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news Champion Day RoR Parade features Native River, Cyrname & Thistlecrack

9th March 2023
Cyrname and Charlotte Alexander, image courtesy of 1st Class Images
  • Day one line-up features six Festival winners
  • Parade showcases the range of activities former racehorses excel in

Native River, Cyrname and Thistlecrack, three of the most popular and talented National Hunt heroes of recent years, return to Cheltenham on day one of The Festival (Tuesday 14th March) as part of the annual parade of former racehorses that will take place before racing on Champion Day.

In December 2021, Native River retired after a glittering career amassing over £1 million in prize money, under the care of trainer Colin Tizzard. In total Native River won fourteen races including the Hennessy Gold Cup, Welsh National, Denman Chase and that memorable Gold Cup duel with Might Bite. Since retiring, Native River has had a busy social calendar and was seen in the media as a school prom chauffeur.

During a career spanning seven years, God’s Own claimed three Grade One victories, with triumphs in the Ryanair Novice Chase and the Boylesports Champion Chase at the Punchestown Festival sandwiching top-level success in the 2016 Melling Chase at Aintree. On retirement God’s Own was gifted to Sherrie Derrick and the pair have recently been out competing in dressage and show jumping competitions.

Also in the parade is Cyrname, formerly the highest rated chaser in training, whose victories included a defeat of Altior at Ascot. To date he has not put a foot wrong in his retraining with Charlotte Alexander and he made an appearance at Blenheim International Horse Trials in September taking part in a RoR educational dressage display. He is showing a lot of promise in his second career and Charlotte’s aim is to go eventing, hunting and team chasing with him.

Another former Tizzard star is Thistlecrack who’s victories included the 2016 running of the Stayers’ Hurdle and the King George VI Chase at Kempton. Since his retirement from racing in 2019, Thistlecrack has been retrained and is enjoying a range of new pursuits, including showing, cross-country schooling, show jumping, hunting and arena eventing.

Meanwhile, Champagne Fever, winner of both the Champion Bumper and Supreme Novices’ Hurdle is thriving in his second career climbing the ladder in eventing with rider Georgia Marsland. The pair feature alongside the 2015 Cheltenham Gold Cup winner, Coneygree, four-time Cheltenham Festival runner-up, Melon and all-time favourites Pineau De Re, Zarkandar and Saphir Du Rheu in a parade that showcases the many different career options open to racehorses when they retire.

David Catlow, Managing Director of Retraining of Racehorses (RoR), said: “There is a lovely cross-section of horses in the parade. They are all high performers on the racecourse, but some have had notable success in their second careers, while others simply enjoy an active and fulfilling retirement, hacking around and competing at lower levels. The varied lives these horses lead highlight the infrastructure RoR has created for our former racehorse population.

“Our thanks to Cheltenham Racecourse and The Jockey Club for the opportunity to showcase RoR’s work at The Festival.”

Retraining of Racehorses (RoR) is British racing’s official charity for the welfare of retired racehorses. The parade will take place in the paddock at 12.30pm on Tuesday 14th March.

Full parade line-up:

  1. Barbers Shop (Showing) – ridden by Katie Jerram Hunnable
    21-year-old by Saddlers’ Hall, formerly trained by Nicky Henderson
  2. BALTHAZAR KING – ridden by Michael Andrews
    19-year-old by King’s Theatre, formerly trained by Philip Hobbs
  3. CHAMPAGNE FEVERridden by Harriet Colderick
    16-Year-Old gelding by Stowaway, formerly trained by Willie Mullins
  4. CONEYGREE - ridden by Sara Bradstock
    16-year-old by Karinga Bay, formerly trained by Mark Bradstock
  5. CYRNAME – ridden by Louise Harwood
    11-year-old by Nickname, formerly trained by Paul Nicholls
  6. GOD’S OWN – ridden by Sherrie Derrick
    15-year-old gelding by Oscar, formerly trained by Tom George
  7. MELON – ridden by Sophie Candy
    11-year-old gelding by Medicean, formerly trained by Willie Mullins
  8. NATIVE RIVER – ridden by Emma Vine
    13-year-old by Indian River, formerly trained by Colin Tizzard
  9. PINEAU DE RE - ridden by Molly Johnstone-Ellis
    20-year-old gelding by Maresca Sorrento, formerly trained by Dr Richard Newland

  10. SAPHIR DU RHEU – ridden by Charlotte Alexander
    14-year-old gelding by Al Namix, formerly trained by Paul Nicholls
  11. THE WORLDS END - ridden by Charlie IIes
    12-year-old gelding by Stowaway, formerly trained by Olly Murphy
  12. THISTLECRACK – Ridden by Alice Gillard
    15-year-old gelding by Kayf Tara, formerly trained by Colin Tizzard
  13. ZARKANDAR – ridden side saddle by Olivia Fforde
    16-year-old gelding by Azamour, formerly trained by Paul Nicholls

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