Chief de Beers, champion racehorse turned Queensland Police servant, dies

Bond: Chief de Beers and longtime handler, Acting Sergeant Belinda Worthington.

Bond: Chief de Beers and longtime handler, Acting Sergeant Belinda Worthington.

A former racehorse which forged a career in the Queensland Police Service has died.

Chief de Beers died on July 17, just weeks short of his 29th birthday.

We just clicked - I loved riding him. He was my main patrol horse for around nine years, and the horse I used for ceremonies. His gutsy temperament was also his strength

Acting Sergeant Belinda Worthington

Affectionately known as Chief, he was a celebrated champion, especially at Doomben, where all 20 of his wins were recorded.

He won the Doomben 10,000 in 1995 and 1998, and has a room in the grandstand at the track named after him.

He had 17 places in 51 races.

Upon his retirement from racing in 1999, Chief was donated by his owners and recruited into the Queensland Police Service's Mounted Police Unit.

In action: Chief being ridden by longtime handler, Acting Sergeant Belinda Worthington. Photo: Tracey Bavinton

In action: Chief being ridden by longtime handler, Acting Sergeant Belinda Worthington. Photo: Tracey Bavinton

With the strong instinct to lead the team from his racing days still intact, Chief's duties ranged from ceremonial escorts at the opening of the Royal Queensland Show, to operational patrols, and later as the Governor's police horse.

His former handler, Acting Sergeant Belinda Worthington, said she had a great relationship with Chief.

"We just clicked - I loved riding him," Acting Sergeant Worthington said.

"He was my main patrol horse for around nine years, and the horse I used for ceremonies."

Ceremonial: Chief de Beers, second from left, at a fellow officer's funeral.

Ceremonial: Chief de Beers, second from left, at a fellow officer's funeral.

Acting Sergeant Worthington had a particular bond with Chief, telling tales of the two of them breaking up street brawls, bravely entering a bush fire, and putting a regal hoof forward to herald public events.

"His gutsy temperament was also his strength," Acting Sergeant Worthington said.

"You couldn't use force to retrain his instinctive and programmed racing behaviour."

Chief de Beers retired from the QPS in 2012, where he was given a Vice-Regal send-off, before moving to Living Legends in Victoria to see out his retirement.

He was awarded the prestigious Blue Cross Medal for his service to the community by the Australian War Animal Memorial Organisation, in conjunction with the Blue Cross Fund in the United Kingdom.

Chief de Beers will buried alongside 1997 Melbourne Cup winner Might and Power, Doremius and Better Loosen Up.

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