Rocknroll Classic reaping rewards of QOTT Program

Warren Craven has bred dozens of horses over the past three decades, but there’s no doubt he has a special connection to one more than most.

Rocknroll Classic, the product of A Rocknroll Dance and Skip To The Beat, was the stallion that captured the breeder’s heart.

Known as “Dance” around Craven’s stable, the pacer claimed over $152,000 in prize money across 117 starts, which included 18 wins and 34 placings.

It was on January 31 this year that Rocknroll Classic ran his last race at Albion, with connections making the tough call to retire him.

“He was from one of my mares and I’ve had him all my life – he was probably one of the horses that I really had an attachment with and it was so devastating to me to have him retire,” Craven said.

“He was just a lovely natured horse…you could take him to the races and he would fall asleep.

“He wouldn’t be squealing or carrying on like a lot of stallions would.”

When it came time to deciding what to do with the seven-year-old, Craven turned to the Queensland Off-The Track Acknowledged Retrainer list and touched base with Giuditta Crisci.

“Obviously there’s some horses that you can’t rehome and when you’ve got a quality horse or a horse you think a lot of, you really want to give them the best chance for the future,” Craven explains.

Driver Dannielle Veivers with owner Warren Craven.

“Rocknroll Classic was just the quietest, wonderfully-natured horse and being a stallion, not many people would look at him.

“(Harness trainer) Jason Carkeet told me about Ditta so I enquired with her and sent her a few photos and worked out it was too good an opportunity not to let him go there because we knew he’d get looked after.

“She kept me informed the whole way through how the horse was going and said I could go up and visit him but I didn’t take that opportunity because I knew I’d be heartbroken if I saw him again.

“Ditta worked out how wonderful a horse he was and he’s moved on to a fantastic forever home.”

Rocknroll Classic was transported to Crisci’s property in Churchable via the use of the QOTT Retraining Transport Subsidy.

The subsidy provides reimbursement towards the costs of horse transportation services for horses that have been accepted to participate in the QOTT Acknowledged Retrainers Program.

Crisci currently has nine horses in her care, and had also received former thoroughbred Raceday Glamour from Gladstone and former standardbred Welsh Flint with the use of the transport subsidy.

“Part of the QOTT Program is that it’s the trainer’s or owner’s responsibility for them to travel the horses to us, which not a lot of trainers or owners know,” Crisci said.

“It’s a pretty straight forward process…it’s pretty smooth and a pretty small timeframe between applying and getting your transportation costs reimbursed by Queensland Off-The-Track.”

Crisci said Rocknroll Classic had made a flying transition to riding life thanks in part to the QOTT Subsidised Lessons Program, before finding his forever home with Jazmine Skinner at Ma Ma Creek.

“He was raised as a stallion but we did end up gelding him – he was a very, very quiet horse who would have managed just fine the rest of his life as a stallion but we don’t want to be encouraging any breeding of unregistered horses,” she said

“He was super trainable, really quiet and sensible, and didn’t show tendency to pace much at all which is really great considering how good a pacer he was.

Rocknroll Classic with Jazmine Skinner.

“Jaz has a PhD in Equine Science and is a lecturer at USQ Toowoomba so it’s a fantastic home for him – she’s very knowledgeable and very experienced.

“Jaz has ridden him around cows, machinery, she’s done some pool work and some small jumping stuff with him so he turned out really versatile, very hearty.

“I’m not entirely sure if she wants to put him into a specific discipline, just because he’s been a really great all-rounder so I think she will do a bit of dressage and a bit of jumping, a lot of trail riding miles and things like that.”

Craven still receives photos and regular updates on how his beloved former pacer is enjoying retirement, but says he’s not sure if he’ll visit “Dance” anytime in the future.

Now working with Joedy and Gary Whitaker, Craven is keen to share the benefits of the QOTT Program with other owners as they look for post-racing opportunities for their horses.

“It’s a wonderful concept and I thoroughly recommend it – all my future horses are all lined up to go through that system,” Craven said.

“I’ve got four horses with Joedy at the moment, and a couple of them have already got homes picked out already for when they retire and they’re way off being retired – that’s just from Queensland Off-The-Track and knowing people in the right horse industries which aren’t necessarily involved in racing.

“If you want to keep contact with these people and these horses you don’t lose it, because the opportunities I’ve had with people in the Queensland Off-The-Track Program – they all want to keep that contact going with you and your horse which is a special thing.

“If you’ve got a lovely horse you think something of, it’s a wonderful way to ensure their future.”

Click here for more information on the QOTT Program.

Rocknroll Classic.

By Andrew Smith