Former racehorses from around the world crowned in British show

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  • Former racehorses from Australia, New Zealand and Hong Kong were among the winners at this year’s slightly unusual Retraining of Racehorses (RoR) show.

    As the coronavirus had put paid to RoR’s usual national championships, the organisation staged an online event instead, attracting more than 1,000 entries, from 297 horses.

    As well as featuring a range of in-hand and ridden classes, the show concluded series for which horses had qualified before the pandemic.

    Lucinda Sims enjoyed a very good show with four wins and six more top-three placings. Lucinda won classes with three of the five horses she entered with. Her 15-year-old mare Mumtaz Begum, pictured, took the RoR Tattersalls show series online final, as well as the ridden class “one for the girls”.

    Lucinda won the open in-hand class with five-year-old Bonnie Lass, and the “always a star” class with four-time Grade 1 winner Zarkandar.

    She said: “What a great initiative the RoR online show has been. It was such fun to be a part of and I was delighted to win one class, let alone four! Mumtaz Begum has been a wonderful horse for us and it seems even on video her lovely, kind character shone through.

    “We broke in Bonnie Lass before she went to [trainer] Emma Lavelle’s and she was entered to run on the day lockdown started and racing stopped. She is an exciting prospect for showing, winning as competitive a class as that just a couple of months after coming out of training. She’s a credit to Emma and her team.”

    Poppi Sheperd won three classes on her two horses including one of the series finals, the RoR Tattersalls amateur ridden show series online final with her 14-year-old gelding Dreamy George. She also won two ridden classes with the former Godolphin horse Festive Fare.

    Eileen Melvin’s 14-year-old gelding Inca Slew won two in-hand classes, Tracy Heaver and Colonel Klink also won two classes; the open ridden showing and the hack type.

    The other dual winner was Sara Fogg’s Overafrica, a 14-year-old gelding who took the ridden sport horse and the ridden “boys only” classes.

    An RoR spokesman said: “Having attracted a strong international entry, it is not surprising that some RoR rosettes and prizes will be going abroad via airmail. All the countries responsible for entries produced at least one top-three result, with victories for Hong Kong, New Zealand and Australia-based horses.”

    The most successful international entrant was Fiona McIntyre from Geelong, Victoria, who won the in-hand hack type class, and notched up a second and a third place, with Precedence, a 15-year-old gelding who ran three times in the Melbourne Cup.

    “The show was also an endorsement for the aftercare operation run by Godolphin, with the winners of four classes and three runners-up having carried the royal blue of Godolphin on the racetrack,” the spokesman said.

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    RoR chief executive Di Arbuthnot added: “In putting on the show we have had great support from racing, and the wider equestrian world with judges including showing experts, Olympic medallists, trainers and jockeys. Our sincere thanks go to all those who supported the show by either sponsoring or judging classes or simply by entering.

    “In a normal year we stage hundreds of classes and competitions exclusively for former racehorses, from polo to dressage, eventing to showing, but this is no normal year. In 2021 we hope to be back at Aintree, as well as active around the rest of the country, putting on RoR classes and educational events. However, there will no doubt be some positive learnings we will take out of the online show, such as its inclusivity and the ability to engage with people and their horses all over the country and abroad.

    “Putting on the show has not been without its challenges but the breadth and scale of entries made it all worthwhile and it has served as a good platform from which to increase online awareness of the charity’s work.”

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