‘A positive omen we hope’— bizarre twist of fate gives a foal an unusual birthday

Four years to the day that the prolific showjumping mare Avoca Valkyrie won the Queen Elizabeth II Cup at the Royal International Horse Show under young rider Chloe Winchester, she has given birth to a stunning colt foal by Cevin Z.

“It’s a positive omen, we hope,” said Chloe’s mother Gilly Winchester, reflecting on that momentous day in 2015.

Chloe, then only 21, floored the favourites to win the prestigious title at her first attempt in the class on 1 August at Hickstead. They beat Phillip Miller and the great grey Caritiar Z into the runner-up spot.

“She just loves to run and jump and height is never an issue for her,” said Chloe of the Irish sport horse mare, by Touchdown out of Knockanree Nell (Frankfort Boy).

Avoca Valkyrie was retired a couple of years ago but it took a few attempts to get her in foal. But the now 16-year-old mare gave birth to her first offspring — a colt by the stallion Cevin Z — four years to the day after she recorded her greatest triumph in the main ring at Hickstead.

“It’s a bizarre twist of fate,” said Gilly.

The foal has been cleverly named Odins Touch as his dam is by Touchdown and the Valkyries went to Valhalla, of which Odin was the God.

Chloe acquired Avoca Valkyrie in December 2011 from an event yard in Ireland and the pair progressed from 1.30m level to competing on Nations Cups and representing Great Britain at top level.

They were victorious in the 2014 young riders championship of Great Britain at Horse of the Year Show.

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2015 was something of a golden year for the pair as they also went on to win the under-23 championship at Olympia and finished fourth individually at the young rider European Championships. In 2016, they finished runner-up in the prestigious Cock o’ the North at Great Yorkshire show.

Previously Stowmarket-based, Chloe is now working and training in Belgium with leading showjumper Karel Cox and competes regularly across Europe.

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