Racing WA

Captain Proud Hangs Up His Hopples

22 January 2023

Captain Proud and Corey Peterson taking out the 2020 Busselton Cup

“He’s a horse that is just iconic, as far as resilience and ease to take anywhere and just loves life, I guess his retirement is not the end for him, I intend to take him anywhere I can to show that we just have the best horses in the world that can do anything, in the standardbred.”

“He’s just been fabulous, he’s taught me an awful lot, he’s just the perfect horse.” Kym Neal said

13-year-old Captain Proud is moving on to a new career after retiring on Friday night after his fifth and final run in the Busselton Cup.

Incredibly special to Kim Neal and Robert Hayward, Captain Proud had a whopping 167 starts for 18 wins and 48 placings and earning to just over $161,000, Captain Proud has most definitely earned veteran status and even in his final few starts was still saluting the judge with two 3rds and a 4th placing at his home track of Busselton this season, racing in very consistent form for his connections since taking him on at the age of six.

“It all sort of started when Barry Bennetts who used to own him came to my workplace hat in hand and fist full of dollars, he had broken down and he asked me to take him on, either race him if he ever could or find him a good home. So of course I took him because I always watched him and loved him and that was the beginning of it.”

“12 months later, well actually closer the 18 months, he got to the track and never looked back. He has never another problem with that leg, we have done pretty good rehabilitation with him, so he quite a bad deep flexor tendon issue.”

“He’s never been unsound on that ever again, so I guess it’s what you do early is what fixes them.”

After already turning his hoof at the equestrian world, it won’t be a difficult transition for this old boy, with his demeanour already a winner off the track, with Neal determined to show off her boy anywhere she can.

“He will be a busy boy in his retirement, I’ll be taking him anywhere, dressage, jumping, endurance, camp-drafting, just anything I can find so I can show we’ve got the best horses.”

“I come from a dressage and show jumping background, I wasn’t born into this, I just started doing this because I love the standys (standarbreds). And he’s just the perfect one to take around because he didn’t hit too many ugly sticks on the way out of the tree, he sort of stands out in a crowd, I have him and a couple of others that will go out with him.”

Winning their first metropolitan race in November 2016 during the Interdominion series at Bunbury was a highlight for Neal, but she did mention that their biggest thrill together was making five Busselton Cups in a row, as well as going on to win one and still maintaining the track record for it.

“The Busselton Cup for sure (their biggest highlight), it’s my hometown, I’m born and bred from here, that was very, very exciting, he’s won quite a few at different places but that’s by far the biggest thrill with the large crowd around and my friends and family.”

After attempting to retire him last year, they decided it wasn’t quite his time as he kept lining up at the gate each day to be worked, but with turning 13 at the start of the year, they decided it was definitely time for the seasoned pacer to hang up his hopples and transition into his next career. We look forward to following his progress and seeing what he can do to show off just how amazing the standardbred breed can be.


Ashleigh Paikos