For most orphaned foals the future is uncertain, and few would expect to become a champion, however, that is exactly what has happened to Violet Town’s Come on Carl.
Carl’s owner Suzanne Royal bucket-reared him on her farm, Asscher Park, and has trained him to a point where he now has 14 starts, finishing first on three occasions.
‘‘Asscher Park is predominantly a thoroughbred breeding farm. But on the side I have foster mares and I raise orphan foals,’’ Suzanne said.
‘‘So Carl’s mother was actually required to do a foster so I took him off his mum and bucket-reared him. I bucket rear about 30 foals a year, some my own and some for my clients.
‘‘Carl was one that ticked all of my boxes in the way of his type and personality and I really thought he’d make a racehorse.
‘‘When my grandfather passed away my grandmother gave me some money to put towards naming Carl and giving him his race name, which is Come on Carl.
‘‘Then I got a syndicate involved which included the local publican, the local chiropractor and a few of my other friends and family.
‘‘We’re all involved in Carl’s syndicate and we’re racing him. So far he has three wins, four second places and one third.’’
Bucket rearing an orphan foal takes time and dedication, but Suzanne said she was happy to put the work in.
‘‘When we have these orphans we feed them every two hours, day and night for the first six weeks. Then their milk increase and the amount of times we need to feed them decreases. We try and mimic what they get from their mothers.
‘‘So I bring them out a bucket every two hours from August through to December. It’s very demanding.
‘‘When I decided to keep Carl as a racehorse I wanted to prove a point to people that if orphans are raised properly they can make it to the track, there’s no reason why not.’’
Suzanne said the transition from orphan to champion had been amazing to see.
‘‘The first time he raced I was so excited as whatever he did from then on, he was writing his own page. All I wanted to see was him make it to the track, just to prove that point.
‘‘To see him go on and see how he’s done so far, it blows my mind that he was once my little baby out in the paddock that we were trying to feed.
‘‘I’m so proud of him and now our goal is to one day qualify and run him in the Benalla Cup.’’