National Hunt legends to head Cheltenham Festival parade 

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  • Popular former chasers Cue Card and Coneygree will head the Retraining of Racehorses (RoR) parade of former racers on day one of the Cheltenham Festival (10-13 March).

    The 12 horses lining up include nine individual Grade One winners, seven of whom are past winners at the Festival.

    “In terms of what they have achieved in their racing careers and also in their second careers, I think this year’s line-up is probably the strongest we have ever had,” said RoR chief executive Di Arbuthnot.

    “Not only does the parade boast nine Grade One winners — including a Gold Cup winner, two Queen Mother Champion Chase winners and an Arkle victor — but their feats in their second careers are notable too. All 12 have found their métier in a discipline and role away from racing, whether it be showing, eventing, hunting, dressage or team chasing.”

    On the racecourse, the nine-time Grade One winner Cue Card and the 2015 Cheltenham Gold Cup victor Coneygree finished first and second when taking each other on in the 2016 Betfair Chase at Haydock Park.

    Both are now enjoying second careers outside of racing and they are likely to compete against each other again — but this time in the show ring.

    Although Coneygree was only retired from racing in February 2019, he has adapted quickly to his new career. Ridden by his former trainer Mark Bradstock’s wife, Sara, Coneygree has already won RoR showing classes and the pair’s ambition for 2020 is to qualify for the prestigious RoR Tattersalls Show Series Final at Hickstead in June.

    Cue Card is being produced for the show ring by top showing rider and H&H columnist Katie Jerram-Hunnable, who enjoyed success with The Queen’s Barbers Shop.

    The 14-year-old gelding has already won in-hand showing classes and an early season target for 2020 is the ridden RoR class at Royal Windsor in May.

    Besides Coneygree and Cue Card, other Festival winners in the parade — which is sponsored by the Sir Peter O’Sullevan Charitable Trust — include Captain Chris, Dodging Bullets, Master Minded, The New One and Zarkandar.

    The RoR parade line-up for 2020:

    Annacotty (showjumping) — ridden by Hannah Bishop. 12-year-old by Beneficial, formerly trained by Martin Keighley and Alan King

    Barbers Shop (hacking) — ridden by Katie Jerram-Hunnable. 18-year-old by Saddlers’ Hall, formerly trained by Nicky Henderson

    Captain Chris (hunting) — ridden by Debbie Beilby. 16-year-old by King’s Theatre, formerly trained by Philip Hobbs

    Coneygree (showing) — ridden by Sara Bradstock. 13-year-old by Karinga Bay, formerly trained by Mark Bradstock

    Cue Card (showing) — ridden by Chris Hunnable. 14-year-old by King’s Theatre, formerly trained by Colin Tizzard

    Dodging Bullets (dressage/showjumping) — ridden by Lucy Sharp. 12-year-old by Dubawi, formerly trained by Paul Nicholls

    Saphir Du Rheu (team chasing) — ridden by Charlotte Alexander. 11-year-old by Al Namix, formerly trained by Paul Nicholls

    The New One (hunting) — ridden by Wayne Jones. 12-year-old by King’s Theatre, formerly trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies

    Master Minded (dressage) — ridden by Sophie Haylock. 17-year-old gelding by Nikos, formerly trained by Paul Nicholls

    Miko De Beauchene (hunting ) — ridden by Tracey Phillips. 20-year-old by Nashamaa, formally trained Robert & Sally Alner and by Venetia Williams

    Monbeg Dude (team chasing) — ridden by Jade Steinsdorfer. 15-year-old gelding by Witness Box, formerly trained by Michael Scudamore

    Zarkandar (hunting) — ridden by Lucinda Sims. 13-year-old gelding by Azamour, formerly trained by Paul Nicholls

    Don’t miss our preview ahead of the Cheltenham Festival in the 5 March issue of Horse & Hound, and read the full report in the 19 March issue.

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