Five years ago St Arnicca was selected as a yearling, out of a paddock of ten yearlings, by Jeremy Rogers for Darren Weir to settle an outstanding bill from a non-paying owner. Darren was preparing the horse on his own property to race, but due to his suspension RTD was offered the horse for sale. We accepted and paid the princely sum of $10,000 for the horse. As part of the deal, a group of mates from St Arnaud and trainer Terry O’Sullivan were keen to purchase a horse to race from Weir’s fire sale. Terry inspected all of the sold horses and liked St Arnicca the most, so RTD and the St Arnaud crew joined forces and the horse was named St Arnicca.
O’Sullivan began training the horse in his early years and he was showing good staying potential, stretching out in distance even in his 3YO season. Terry managed to win a race with him and he finished in the placings on 3 occasions until O’Sullivan was suspended after an inquiry with Racing Victoria. Paul Preusker took over the training of the horse and 10 days later he finished fourth in a listed race at Flemington, and during that campaign he raced in the S.A Derby won by Russian Camelot!
Paul is well renowned for schooling horses over the jumps and we found out early that he was very good at it. His next prep was some more staying races but with the ultimate aim of ending up at Warrnambool to see if we could win a race over the jumps with him. That’s exactly what happened and as they say in jumps racing, it’s not until their second and third season as jumpers that it completely clicks.
He was spelled after winning that maiden hurdle in July 2021 and this whole preparation was around ensuring the horse could race right through the jumps season as not all horses can do that. To Paul’s credit he kept the horse in work all through the season, and he’s consistency been amazing, bar falling in one race at Warrnambool (on the flat). St Arnicca’s jumps record this season netted 2 wins, 2 seconds and 1 fourth and earned $299,450 for his loyal bunch of owners.
They say in racing you need a lot of luck and fairy tales do come true. This horse has well and truly been on a journey, and the people who have been involved are some of racings most colourful characters. And all the way along he’s just kept trying his heart out, and last week reached the pinnacle of jumps racing by winning the Grand National. Special thanks has to go to Paul Preusker, Holly, and the amazing team at Preusker Racing for the work and care they have put into the long term preparation of the horse, and of course to the St Arnaud crew. It’s been a pleasure racing with you guys and and we can’t wait to see where this horse takes us next!