Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Don Cossack heads record entries for the 2018 Retraining of Racehorses (RoR) Goffs UK National Championships this week.
The gelding, formerly trained by Gordon Elliott, won the racehorse to riding horse class at Dublin Horse Show this month with Louise Lyons.
The 11-year-old will be competed by Louise at Aintree, which is where he recorded a 26-length victory in the 2015 Melling Chase under AP McCoy.
Aintree specialist Always Waining, the only horse to win the Topham Chase three times (2010, 2011, 2012), is among the other top names entered.
The former Peter Bowen-trained gelding, 17, is entered for both showing and jumping classes.
Other high profile horses include Carlito Brigante, Franchoek, Noland, Possol, Time For Rupert, Times Up, Namibian, Ransom Note and Quadrille.
Cheltenham Gold Cup and dual Champion Chase-winning jockey Nico de Boinville will be one of three judges tasked with awarding the title of supreme champion.
Nico will be joined by his wife, Serena, who has a background in showing and is herself a breeder of Connemara ponies, and trainer Jonathan Geake, also an experienced judge and breeder.
“It is wonderful how this event continues to develop, attracting such quality, as well as quantity, in terms of the former racehorses entered,” said RoR chief executive Di Arbuthnot.
“However, a horse’s rating on the racetrack counts for nothing in the dressage, showing or jumping arena and that is one of the strengths of RoR’s competitions, it provides opportunities for all former racehorses to excel in a different discipline.”
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The 318 horses entered for the 90 classes at the championships ran a total of 5,000 times, winning 599 races under Rules.
All three previous supreme champions are entered — 2015 victor Jack The Giant is competing in dressage, 2016 winner Beware Chalk Pit is entered in in-hand showing classes and 2017 champion Wild West returns to defend his title.
“We would like to thank Goffs UK for their generous support, as well as the team at Aintree and all involved with making the six days happen,” added Di.
“The whole event has a wonderful feel-good factor and it is vastly rewarding to see the pleasure working with former racehorses gives people. It does not matter whether they are competing in the elite finals or just a regular class, the smiles on their faces say it all.”
The six-day event runs until 26 August at Aintree International Equestrian Centre.
Tony Williams, Goffs UK managing director, added it is “wonderful” to see the event grow in popularity each year.
“It’s important to Goffs UK, as a leading thoroughbred auction house, to see racehorses find new homes after their racing careers and it’s events like these that do so much to promote the retraining of racehorses,” he added.
The event is open to the public and admission is free.
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