The Australian Racing and Equine Academy lost a long-serving member of its team following the recent passing of former racehorse turned schoolmaster, Hot Fish.
Despite achieving limited success on the track, the gelding will be best remembered for his contribution to racing after retiring in the mid-1990s.
Hot Fish was donated by owner Michael Doyle for the benefit of educating a new generation of industry participants, which lasted nearly two decades.
“He was the first horse that the NSW TRB, as Racing NSW was then known in 1996, had to mentor young apprentice jockeys,” RNSW’s Maurice Logue said.
Logue said Hot Fish was an instant success with young students, due to the gelding’s gentle nature.
“He was a great one-paced horse who was very kind and gentle which made him a perfect horse to start people riding,” Logue said.
Hot Fish has lived in various locations wherever he was required, but his primary job was always educating new industry participants.
“He was initially stabled on course at the mile bull-ring of Randwick Racecourse where his job was to assist people with no skills who were learning to ride,” Logue said.
“We educated a group of half a dozen kids at any time who, instead of doing sport at school, were provided with lessons on horse handling and basic riding skills.
“The kids that were involved had no racing background and many of those went on to start different careers in racing, including jockeys.”
To the benefit of full time students, Hot Fish was then donated to Richmond College in 1997, which became the home of the Australian Racing and Equine Academy after the Racing NSW and TAFE Western Sydney partnership was formed in 2010.
Richmond College teacher Joan Pracey, also a successful horse trainer in her own right, said that Hot Fish was always a popular horse for students to ride.
“He was just a lovely, kind old horse,” Pracey said.
“He is a great example of what some retired racehorses can do after racing. Hot Fish was a perfect fit for education.
“He helped start the careers of many apprentice jockeys, trackwork riders and stablehands up until his retirement two years ago.
“And while he was the perfect horse for beginners, he could work even harder for some of the more advanced riders.”
Hot Fish, who raced against the likes of racing Hall of Famer Super Impose, won seven of his 49 career starts. He passed away peacefully in his paddock at Richmond TAFE last month at the ripe age of 30.