Ex-racehorses were rewarded for their success in second careers at the Retraining of Racehorses’ (RoR) inaugural awards ceremony in Newmarket last night (Wednesday 26 November).
Whatcanyasay, owned by 23-year-old Cumbria-based Robyn Gray, won the Jockey Club/RoR horse of the year award.
The 13-year-old ran 46 times over jumps when he was in training with Evelyn Stack. Since his retirement he has competed in a range of disciplines including eventing, dressage, hunting and showing.
“We [my sisters and I] used to muck out at Evelyn Slack’s stables in Appleby, so we have known him most of his life. He was always our favourite at the yard so when we were offered the chance to buy him after his retirement, we jumped at the opportunity,” said Robyn.
In his first season, he won 2012 RoR Scottish Championship at The Royal Highland, RoR/TBA Challenge Class at Aintree and was also Champion at Hambleton District Show, as well as qualifying for the Open Pony Dressage Club Championships. He was also placed at HOYS.
Earlier this year he won the RoR/Tattersalls Scottish Show Series Championship.
“We chose to recognise Whatcanyasay because he has achieved so much since he retired from racing, taking part in RoR series of competitions to great success and retraining in such a diverse range of equestrian sports,” said RoR chief executive, Di Arbuthnot.
Mark Tomlinson’s polo star Fille De Dauphin picked up the elite polo championship.
Marmite has been with Mark since 2007 and has been playing her since then at a top level including in the Queens Cup and Gold Cup.
Joint eventing winners were Ortolan and Squadron Leader.
Nine-year-old gelding Ortolan is ridden by Polly Stockton and owned by Stella and Allan Stennett. He was formerly trained by Donald McCain.
“His temperament is ideal for eventing, as he character is laid back but when needed but can get excited,” said Polly.
Squadron Leader is ridden by Daniele Bizzaro and owned by Jane Arnold from Glos.
Sandie Newton’s Austin Approved took the dressage champion title. Formerly trained by Richard Woollacot, he finished fourth in the awards series last year.
The eight-year-old Coralkov, owned and ridden by Juliet Jacob, took the RoR elite endurance champion. The gelding is now competing at advanced level in endurance.
Flaygray is the elite HOYS show series champion, owned and ridden by Faye Hesketh and Jack The Giant took the elite show series champion. Ridden by Allister Hood the pair won at at Hickstead in the RoR Championship this year.
Captain Willoughby, ridden by Joanne Fulcher, took elite showjumping champion.
The inaugural RoR awards awarded prizes totalling £16,500 and were presented by Clare Balding and Willie Carson (pictured below cutting the celebratory cake).
Read more about retrained racehorses:
World Horse Welfare will work with Retraining of Racehorses to help former racehorses be retrained for new careers
Ex-racehorses who have competed successfully in new equestrian disciplines will be recognised at the first Retraining of Racehorses award ceremony
Although Hickstead and HOYS are popular for RoR, there will now be more chances at grassroots level