Hunt race legend retires after claiming ‘triple crown’ by winning eventful Golden Button

  • The 2022 running of the The Equestrian Notice Board Golden Button at Town Street Farm in Glos was full of drama with the first past the post disqualified

    ROWAN COPE and Arthur triumphed in an eventful edition of the Ledbury’s Equestrian Notice Board Golden Button 2022 hunt race, meaning the valiant ex-racehorse has won the “triple crown” of the Melton Hunt Club Ride, the Harborough and the Golden Button. The 13-year-old son of Old Vic has now been retired with eight hunt ride wins.

    “I cannot tell you what he means to our family. Last weekend he was hunting at the Maidwell School with our daughter Edie on the leading-rein,” said Quorn joint-master Rowan, for whom this was a long-awaited victory.

    The pair were second past the post, however. Becky Smith and Important Moment, winners of the Bicester with Whaddon Chase’s Silver Spur race last spring, finished six lengths in front of Rowan and Arthur, but sadly Becky’s weight-cloth had fallen off a couple of fences from home and she therefore had to be disqualified for weighing in a stone light.

    “I had the best ride,” said Rowan. “I got a good lead to fence three [a hedge and ditch that produced several fallers], then jumped the next three in front before Billy Chatterton came up to me. There were loose horses everywhere and I settled into second behind Billy.

    “Becky came past me at about fence 16, and it was then the three of us until Billy slipped up round the bend half a dozen from home. Alex Vaughan-Jones came up to us, then I led for a couple of fences until Becky passed me three out.

    “I know I won’t ride him again, but Arthur has given me and [wife] Lydia everything. He’s been so brilliant in these races, he’s field-mastered the Quorn, he led [team chasing squad] Relentless for God knows how long, you can lead a child off him – and he was kicked out [of his racing career] by [owner] JP McManus!”

    Arthur’s incredible record includes 14 runs for the Copes (nine with Rowan Cope, four with Lydia Cope). Of those he has won the Daylesford Cup, Harborough (twice), Melton Hunt Club Ride, Wynnstay (three times) and the Golden Button this time. He has also finished second in the Golden Button, Wynnstay, Quorn, Melton Hunt Club Ride and a point-to-point at Dingley. He has only fallen once in the Melton.

    The Equestrian Notice Board Golden Button 2022 results

    1. Rowan Cope riding Arthur
    2. Maurice Linehan riding Woody
    3. Holly Smith riding Gold De Riverland (first lady rider and first non-thoroughbred)
    4. Jason McKeown (best overseas rider)
    5. Indie Vaughn-Jones riding Bug (best Retraining of Racehorses-registered runner)
    6. Max Comley riding Alvarado

    • Read full report on the Golden Button hunt ride in Horse & Hound magazine, on sale Thursday 17 February

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