Longclaw loving his life in the slow lane

Longclaw ridden by Michael Dee wins the Blue Meadows Fencing BM64 Handicap at Racing.com Park Racecourse on November 28, 2019 in Pakenham, Australia. (Natasha Morello/Racing Photos)

A retired racehorse may not be at the top of your average teenager’s Christmas wish list, but Sharron Lowther knew that her daughter Makayla wouldn’t have wanted anything else.

Having purchased Longclaw from jockey Laura Lafferty, who had retrained Paddy Payne’s former jumper after he had been retired from racing in mid-2021, Sharron gave Makayla the surprise gift on Christmas Day last year – and the pair have been inseparable ever since.

Longclaw won four times during his 31-start career, but after running down the field in a Maiden Chase at Pakenham he looked to have lost his zest for racing and soon found a new home with Warrnambool-based rider Lafferty.

After making some inquiries and meeting Longclaw, Sharron made an offer to acquire him and it proved one of the best decisions the mother-of-two has ever made.

“Makayla has been riding horses since she was six but this is her first thoroughbred, and she’s been loving every minute of it so far,” she said. 

“Laura had done a lot of work with him already, and he’s just been an absolute pleasure to own. We have had him at clinics and taken him competing, and he’s been absolutely amazing. Makayla has taken him to horse trials, entered him in the ride-to-time series heats and done some dressage with him, so he’s very versatile.

“He’s just really clicked with Makayla, and they have formed a beautiful bond. It’s been awesome to watch, and I’m very proud of her.”

Between studying for her law degree, working as a stablehand at Jane Baker Racing and improving her riding skills as part of Racing Victoria’s Rider Development Squad, Makayla has a hectic schedule but the 20-year-old always finds time to care for Longclaw, who she affectionately calls Beau.

By her own admission, Sharron is her daughter’s biggest cheerleader and the pair are frequent contributors to the Off The Track Community website and social media channels.

“We love posting on OTTC because it gives Longclaw’s former owners the chance to follow his new career after he retired from racing,” she said.

“It’s given me and Makayla such a thrill, and he definitely won’t be the last thoroughbred she owns.”

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