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news All set for the annual RoR Awards

13th January 2020
  • Eight elite winners from different disciplines in the running for The Jockey Club sponsored RoR Horse of the Year Award
  • Plus author Jilly Cooper will select her RoR Horse Personality of the Year

The annual Retraining of Racehorses (RoR) Awards take place on Saturday 18th January, hosted by RoR Patron, Clare Balding, and ITV Racing and Sky Sports Racing presenter, Luke Harvey.

Now in its sixth year, the event will again be staged at the historic Jockey Club Rooms in Newmarket. The awards showcase and celebrate the versatility of former racehorses across a range of disciplines with prizes awarded to winners in dressage, endurance, eventing, hunting, polo, showing and show jumping. The final award on the night is RoR Horse of the Year, sponsored by The Jockey Club, the winner of which will be selected from the evening’s eight elite winners.

In addition, there is a new award for this year, marking the 20th anniversary of RoR gaining its charitable status. The RoR Horse Personality of the Year, as chosen by best-selling author and renowned horse lover, Jilly Cooper, recognises a former racehorse that has displayed remarkable strength of character and personality during their life after racing.

The winners of the eight elite awards are the former racehorses who in 2019 won RoR championship events or achieved the best season long results in their respective disciplines. They are headed by Quadrille, who is currently the highest performing thoroughbred on the UK dressage circuit. Owned and bred by HM The Queen, Quadrille has been retrained for a career in dressage by Louise Robson, who believes the 13-year-old can improve further and could compete at Grand Prix level in 2020.

Boasting an even better racing pedigree than the Queen’s homebred is the winner of the RoR Endurance title, Abseil. Formerly trained by Sir Michael Stoute, Abseil is a son of the Breeders’ Cup winning mare Intercontinental and was bred by Juddmonte Farms. As well as excelling in endurance, Abseil and his rider Tracy Sieminski have shown their versatility by also competing in dressage, showing and cross-country classes.

The elite eventing award will go to Dream Big, after the 9-year-old mare accumulated the most British Eventing points during 2019. Owned, as she was in her racing days, by Magdalena Gut of Pinehurst Stud and now ridden by international event rider, Tom McEwen, Dream Big is living up to her name and is set to step up to four star level eventing in 2020.

Also among the candidates for the RoR Horse of the Year Award is Kikos, the 18-year-old winner of the RoR Ri-Dry Racing to Hunting Challenge. Regulars with the Heythrop Hunt, Kikos and his rider Amy Morgan have also enjoyed success in the dressage arena.

The supreme champions from RoR’s two prestige showing series both make the list and will be honoured on the night. Desert Joe and Rebecca Court got the judge’s vote in the final of the RoR Tattersalls Show Series at Hickstead in June, while the pairing of Mumford and Collette McGoldrick was declared Supreme Champion at the RoR Goffs UK National Championships at Aintree in August.

The highest performing former racehorse on the polo field in 2019 was Maidana. The 9-year-old chestnut mare failed to trouble the judge in four starts under rules for Tim Easterby, but nurtured by polo pony producer Alan Kent, in 2019 she reached the heights of playing in the Argentine Open having been bought during the season for leading player Camilo Castangnola.

The third mare among the elite winners is Early Shirley, who together with her rider Claudia Jones, has carved out a second career for herself show jumping. Their highlights from 2019 include qualifying for the National Amateur Championships and two top ten finishes at the Bolesworth Young Horse Championships in August.

The winner of the RoR Horse of the Year, sponsored by The Jockey Club, will receive the perpetual trophy, produced by Harriet Glen, together with tickets, with hospitality, to the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival 2020.

Meanwhile, the RoR Horse Personality of the Year will be made in honour of the late Paul Mellon in recognition of the bequest from the estate of Paul Mellon to RoR when the charity was established 20 years ago, in 2000. The winner will be selected by Jilly Cooper from the three finalists; 14-year-old gelding Real Desire, 11-year-old gelding Ned Causer and 21-year-old gelding Grouse Moor. The winner will receive a trophy and all of the finalists will receive a special RoR rug.

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