Prolific winners return to racecourse in honour of Sir Peter O’Sullevan

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  • National Hunt heroes Sire De Grugy and Carruthers will be among the Retraining of Racehorses (RoR) stars parading at Newbury on Saturday (1 December), in honour of the late Sir Peter O’Sullevan, the top commentator fondly known as “The Voice of Racing”.

    Racegoers will be able to see five retrained racehorses up close ahead of the Sir Peter O’Sullevan Memorial Handicap Chase at 1.20pm, during day two of the Ladbrokes Winter Carnival.

    The line-up features four Grade One winners, including 2014 Champion Chase winner Sire De Grugy, and the 2011 Hennessy Gold Cup (now the Ladbrokes Trophy) victor Carruthers.

    They will be joined by fellow prolific winners Annacotty, Melodic Rendezvous and Zarkandar — all five horses are now enjoying a second career after retiring from racing.

    “We are very grateful to the Peter O’Sullevan Trust for its on-going support of the RoR charity and in particular its sponsorship of our racecourse parades,” said the RoR chief executive Di Arbuthnot.

    “Sir Peter was a fervent supporter of horse welfare and he would no doubt have enjoyed seeing these former stars of the track parade for the public at Newbury on Saturday.”

    Sire De Grugy (pictured, below), who is making his debut appearance in a RoR parade, was the winner of 17 of his 42 races, including five Grade Ones. He was retired in December 2017, with Jamie Moore — his jockey and the son of his trainer Gary Moore — saying the horse had “achieved everything he possibly could.”

    During the summer, Sire De Grugy spent a few weeks at RoR’s flagship yard at Palace House in Newmarket, where the gelding underwent some retraining and proved a big draw for the public.

    Since then, he has been enjoying his retirement at Gary’s Sussex yard where Jamie’s wife, Lucie, often takes him out riding with their children.

    sire de grugy retires

    Both Zarkandar and Melodic Rendezvous have also been retired from the track relatively recently and are still acclimatising to a slower pace of life. However, both have settled well into their new routines and are set to enjoy several days out hunting this season.

    The 2015 Paddy Power Gold Cup winner Annacotty has adapted very well to his second career, competing in showjumping and showing — including being ridden side-saddle. The aim for him is to compete in open working hunter classes, following some success in RoR classes this summer.

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    Carruthers, who was owned and bred by the late Lord Oaksey and his family and trained by his son-in-law Mark Bradstock, has been a huge part of the Bradstock/Oaksey family.

    Since retiring from racing, Carruthers has enjoyed a varied life — from leading the field out drag hunting to giving children rides in the sand school at Mark and his wife Sara’s yard near Newbury.

    He has also been a successful point-to-point schoolmaster for the couple’s daughter, Lily, who will be riding him on Saturday.

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