Grand National winner Pineau De Re shines at Blenheim Horse Trials: ‘He’s 18 years old and thoroughly enjoys life – I love him to bits’

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  • Grand National winner Pineau De Re delighted fans at Blenheim Horse Trials with his performance in the Retraining of Racehorse (RoR) dressage championships (17 September).

    The 2014 Aintree hero turned his skills to eventing after retiring from racing in 2016 following his stellar career on the track, under the guidance of trainer Dr Richard Newland.

    Lizzie Brunt (née Doolitte) helped to retrain the Maresca Sorrento son when he hung up his racing plates, with the intention was that he would enjoy some hunting with Dr Newland’s eldest daughter.

    When the opportunity arose for Lizzie to take the ride full-time, she jumped at the chance.

    “I took him down to my yard, which is only a mile down the road, and I’ve had him ever since. I’d definitely not let anyone else have him, I love him to bits,” said Lizzie, who competed him up to British Eventing novice level.

    “I’ve had him for four years now and we were eventing up until this year. We’ve just taken it a bit easier as I had a baby four months ago, so I’ve decided to stick to the dressage, which actually isn’t his best discipline. He’s an absolute machine across country. He’s just the bravest horse and will jump absolutely anything. But I thought I’d give it a go and it’s a great opportunity to come and ride him at Blenheim. He’s just pulled out an absolutely cracking test, so I’m over the moon with him.”

    Lizzie added Pineau “thoroughly enjoys life” and is “definitely not ready to retire”. His strong fan base also love to see him out and about.

    “People always come up to me and say ‘I cannot believe that horse won the Grand National’ because of his size, he’s so small,” she said.

    “He is tiny and when I go to Aintree and do the parades there, he sticks out like a sore thumb because he is smaller than most of them. He’s just brilliant. He is so clever and so intelligent. I think that’s why he’s taken to his second career. Well actually it’s his third career because he’s been an eventer.

    “He’s just amazing and I absolutely love him. He’s an absolute pest to all his friends in the field, he just wants to play the whole time, he’s like a four-year-old. He definitely wouldn’t want to be retired in the field, he’s not ready for it. He lights up to the atmosphere wherever I take him, he just loves it.”

    The pair finished eighth in the novice RoR dressage championship class on Friday (17 September). The white boards may be Pineau’s focus at present, but Lizzie added he will certainly have noticed the jumps for the international event.

    “I think he would like to go round the cross-country course now…,” she laughed.

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