Monet’s Garden, the popular grey racehorse who has recovered from a life-threatening illness, is set to parade in front of the crowds at Old Roan Chase day at Aintree (22 October).
And this year’s £50,000 Grade Two race is to be named in honour of the 13-year-old gelding, who won it three times.
Trained by Nicky Richards and owned by David Wesley Yates, Monet’s Garden won in 2007, 2009 and 2010 before retiring due to a hoof infection. He had an abscess in his foot shortly after the race, which subsequently developed into an infection in his navicular bone and flexor tendon.
At the time Nicky told H&H the horse had a 50/50 chance of survival.
But after months of treatment at Oaklands Veterinary Centre in Yorkshire he returned to Nicky’s yard in Cumbria and is now “full of beans” according to the trainer.
“I’m absolutely delighted,” owner David told H&H.
“The Old Roan Chase was his race, so we’re thrilled. And he’s in great shape at the moment – he’s chasing the other horses round the field, he thinks he’s a three-year-old again!”
He added that Monet’s Garden will be parading in-hand at Aintree but that they are hoping to show him in the spring.
“That was always the aim – to enter some ex racehorse showing classes in retirement,” said David.
“It’s payback – he’s done so much for us we want him to enjoy life. He’s so popular I’m sure people will want to see him at Aintree, we’ve got such a lot of calls and letters wishing him well. It will be an emotional day for us all though, I may need sedation!”
Nicky added: “The Aintree racegoers took the horse to their hearts and he always received a great reception in the winner’s enclosure. You could really see the love they had for him.”
The Betfred Monet’s Garden Old Roan Chase takes place at Aintree on Saturday 22 October
For more information visit: www.aintree.co.uk