clarke Racing Stables, The Captain soon took a liking to Darwin racing and established himself as a fearsome competitor, with three consecutive wins from his first four starts from his new stable.
The Captain’s impact on Darwin Racing will not be forgotten anytime soon. He raced for four years in the Territory from the Clarke stable, amassing an incredible 17 wins from 33 starts. Making this record even more impressive, The Captain has often carried top weight, and on two occasions he was burdened with the steadier of 65.5kg, yet was still able to lead from start to finish.
Ironically, he never managed to win in the Red Centre, his five starts yielding two third placings, one of them, with 59.5kg, in the Pioneer Sprint behind stablemate Neat Feat in 2019.
Off the racetrack, The Captain is cool, calm, and collected, and is a joy to handle. Despite his relaxed demeanour, The Captain certainly knows his job when he reaches the starting gates on raceday.
During the 2018/19 racing season, The Captain stole the show at the Top End Racing Awards, taking home Top End Horse of the Year, Sprinter of the Year and Out of Carnival Performer of the Year. The following year he went back-to-back, once again winning Horse of the Year, while in 2021, he was awarded Out Of Carnival Performer of the Year.
The Captain will leave behind an incredible racing legacy, his 70 starts producing an amazing 24 wins, 13 seconds and 12 third placings, with prizemoney of $452,811.
While The Captain will be sorely missed by not only Clarke Racing Stables, but by his owners and many industry participants who have followed his racetrack career, there is satisfaction in knowing that future off-the-track success lies in store.
Clarke Racing Stables were never in a hurry to retire The Captain – he certainly wasn’t going to be rehomed to anywhere other than the best place possible.
The perfect opportunity became available when Renee Semple, daughter of Mary Semple, a part-owner in The Captain, expressed her interest in rehoming him.
Ms Semple couldn’t be more excited by the opportunity to take over the care of The Captain. However, before his arrival at his new home, The Captain will receive crucial retraining to ease his transition into a post-racing life. Natalie Siiankoski, an experienced retrainer located in Tamborine, Queensland, has been entrusted by Ms Semple to provide The Captain with this valuable support.
Following his retraining, The Captain will settle into his new home in Biloela, Queensland. Ms Semple is already looking forward to attending her local Rockhampton Equestrian Club with her star acquisition. Ms Semple indicated that she does not have a discipline in mind for The Captain just yet, but is excited to figure out what he enjoys most.
Clarke Racing Stables and TRNT Off The Track will eagerly follow every step of The Captain’s post-racing journey. On behalf of Thoroughbred Racing NT and TRNT Off The Track, we would like to wish The Captain the very best in his new life after racing.
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