This year’s RoR Awards (Retraining of Racehorses) marked the first time an accolade for a horse with a remarkable character was presented. From over 250 nominations, best-selling author and renowned horse lover, Jilly Cooper selected three finalists for the inaugural RoR Horse Personality of the Year award.
On the evening of the awards, which were hosted at the Jockey Club Rooms in Newmarket on 18 January, films of each of the three finalisits were played.
Here we bring you one of the finalists’ stories. Meet Real Desire, one of the runners-up, who is now owned and ridden by Bridget Broad…
The 14-year-old Real Desire was nominated by Bridget. ‘Dessie’ has helped Bridget through some tough times while at the same time overcoming his own physical challenges.
Jilly Cooper said of Dessie: “He emerges as such a character and a clown and it is great that he is succeeding in so many different disciplines. He epitomises all that is so giving, forgiving, resilient and adaptable about these wonderful horses.”
Dessie was trained by the late Peter Monteith and ran a total of 17 times under Rules — 14 of those on the Flat and the other three over hurdles. He managed to clock one second and one third placing, but his final race was in November 2010 before he retired from racing.
Louise Robson specialises in retraining ex-racers for dressage and rides three horses owned by The Queen
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Now in their sixth year, the awards, hosted by Clare Balding and Luke Harvey, showcase and celebrate the versatility of former racehorses across a range of disciplines with prizes awarded to winners in dressage, endurance, eventing, hunting, polo, showing and show jumping.
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