Sundons Gift harness racing's first Living Legends resident

Sundons Gift will be adored by racing fans while living out his days in the company of thoroughbred royalty after being inducted as the very first harness horse into Living Legends.

Sundon's Gift at Living Legends.
Sundon's Gift at Living Legends. Picture: HRV

The 10-time Group 1 winner was this morning unveiled as the newest resident of the property, which attracts thousands of visitors each year to get up close and personal with equine greats.

Living Legends CEO and Veterinary Director Dr Andrew Clarke said the arrival of a standardbred at the Greenvale retirement facility was well and truly overdue.

"It's been a long time coming and we're just so excited to have Sundons Gift," Clarke said.

"He's an Inter Dominion winner and legend in his own right, so we couldn't be happier to have him arrive.

"We're really excited to have the two-seater cart here as well. There's 1500 acres of parkland next door and we'll be able to go for quiet little walks and jogs while having an extra person on board."

Trainer-driver Chris Lang prepared Sundons Gift for 80 of his 86 career starts through a golden era between 2006 and 2013. During that time, the boy they called "Bernie" won two Inter Dominion Trotting Championship grand finals, claimed the time-honoured Rowe Cup in New Zealand and prevailed in the Australian Trotting Grand Prix on four-straight occasions.

"Then he took us to Sweden for Elitloppet. Until you go, feel the atmosphere and understand what it's like to be part of it, you probably can't appreciate it," Lang said.

"It was one of his greatest achievements - just the fact he got invited, went over there and did his best."

Lang said Sundons Gift's arrival at Living Legends was a "big deal" for the harness racing industry.

"The facility is a great facility, and you can see that they all get very well looked after. It'll be nice to think of him living out his twilight years there in such a great environment," he said.

Sundons Gift won 41 races for prizemoney earnings of $1,275,264, leaving him fourth on the all-time rich list for Australasian-bred squaregaiters.

"I've been lucky enough to train a lot of good trotters, but he still has to be the one that sits on top," Lang said.

Harness Racing Victoria CEO Matt Isaacs said it was "fantastic" to see the 22-year-old trotter take up residence at Living Legends.

"To have this two-time Inter Dominion champion now rubbing shoulders with thoroughbred greats the likes of Apache Cat and Melbourne Cup winners like Prince Of Penzance and Brew is a fitting reminder of the elite talent in our sport," Isaacs said.

"Chris Lang and Sundons Gift enjoyed an extraordinary million-dollar partnership and with the Lang family's amazing achievements in Victoria, where the trotters are always a headline act, this is such a terrific first harness racing Living Legends resident."

Sundons Gift's permanent new home has been made possible by a significant financial contribution from his owner Neven Botica and thanks to a partnership between HRV and Living Legends.

The arrangement continues the great work carried out by HRV Hero, which creates pathways and supports harness racing's equine athletes after their careers on the track.