Blenheim Palace host star studded RoR line-up for Sunday parade and new dressage championship

Retraining of Racehorses (RoR) is doubly represented at this week’s SsangYong Blenheim Palace Horse Trials. The event, which runs from Thursday to Sunday (13-16 September), features a new RoR Dressage Championship on the opening day and a parade of retrained racehorses on the closing day.

An illustrious line-up of former racehorses will parade in the main arena at 1pm on Sunday 16th September. The parade includes several former stars of the track, including four-times winner of the Stayers’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, Big Buck’s, and The Queen’s Barber Shop who, after considerable success when trained by Nicky Henderson, conquered all before him in the show ring.

Also featuring in the parade are Annacotty, Dodging Bullets, Times Up and Zarkandar, together with dressage success story Leaveittorog

Big Buck’s parading at Cheltenham

and Wild West, the 2017 RoR Elite Performance Award winner for Showing.

RoR Chief Executive Di Arbuthnot said: “It is a privilege for RoR to be invited to parade in the main arena at Blenheim Palace Horse Trials. The occasion provides a fantastic opportunity to showcase the versatility of the Thoroughbred and the range of careers open to racehorses when they retire from racing.

“The parade line-up includes several horses that will be familiar to the racing public due to their exploits on the track and others who may have less distinguished racing credentials but who are now excelling in a different equine discipline. What they all have in common is that they are enjoying a fulfilling second career after racing.”

A new addition to the competitive action at the Ssangyong Blenheim Palace Horse Trials is the RoR Dressage Championships on the opening day, Thursday 13th September. This is a new competition for 2018 and features classes in ‘Prelim’, ‘Novice’ and ‘Elementary’.

Among the entries is Jimmy Hay, ridden by Jenny Bulman, who last month won at the RoR National Championships at Aintree. Other entries in the Elementary class include Leaveittorog, who returns to parade at Blenheim on Sunday, Namibian, Desert Sea and Heezazari, while popular former chaser Monkerty Tunkerty, in his first season of RoR competition, will be among those competing in the two Preliminary classes.

Further information is available via www.blenheimhorse.co.uk.

The full line-up of horses parading on Sunday at 1pm at SsangYong Blenheim Palace Horse Trials:

1. Annacotty (Showjumping) – ridden by Hannah Bishop

10-year-old by Beneficial, formerly trained by Alan King

Annacotty’s owner, Liz Prowting, is a great supporter of National Hunt racing and Annacotty provided her with her first Grade 1 win, as well as three memorable victories at Cheltenham, including the 2015 Paddy Power Gold Cup. The decision was taken to retire him in 2017 and since then he has been ridden and retrained by Hannah Bishop, Racing Manager to Mrs Prowting. He has adapted very well to his second career, even being ridden side-saddle, and this season he has been competing with success in a number of showing and jumping classes.

2. Barbers Shop (Showing) – ridden by Chris Hunnable

16-year-old by Saddlers’ Hall, formerly trained by Nicky Henderson

Owned by HM The Queen, on the track Barbers Shop had the misfortune to race in the same era as Kauto Star and Denman, being placed behind both in major races. Since his retirement in 2012, Barbers Shop has been based with Katie Jerram-Hunnable and under her schooling he became one of the leading former racehorses to compete in showing classes. Among his many successes was victory at the Hickstead Derby Final and three times winner and champion at Royal Windsor Horse Show. He is now retired from competitive showing.

3. Big Buck’s (Hunting) – ridden by Lucy Felton

15-year-old by Cadoudal, formerly trained by Paul Nicholls

Winner of the Stayers’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival a record four times, Big Buck’s retired from racing in 2014 with a career record of 20 wins from 33 starts and prize money earnings of £1.3m. He still enjoys a day’s hunting with Lucy Felton and the Blackmore and Sparkford Vale, as well as accompanying her children and their ponies on rides.

4. Dodging Bullets (Showjumping) ridden by Lucy Sharp

10-year–old by Dubawi, formally trained by Paul Nicholls

Bred by champion Flat jockey, Frankie Dettori, the pinnacle of Dodging Bullets’ racing career was victory in the 2015 Queen Mother Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, giving his owners ‘Martin Broughton and friends’ a day to remember. During his six-year spell with Paul Nicholls, Dodging Bullets was looked after by Lucy Sharpe and Lucy is now retraining him for a second career following his retirement in 2017. Lucy has been doing plenty of flat work on him and is looking forward to competing in RoR dressage and show jumping events.

5. Leaveittorog (Dressage) – ridden by Fred Hodges

16-year-old by Millkom, formerly trained by Lisa Williamson

Leaveittorog had a very undistinguished racing career, failing to complete any of his four point-to-points and finishing tailed off in a National Hunt Flat Race. ‘Arthur’, as he is known at home, is said to have “happily lolloped away at the back on each occasion”. Retired in 2009, he has found his niche in the dressage arena. Three years ago he went to Fred Hodges and together their achievements include twice Reserve Champion in the Medium class at the RoR Goffs UK National Championships. The combination are now progressing to Advance level, with the target to complete some Advanced 100’s and hopefully get a Prix St George under their belts.

6. Times Up (Showing) – ridden by Alex Embiricos

12-year-old by Olden Times, formerly trained by John Dunlop and Ed Dunlop

A very talented stayer on the Flat, Times Up provided the late John Dunlop with his last Group winner before the trainer’s retirement when winning the Doncaster Cup in 2012, one of three wins the gelding secured at Group 2 level. Alex Embiricos, riding him today, looked after him during his pre-training and now has the honour of looking after him in his life after racing. Alex says of Times Up: “He is a real character, very chatty, very bossy and loves doing everything. He hasn’t been easy to re-train and he can still behave like an octopus on steroids when he gets his knickers in a twist! I totally adore him and is the reason I get up in the morning”. He is being retrained for showing and recently competed at the RoR Goffs UK National Championships at Aintree.

7. Wild West (Showing) – ridden by Lizzie Harris

10-year-old by Galileo, formally trained by Jonjo O’Neill

Despite being in-training first with Aidan O’Brien and then Jonjo O’Neill, where he was ridden by AP McCoy, Wild West failed to win during his racing career, however, he has enjoyed great success in his second career. The highlight was being crowned Supreme Champion at the RoR National Championships in 2017, when ridden side-saddle by Lizzie Harris. He is a very versatile horse having also hunted, team chased and evented. In the show ring his victories include the RoR Tattersalls Championship at Hickstead in 2015 and 2017 and he was also the winner of the 2017 RoR Elite Performance Award for Showing.

8. Zarkandar (Hunting) – ridden by Lucinda Sims

11-year-old gelding by Azamour, formerly trained by Paul Nicholls

Bred by the Aga Khan and a half-brother to the brilliant, unbeaten race mare Zarkava, Zarkandar, known at home as Gino, was retired in February having won eleven races in an eight-year career. Grade 1 victories at Cheltenham, Aintree and Auteuil helped Zarkandar amass almost £1 million in prize money. Paul Nicholls gifted Zarkandar to Lucinda Sims when he retired and he is currently adjusting to a slower pace of life. At present he is Lucinda’s happy hacker while she recovers from cancer and the long-term aim is to do some hunting and showing.