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news Focus on Aintree for Ri-Dry RoR Racing to Hunting Challenge Final

23rd October 2019
Claire Burrows and Back In Focus, images courtesy of Nico Morgan
  • Six finalists head to Aintree to find best racehorse turned hunt horse
  • A total prize fund of £3,500 to be shared

Six former racehorses head to Aintree on Sunday 27th October to prove their versatility in the final of the Racing to Hunting Challenge, organised by Retraining of Racehorses (RoR).

Now in its third year, the Racing to Hunting Challenge, sponsored by Ri-Dry waterproof clothing, will be won by the former racehorse judged to have best adapted to their second career in the hunting field. The winner will be awarded the Meriel Tufnell Trophy with a £3,500 prize fund shared among all six finalists.

Once again, the Racing to Hunting Challenge attracted nominations from all over the country. The judging panel then had the difficult task of drawing up a short list of candidates, each of which was then seen first hand in the hunting field by a member of the panel, prior to the final six being selected for the final.

The six former racehorses vary in age from 13 to 23 and include a Grade 1 winner, as well as horses who enjoyed success under rules and in Point-to-Points. The star performer from the racetrack is the former Willie Mullins trained Back in Focus. He not only won a Grade 1 steeplechase in Ireland and the 2013 running of the National Hunt Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, he also overcame the loss of an eye in a freak accident before going on to thrive in his post racing career.

On Sunday the six finalists will undertake a series of challenges including jumping and negotiating obstacles that they might come across on a day’s hunting. The horses and riders will also parade with the pack of hounds from the Holcombe Harriers and throughout the judging panel will be monitoring their behaviour and performance.

The sextet competing for the coveted title are:

  1. Kawana Cove, 13-y.o, ridden by Maria Lewis, Lamerton Foxhounds
  2. Kikos, 17-y.o, ridden by Amy Morgan, Heythrop Hunt
  3. Newyearsresolution, 15-y.o, ridden by Amie Waugh, Morpeth Hunt
  4. Mr Chippy, 15-y.o ridden by Suzie Dent, Hurworth Hunt
  5. Just A Touch, 23-y.o ridden by Elizabeth Feakes, Kent and Surrey Bloodhounds
  6. Back In Focus, 14-y.o ridden by Clare Burrows, Fitzwilliam (Milton) Hunt

Di Arbuthnot, Chief Executive of Retraining of Racehorses (RoR), said: “The standard of entries grows each year and the six finalists have earned their place in the final. Each of the horses selected demonstrate the temperament, adaptability and versatility needed to make an exceptional hunter.

“It will not be easy picking a winner as they all look worthy of winning the prize. Our thanks again to Aintree for hosting the final, Ri-Dry for their on-going support and sponsorship and to Jonathan Clark and his panel of judges for the hard work they have put in.”

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