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Most important thriving in retirement

He was a multiple Group 3 winner that was ridden to victory by the likes of Jim Byrne and Robbie Fradd, but these days Most Important is thriving under the tutelage of a 14-year-old schoolgirl from Ingoldsby.

The 10-year-old gelding by I Am Invincible out of Orange Marmalade was trained by Tony Gollan, and took home over $1 million prize money in his career before retirement in 2019.

In 42 career starts, the Linda and Graham Huddy owned horse won the Keith Noud Stakes and Sunshine Coast Cup in 2018, the Lough Neagh Stakes in both 2016 and 2017 and the Buffering in 2016.

Today though, Most Important is ridden by Clare Fedrick and is clocking up the wins in a different arena – showjumping as a champion Show Horse.

Clare’s mother Rebecca explains how a conversation with Queensland Off-The-Track (QOTT) Acknowledged Retrainer Gemma Creighton helped land Most Important in their care.

“We were after another horse for our youngest daughter Clare, and Gemma had some of Graham and Linda’s horses from Peachester Lodge over there jumping,” Rebecca recalls.

“She said ‘look I’ll give Linda a call’ and next minute Linda’s ringing me going ‘I’ve got one for Clare, if it doesn’t work out then send him home, no worries.’

“She just stuck him on the truck, and I had a general chat to her with what would happen with him, and what we would do and what it entails to be a show horse and she said, ‘yep let’s give him a go.’

“Clare was 13 when she first sat on his back and I went through the ‘he could possibly do this, he could possibly do that’ and he didn’t, he was an absolute angel.

“He took to it like no other horse ever has and I said ‘don’t expect too much the first year, he’s got to find his legs’ but he qualified for Grand Nationals and Equestrian Australia Nationals all within 12 months.

“He was just an absolute superstar and all done by Clare.

“I said to Clare ‘see this is what happens when you’ve got people that look after their racehorses - they become good horses after the track.’”

With Most Important enjoying a well-earned spell at Peachester Lodge after retiring, it didn’t take long for the Fedriks to bring him up to speed on the new discipline at their property just outside Gatton.

“Clare spent the first two weeks riding him in an arena at home, teaching him that when I ask on this command, we go on that leg for canter - just getting the confidence to trust,” Rebecca said.

“I think his biggest thought was ‘I need to please this girl’, and so he just did whatever Clare asked - he trusted her right from the get-go.

“It was just a different connection with what they had.

“We’ve had plenty of other off-the-tracks but this one was different, and I said to Clare ‘you need to really look after this horse because this one is going to take you everywhere.’”

“He’s really kind, he holds himself and he really loves to know that I’m there and it’s really just a trust thing,” Clare Fedrick added.

“He’s just really amazing to ride, he surprises me every time we go out.”

After just eight weeks of training, the Fedriks decided the time was right for Most Important to step up to competition, entering into the 2022 Stanthorpe Show.

Success immediately came with Most Important named Champion Novice and Reserve Champion Open Horse at his very first agricultural show.

“He then qualified for Sydney Royal last year, and he qualified for Grand Nationals - he’d won Champions Child Hack at about four different places to qualify for that,” Rebecca said.

“He won the Champions Child Hack at EQ Childs Horse of the Year show which qualified him for the Childs at Nationals as well.

“He went out in Sydney and once again took it all in his stride and he just went ok this is what I do.

“He was actually in the Pope Cup…that’s such a prestigious huge event and we just expected him to go round and possibly get the gate.

“All those horses that he’s going up against are horses that have been around the show ring for four or five years.

“He went out there and he actually went to sleep in the lineup because the class took over an hour to judge – he actually stood there at the side of the ring and went to sleep waiting for his turn!”

Most Important took home the Highly Commended Award that day, and also notched a third placing at the Show Horse Council of Australasia Grand Nationals in a rider class.

His success culminated in being named the inaugural winner of the QOTT High Point Horse Award at the 2022 Equestrian Queensland Awards.

The prize recognises an OTT horse who has achieved the highest points across a range of equestrian disciplines throughout the year.

“We were just going down there for a really good night, wasn’t expecting it at all and when they called my name, I was so happy and so surprised and proud of him,” Clare said.

“I was just so thankful that Linda Huddy gave him to me and it’s given me an opportunity to have a horse like him, it’s-a-once in a lifetime horse.”

As for what’s next, the Fedriks have turned their attention to the 2023 Grand Nationals and Sydney Royal Easter Show in April.

“He’s just come back from a spell, and I’ve just started bringing him back into work just in the arena - I’ll probably take him over the back again next week just so he can get something different,” Clare said.

“He’s the cruisiest horse – he’s got character but he’s easy,” Rebecca added.

“He’s a horse that wants to please, and you get those horses and they’ll do anything.”


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