The first ever RoR National Championship Show exclusively for former racehorses took place last weekend at Aintree International Equestrian Centre. Over the course of the weekend 27 different classes were held, including the Supreme Championship for winners in the RoR Elite Showing series, The Jockey Club RoR Novice Show Series and the TBA TARRA Ridden and In-Hand Series.
The final of the RoR Elite Showing series produced a memorable duel between two former Nicky Henderson trained horses and top show riders, with the title of 2015 Supreme Champion eventually going to Jack The Giant and Allister Hood, with former stable companion, HM The Queen’s Barbers Shop and Katie Jerram, having to settle for the runner’s up spot and Reserve Champion.
Another successful horse on the track Royal Rock, the former Chris Wall trained dual Group 3 winner, won the Jockey Club RoR Novice Championship again in the hands of Allister Hood. Beware Chalk Pit was ridden by Rebecca Court to take Reserve Champion. Beware Chalk Pit, who ran his last of 24 races in January 2015, only began his retraining with Rebecca this year and they have already qualified to compete in 2016 RoR Championship final at Hickstead.
There was success for 16-year-old former racehorse Moonoki who proved it is never too late to start retraining for a new career winning the TBA TARRA Ridden Final and taking top spot as the TARRA Supreme Champion with rider Ann Wright from Cheltenham, Gloucestershire. Moonoki who finished a relatively successful racing career before retiring as an 8-year-old, only began retraining in 2011 having initially started his retirement as a staff hunt horse and then as a nanny at a private stud. Ann was thrilled in 2014 to be talent spotted with Moonoki to take part in the TSR/HOYS Masterclass Programme, which recognises early potential in the show ring.
Hannah Chisman from Worcestershire was the proud owner as her former racehorse 10-year-old Nicene Creed, took first place to win the TARRA In Hand Final. The horse was shown by Hannah’s brother-in-law Tom Marshall.
Another victory and part of a rare double was Joanna Mason’s win the following day on Sunday in the TARRA Ridden Qualifier class. On Saturday evening at Redcar, Joanna won the amateur riders’ race on her grandfather Mick Easterby’s Felix De Vega. The next day she followed up at Aintree with success in the show ring on her own former racehorse, the aptly named Liverpool. In March Joanna crushed and fractured vertebrae in a fall in a Point to Point, she has since made a remarkable recovery to return to competition, both race riding and showing.
Among the range of other classes former racehorses took part in over the two days included Concours d’Elegance, which was won by Bang on Trend ridden by Sophie Tranter from Abergavenny, a Best Grey Ridden Class won by Prideus, owned by RoR Northern Regional Coordinator Jackie Storey and was ridden by Lizzie Harris at the show, and a Veteran Championship won by My Broadstairs Joy and Heather Blythe from Shropshire.
Wild West and Lizzie Harris from Leicestershire won the RoR Side Saddle Class at the Show. The combination earlier this year triumphed to win the RoR/Tattersalls Show Series Championship title at the world-famous Hickstead showground’s two-day Derby meeting.
There was a special class for those horses who had raced at Aintree, which was won by Dance Island and Catherine Beaumont from Daventry, Northamptonshire. 12-year-old Dance Island ran a total of four times at Aintree during his racing career before his retirement in 2012.
Reserve Champion on Saturday night, Katie Jerram and Barbers Shop made amends in the concluding class of the Championship Show to win RoR Overall Supreme Champion of the Show, a class from which the winner of the Elite Series was excluded.
The two-day event at the Aintree Equestrian Centre attracted over 464 entries with competitors from as far afield as Devon, Essex, Suffolk, Scotland and South Wales.
The Saturday evening, which featured the crowing of the Supreme Champion Jack the Giant, attracted a large crowd and included a parade of former top racehorses, including Grand National winner Neptune Collonges, and a musical ride performed by former racehorses, including Ebor winner Moyenne Corniche.
RoR Chief Executive, Di Arbuthnot said; “We are delighted with how the weekend has gone. Our thanks go to Aintree, Andrew Tulloch and Carly Goodall and to Anne Walker, RoR National Regional Coordinator, who have all worked incredibly hard to bring the show together and ensure the success of the event.
“The performance of Allister Hood and Jack The Giant on Saturday night was a joy to behold and they are worthy winners of the Supreme Championship. However, the highlight for me has been watching the pleasure participation in all the classes has given the competitors and their horses. RoR’s success is really best measured by its ability to help give former racehorses of all shapes and ability a fulfilling second career.”
“We hope the show will grow in future years and become the event everyone with a former racehorse wants to attend and compete at, either for the Championships or the grassroots classes.”