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News Former racehorses set to shine on Cheltenham Festival’s opening day

6th March 2024
Saphir Du Rheu and Charlotte Alexander

On the opening day of the prestigious Cheltenham Festival, racegoers and horse racing enthusiasts will witness the annual Retraining of Racehorses (RoR) Parade that takes centre stage in the parade ring at 12.30pm. This parade will feature 11 former racehorses and showcases the range of activities open to racehorses when they finish their racing careers.

One of the stars of the parade is the 2014 Grand National hero Pineau De Re, who concluded his racing career in 2016 at the age of 13 and found a new home under Lizzie Brunt’s care in Worcestershire. Now 21 years old, Pineau De Re, has embraced a second career in eventing and dressage. His story serves as a testament to the extended and fulfilling second careers that former racehorses can enjoy once their days on the racetrack come to a close.

Adding to the distinguished lineup is Native River, who retired in December 2021 after an illustrious career that saw him amass over £1 million in prize money. Since then, he has taken on the unexpected role of a school prom chauffeur and has competed in both dressage and showing classes at the RoR National Championships.

Saphir Du Rheu, a former Grade 1 Novices’ Chase winner at the 2015 Grand National Festival, and runner-up in the Stayers’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, will also grace the parade. Under the guidance of Charlotte Alexander, Saphir Du Rheu transitioned into a new career following his retirement from racing, and is swiftly making strides in the eventing realm along with competing in dressage at Elementary level.

The parade will feature other racing legends such as, Balthazar King, Bristol De Mai, Champagne Fever, Coneygree, a four-time Cheltenham Festival runner-up, Melon, and Smad Place. Each horse has its unique story of successful transitions and fulfilling second careers, highlighting the diverse paths that former racehorses can take.

David Catlow, Managing Director of Retraining of Racehorses (RoR), added “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, competing at lower levels. The varied lives these horses lead highlights the care and dedication to aftercare we have in Great Britain. However, this also underscores the need for further support and resources, as set out in the RoR Strategy 2024-2026, to ensure every retired racehorse finds a fulfilling second career or retirement.”

The RoR Parade promises to be a must see event, celebrating the resilience, adaptability, and sheer talent of former racehorses as they embark on new and fulfilling chapters post-racing.


Notes for Editors
For more information, please contact Toni Levey, Communications & Media Executive at RoR, or telephone 07881 286441.

About Retraining of Racehorses (RoR)
Founded in 2000, Retraining of Racehorses (RoR) is British Horseracing's official charity for the welfare of horses who have retired from racing. We believe every former racehorse deserves a life well lived throughout every stage of their life. For more information visit

Full Line up:

1. BALTHAZAR KING – ridden by Michael Andrews
2. BRISTOL DE MAI – ridden by Clare Alexander
3. CHAMPAGNE FEVER – ridden by Georgia Marsland
4. CONEYGREE - ridden by Sara Bradstock
5. DUC DES GENIEVRES – ridden by Jess Westwood
6. KEMBOY – ridden by Rachel Sharp
7. MELON – ridden by Sophie Candy
8. NATIVE RIVER – ridden by Emma Vine
9. PINEAU DE RE - ridden by Lizzie Brunt
10. SAPHIR DU RHEU – ridden by Charlotte Alexander
11. SMAD PLACE – ridden by Sarah Haydon

Latest news RoR is always interested to hear of other success stories so please email us and send a photograph of your own story.

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