Charles Road was a much-loved stable fixture at Wexford for many years.
Striking success in the Group 2 Chairmans Quality at Randwick was a highlight of his long and prosperous career.
The winner of six races and place getter in New Zealand and Australia's most elite-level races, Charles Road was crowned Champion New Zealand Stayer for the 2017-2018 season.
We caught up with his former strapper and now caretaker, Lee-Ann Jackson.
When did you first meet Charles Road?
I first met Charlie when I travelled with him to Australia in 2019. That year I ended up spending 125 days with him in Australia (over 30% of my year). I fell in love with the big quirky boy and I asked his owners, David Archer and Diane Wright, if they would consider retiring Charlie to me when the time came.
You were involved with Charles Road during his career. How was that experience?
I was involved with Charles Road for a short time while travelling him to Australia in 2019, however this experience was amazing. Charlie was a seasoned traveler which made my job easy.
Having travelled to Australia the previous year where he won the Gr.2 Chairman’s Quality at Royal Randwick (Sydney) and placed in the Gr.1 Sydney Cup, he was well used to the hustle and bustle of Royal Randwick and the daily routines.
He was such an easy horse to ride and work with and he really relished the one on one attention that comes with travelling. He especially loved going on the beach trips and being in the water - although one day a piece of seaweed touched his leg and I very promptly ended up in the water myself! Raceday however was a different story. Charlie would get his game face on and strut around the birdcage, being such a large boy it was definitely a bit of a workout. You needed VERY comfortable shoes when going to the races with Charlie!
What does retirement now look like for 'Charlie'?
I really think Charlie is living his dream life! Firstly, he is the king of the property and everything and everyone revolves around him, just how he likes it! He is a highly intelligent horse and is always willing and interested in trying something new. He still loves working and everyday at 4pm he’s waiting at the gate for his evening ride. We have quite a few fruit trees on our property and he loves hanging out under the apple and pear trees.
I don’t think we have enough room on the page! Yes, Charlie definitely has his quicks. The one I secretly like the most is that he is a 'one person horse'. He will pretty much ignore or snub anyone that tries to give him attention aside from me. My horse friends and husband think Charlie is a bit of a snob, but I think he’s just amazing! He is an extremely clever horse which makes him so easy to train for other disciplines, however it also means you can never pull one over on him or try and trick him into doing something, he is always two steps ahead! He is a big softy and really loves attention and interaction.
Any dreams or aspirations?
I think Charlie is a handsome looking big bay and would do well in the show ring, however we’ll see how that progresses - if it’s not his thing then we’re happy just riding around home. My main dream for Charlie is for him to have a loving, happy and relaxed retirement until his final days. I have another OTT Thoroughbred that I’m also training up at the moment and planning to get one or two more. My dream would be to get them up and running to shows and show the versatility and capability of off the track thoroughbreds.
Why do you think thoroughbreds make good horses off the track?
Firstly, OTT thoroughbreds are very versatile and capable across multiple disciplines, they are also generally well accustomed to all types of handling and riding. The exposure they’ve had to vets, floating, shoeing, travelling and different riders is generally high, meaning the ground work is already done for you! I have found thoroughbreds to be very adaptable and keen learners given the right home and environment. I think it’s important to remember that racehorses have generally had very systematic routines their entire lives, so you need to establish your own set routine with them very quickly. From there, you can start to slowly alter that routine until they are comfortable and relaxed with whatever comes their way.