Grand National star reunited with winning jockey’s young daughter

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  • Former Grand National winner Pineau De Re was in the limelight again at the Royal Three Counties Show in Malvern last Friday (15 June).

    The 2014 Grand National winner was on the Malvern Pony Club stand all day enjoying all the attention.

    One of the children who came up to pat him was Niamh Aspell, the daughter of Leighton, his winning jockey.

    Niamh was competing in the Shetland Grand National and had been given permission by Pineau’s owner John Provan to wear his colours.

    “She sat on Pineau so we could have another picture of him in his winning colours,” recalls Lizzie Doolittle, 25, who has Pineau on loan in her eventing yard at Ombersley near Worcester.

    At the show Miss Doolittle was unexpectedly asked to lead the parade for the Shetland Grand National in the main ring watched by Bob Champion, who won the Grand National on Aldanti in 1981. His charity, the Bob Champion Trust, is the nominated charity of the Shetland Pony Grand National teams.

    She said Pineau “got a bit lit up” when he saw the Shetlands doing their lap of honour, but was otherwise very well behaved.

    On the Pony Club stand he was equally chilled, even when the Red Arrows landed just behind him. “He didn’t flinch, just looked at them and started grazing again,” said Lizzie.

    Lizzie has been eventing Pineau for the past year (as reported in H&H) and the day after the show the pair had a personal best dressage of 32.5 and clear cross-country in the BE100 at Catton Park.

    “Every time I land after a fence he just wants to go, so I’m riding him cross-country in a hackamore, which has really helped keep him settled in a consistent rhythm,” said Lizzie.

    On 11 July they set off to Upton House for their first novice.

    “We’re hoping for a steady clear. Jumps are no problem, he will jump anything. Having control is the bigger issue. He tries to problem solve himself, but is almost too clever for his own good,” admits Lizzie who has nine eventers on her yard, including four of her own.

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    She still rides out for Pineau’s former trainer Dr Newland twice a week on Mondays and Fridays.

    “By the end of the day I will have ridden 12 horses, five at Newlands before 10am. It’s a busy life,” she admits.

    On the yard she is helped by her father, a retired horse feed merchant, and her mother, who is a saddle fitter.

    Next year Lizzie plans to aim Pineau for the Barbury RoR retrained racehorse championship.

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