19th July 2005
WHAT HAPPENS TO OLD RACEHORSES
“CHIEF DE BEERS”
Just over a decade ago, a son of Hula Chief and Diamonds For Rosie called Chief De Beers thrilled race goers with a sterling victory in Doomben’s time honoured annual feature Group 1 sprint – the Doomben 10,000. Three years later (1998) saw Chief De Beers repeat the dose, when he decimated his rivals in that year’s Doomben 10,000.
He then returned to the scene of his two great triumphs on 15/5/99 to try to do what no horse before or since has been able to do – win the Doomben 10,000 three times. Whilst the story didn’t have a fairytale ending, he was far from disgraced when running a gallant 4th of 16 to Laurie’s Lottery, Adam and Corporate James.
Chief De Beers was immediately retired – and he took with him an impressive CV.
When the judge called a halt to his racing career, the gelding had been to the races on
50 occasions. He had won 20 races, run 12 seconds and 5 thirds and earned prizemoney totalling A$1,589,650.
Incredibly, Chief De Beers 20 wins were all at the one track – Doomben. He had raced without success at five other tracks around Australia – Eagle Farm, Gold Coast,
Caulfield, Flemington and Moonee Valley.
Six different jockeys shared in Chief De Beers 20 victories. Alan Russell won 8 races
on him, Mick Dittman 7, Ken Waller 2, whilst Brad Richardson, Chris Maund and Gavan Duffy all won one race each about him.
Today Chief De Beers serves the Queensland Police force in the Mounted Police Unit. The Officer in Charge of the Queensland Mounted Police – Senior Sergeant Mark Paroz explains, “Chief De Beers was donated to the Queensland Police Service on the 14th July 1999.
As with all horses new to the Mounted Police Unit – “Chief”, as he is known around the stables, commenced re-training in the areas of troop drill, sensory activities and mounted patrol duties.
After this period of initial training Chief was exposed to all areas of mounted police duties that include Operational – Community Policing – Public Relations and Ceremonial activities. Since his arrival at the unit, Chief has completed numerous operational patrols (including CHOGM), a number of ceremonial escorts (Royal Queensland Show (RNA) Opening – Appointment of Queensland Governor) and attended numerous community events.
In the past six (6) years Chief has had a number of handlers. At the present time Chief has two primary handlers. Const. Nicole Johnson works on a full time basis at the unit and utilizes Chief for operational deployments and provides him with regular exercise. Chief’s previous full time handler, Senior Constable Belinda Worthington, has returned to the unit on alternative working arrangements and utilizes him as her mount whenever she is required to perform mounted duties. Senior Constable Worthington will be seen riding Chief through the unit’s involvement with the 2005 RNA.
Chief, like all troop horses, will continue to perform duties with the unit whilst he is sound and of good health. Quite often troop horses can continue their working life well into their 20’s”.
With Thanks to Phil Purser