‘A real credit to their owners’: success for new format as RoR racing to hunting winner crowned

  • Retrained racehorse Sire Collonges added a new crown to his collection in his second career, with the rider he bonded with during his first.

    The former Paul Nicholls-trained 15-year-old impressed the judges on his day with the Ledbury in Monday’s final of the Ri-Dry Retraining of Racehorses (RoR) Racing to Hunting Challenge to claim the 2021 title.

    The eye-catching grey is a regular with the Belvoir, with rider Tom Jonason, and the pair bonded during Tom’s time as assistant trainer to Paul.

    Tom said he was “absolutely over the moon” to win and praised the new format of horses being assessed on the hunting field. The final of the competition, which is now in its fifth year, was previously held at Aintree.

    “I thought the format worked really well. First and foremost, it was a very enjoyable day’s hunting and, secondly, it is undoubtedly a much fairer way of judging the competition,” he said.

    Sire Collonges (Dom Alco x Quart De Vin) won four of his 24 starts during his six-year career under Rules, including the Glenfarclas Cross Country Handicap Chase at Cheltenham in December 2013.

    The pair will receive the Meriel Tufnell Trophy, £1,000 cash and a Ri-Dry jacket at the RoR awards in January.

    The Fernie’s Becky Smith and the 12-year-old Important Moment, winners of the 2021 Silver Spur in May, were runners-up. Kathleen Robinson and Bills Bank, 16, were third for the North Staffordshire.

    “Congratulations to all the finalists, they were all a real credit to their owners and each showed how well they have adapted to their second career,” said RoR chief executive Di Arbuthnot.

    “A big thank you to all involved, especially the Ledbury hunt for hosting the final, our sponsors Ri-Dry and our fantastic team of judges.”

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