Joint retirement for duo
End of 25-year racing journey for bonded pair
WITH a combined age of 112, David Mace and his horse, Steven, share a unique bond.
For the past 25 years the pair have worked together at pacing club race meetings.
Mr Mace, 80, and 32-year-old Steven officially retired from duty last week.
It is hard to know which one will miss it the most.
“He absolutely loved going to races,” Mr Mace said.
“As soon as the float was there he was in a hurry to get on.
“It’ll take a long time, especially when the weekends come around.
“I’ll go to get up and go to work but I've just got to realise we’re both having a big spell.”
Steven, a thoroughbred, started out as a racehorse himself and was trained by Johnnie Richardson.
“He had 22 starts and didn’t win a race,” he said.
“He always trained well enough to win but when he got to the races they couldn’t control him, he used to bolt.
“I’d heard they were going to retire him and I was hoping I could get him.
“One day they turned up here and he was in the truck. I was so happy.”
Steven came to live with Mr Mace at Westbury when he was seven.
After training with Mr Mace’s daughter, Toni Laugher, and her husband, Michael, they started duties as clerk of the course and worked at clubs including Burnie, Ulverstone, Devonport, Carrick, Scottsdale, St Marys and Launceston.
“He’s done a lot of miles over the years,” he said.
As clerk of the course, part of Mr Mace’s job was to catch horses that were out of control or had been involved in a buggy accident and got loose.
“The main thing you need is a horse that has confidence and he has plenty of that,” Mr Mace said.
“I could go out there and concentrate on catching the horse without having to worry about Steven, he knows his job.
“We’ve caught horses with smashed-up buggies.
“If a driver is caught up in one, you have to act pretty quickly.”
Steven had a plaque installed in his stable at the Launceston Pacing Club recognising his achievements.
Mr Mace has been working as clerk of the course for 50 years.
His love of horses started when he was just three and he used to climb on gates and get on ponies’ backs.
At 10 years old, he went to work at a leading pacing stable in Melbourne.
While he would miss the work, Mr Mace said it would be nice to enjoy more of the social side of racing and the clubs too.
Now he is retired, Steven will live in a big paddock with lots of grass, be rugged to keep him warm and fed twice a day.
Mr Mace, who owns and trains some of his own pacers, has no plans to slow down.
“I’m going to keep going for another 10 years,” he said.
“I’ll only be 90 then.”
❝I’m going to keep going for another
10 years. I will only be 90 then.
— David Mace
SPECIAL BOND: David Mace 82 with his thoroughbred horse Steven 32 at Westbury.