Five Finalists selected for the RoR Racing to Hunting Challenge

  • Final judging round at Aintree’s Countryside Alliance Day

Following its launch In January, a competitive field of 30 has been whittled down to five in the search for the best retrained former racehorse in the RoR ‘Racing to Hunting Challenge’.

With a first prize of £2,500, and a further £1,000 awarded to the winning horse’s local hunt, each horse has now been allocated a judge for the next stage of the competition. This will take place in the Autumn Hunting season when judges will visit the respective hunts to watch the finalists in action. They will look at the original judging criteria, which included general hunting manners and jumping ability.

The final round of judging will then be at Aintree Racecourse, at the track’s Countryside Alliance Day on Sunday 29th October. There the five finalists will be included in a hound parade and will also take part in a practical hunting test in the Aintree Equestrian Centre.

The overall winner will be chosen by the judges at Aintree and will then be invited to attend the prestigious annual RoR Awards Ceremony at the Jockey Club Rooms in Newmarket. Here they will be presented with their cash prize as well as the Muriel Tufnell trophy and a Rye-Dri Coat, kindly donated by Watt to Wear.

The final five and their hunts (in no particular order):

  • Seaniethesmuggler – Beverley Thomas – Ludlow
  • Accordintolawrence – Hannah Allman – Cattistock
  • Brumous – Melanie Duff – V.W.H
  • Prince Car – Lauren Poulton – Radnor and West Hereford
  • Sound of Cheers – Isabel Barker – Yorkshire Farmers Bloodhounds


The judges also decided to allow two reserve finalists, in case any of the above were unable to attend the final. These reserves are:

  1. Reserve     Borero – Jane Pighills – Pendle Forest and Craven Harriers
  2. Reserve    Harty’s Quay – Kerrie Aschettino – Fitzwilliam

Back in January all mounted packs across the country were asked to nominate one horse to be in with a chance of winning £2,500 for the horse’s owner and £1,000 for the hunt.

With a first come first served entry system, nominations came in thick and fast and the competition had soon reached it’s 30 horse capacity. Owners were asked to send in their horse’s ‘CVs’, which were to include photos, videos and a short biography of their hunting partner’s history.

All successful nominations were awarded an RoR branded fleece jacket, kindly donated by Watt to Wear, to congratulate them on their nomination.

It was then down to RoR’s experienced team of judges to meet and discuss each of the horses’ nominations in details and identify the five most deserving former racehorses to go through to the final.

The judges, chaired by Mike Tucker, consisted of 8 other experienced horsemen from around the country; Tocky McKie, Rupert Nuttall, Sir Jonathan Clarke, Joey Newton, The Hon Lucinda Cavendish, Edmond Mahony, Louise Daly and Marcus Armytage.

Image: Brumous and Melanie Duff out with the V.W.H