Grand National runner-up Black Apalachi is enjoying a new post-racing career.
The former staying chaser, who finished second to Don’t Push It in 2010, has been introduced to hunting, showjumping and cross-country.
The son of Old Vic, previously trained by Dessie Hughes, had a long and successful career on the track, spanning eight years. During that time, his earnings topped £459,000.
He ran in four Grand Nationals (2008, 2009, 2010 and 2012), although his only finish in the iconic race was in 2010, where he was steered into second place by Denis O’Regan.
His last run came in the 2012 Grand National, where he fell at the Canal Turn. Since retiring from racing he has been enjoying life out in the field looking after the young horses at owner Justin Burke’s Galway Bay Stud.
Last year Karol Kelly, who is now loaning him, mentioned that she would love to have a horse to take hunting over the winter.
Having ridden out for racehorse trainers in the past, she took a break from horses for about 10 years while she started a family. But after her daughter took up riding, she decided to get back into it.
“Justin said ‘why don’t you take Black Apalachi’,” Karol told H&H. “I googled him and I nearly went white!”
Karol brought “Apples” on the five-hour drive home to Enniskillen in County Fermanagh, and has been gradually introducing him to different disciplines to see what he enjoys.
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While he can be quirky, she is enjoying the challenge.
“Everything I do with him at the moment is experience,” said Karol, adding he is a “gentleman in the stable”.
“He is very excited to be back in work. He squeals like a pig — nobody believes he is 18 years old.
“I am just sampling everything and trying to see what he likes. I am leaving it up to him to tell me which discipline or sport he is comfortable in.”
Karol is having help from Martin and Rosemary Traynor and is hoping to try some Retraining of Racehorse show classes with “Apples” in the future.
She added she is keeping his owners up to date with his progress and has also been in touch with Denis, who she said was “pleased to hear” the horse is still going strong.
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