A 13-year-old former racehorse who won eleven times in the show ring took home the 2017 Retraining of Racehorses (RoR) horse of the year title at the annual RoR awards in Newmarket (11 December).

Beware Chalk Pit has had one of the most successful showing careers of any retrained racehorse with rider Rebecca Court.

“This special horse owes me nothing, I owe him everything. He is my horse of a lifetime,” said Miss Court, who works full-time as an art tutor at Birmingham university.

The combination’s career highlights include standing elite supreme of show at the Retraining of Racehorses national championships in 2016, while this season culminated at the Horse of the Year Show where “Pete” was crowned SEIB Racehorse to Riding Horse Champion.

“Before Pete I had never driven a horsebox, ridden in the main ring at Hickstead, won a series horsebox, won a series final – of any sort – ridden in a supreme championship – let alone won one,” said Miss Court.

Beware Chalk Pit’s owner Ann Leftley was presented with the trophy at the awards, which were held at the Jockey Club rooms in Newmarket. Right You Are and Wild West were named joint runners-up for the top title.

The horse has now been retired from competitive showing and returned to his owner and her trainer Jonathan Geake.

“He has nothing left to prove in showing,” said Miss Court “And he is a great advert for the retrained racehorse.”

At the ceremony, trophies and prize money of over £17,000 were shared among the ten winners.

Gold Nugget, a seven-year-old gelding now owned by Jane Moss and ridden by Andrew Downes, won the RoR elite eventing champion award.

He won three times unplaced for Richard Hannon but has proved himself in the eventing, in which it is hoped he will move on to advanced level next season.

The award for RoR elite dressage champion went for the second year running to Jimmy Hay, who was taken on by Jenny Bulmer eight years ago after he failed to perform on the track.

Every year nearly 4,000 thoroughbreds are retired from racing and are looking for new homes.

This year RoR held 141 education events to help owners and riders get the best out of their former racehorses.

And a total of 298 classes were held in 25 separate series across ten different disciplines ranging from dressage to showjumping.

“These awards show the benefits of these initiatives, “ said the charity’s chief executive, Di Arbuthnot. “Horses who often showed previous little ability on the racecourse, subsequently finding their niche with riders from a range of different backgrounds and experience.”

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The other winners were:

RoR elite polo champion and winner of the Gerald Balding Cup: Harmony Wold, owned and ridden by Jack Richardson

RoR elite endurance champion, in association with Endurance GB: Karactacus Potts, owned and ridden by Anna Collins

RoR elite performance award for showing: Wild West, owned and ridden by Lizzie Harris

RoR show series champion, sponsored by Tattersalls: Imperial Ruby, owned by Sar Cassidy-Hill, ridden by Southerly Roberts

RoR elite showjumping award, in association with British Showjumping: Quel Ange, owned and ridden by Jane Gregory

RoR racing to hunting challenge and the Meriel Tufnell Trophy: Brumous, owned and ridden by Melanie Duff

RoR special recognition award: Barbers Shop, owned by The Queen and ridden by Katie Jerram-Hunnable

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