Helpline: 01488 648998

news Former racehorses set to star for Team GB in Horseball World Cup

15th August 2022

One of the activities that best highlights the adaptability of former racehorses is horseball and this week sees the FIHB Horseball World Cup taking place in Normandy, France. Seven of the horses in the Team GB Pro-Elite squad are thoroughbreds and all eight of the Team GB Ladies squad are thoroughbreds.

Described as a combination of basketball and rugby on horseback, horseball is a fast action team game played with four players on each side, with two substitutes ready to come on at any stage. Horses must show not only speed and agility, but also have excellent temperaments to reach the top in the sport.

Retraining of Racehorses (RoR), British racing’s official charity for the welfare of retired racehorses, is proud to be supporting Team GB at the upcoming FIHB Horseball World Cup. Through sponsorship, RoR has helped fund Team GB’s trip to the World Cup.

Captain of Great Britain’s Pro-Elite squad is Ben Berry and his mount at the World Cup is the nine-year-old gelding, Restive. A son of Rip Van Winkle, Restive ran 68 times in his racing career, winning seven races. His last race was in February 2021 and just 18 months later, he is set to compete at the highest level in horseball.

Purchased as a yearling by Qatar Racing, Restive’s first trainer was Ger Lyons, for whom he won a maiden and he also ran in the Group 2 Beresford Stakes. Subsequent trainers included Iain Jardine, Jim Goldie and Mick Appleby before Restive finished his racing career in the care of Mick Easterby. In early 2021 his new career started with Ben Berry, who also competes on former listed winner Mabait.

Ben Berry, Team GB captain, said: “We choose racehorses because of their speed and their natural racing temperament of running with the crowd. They tend to be very retrainable horses and, for me, it’s their size and how fast they are that is the winning combination.”

The six-day long FIHB Horseball World Cup starts today, Monday 15th August, as part of the Normandie Horse Show at Saint-Lô. As well as the Pro-Elite and Ladies’ competitions, there are also teams competing for titles in the Under 21, Under 16 and Under 10 categories.

The Team GB Pro-Elite and Ladies squads includes horses that ran on the flat, over jumps and in point-to-points and past trainers of the horses include Jeremy Noseda, George Baker, Steve Gollings, Ben Haslam, Kayley Woollacott and John Jenkins.

Looking ahead to their chances, Jim Copeland, Director of the British Horseball Association, said: “The teams have trained hard and are feeling confident. With the draw for the World Cup, it much depends on the first-round match. Our Pro-Elite team have drawn Portugal. To date the Portuguese have always had the edge and we have never beaten them. However, as many of the players of our bronze medal winning team in the last European Cup are going again, we are very hopeful that they can do it. The path then to contesting the medals is much easier.

“Our Ladies are strong and have drawn Canada in the first round. The Canadian Captain plays in GB and she will be up against three of her own teammates. For the first time in many years, the Ladies are in with a very good chance of a medal.”

Di Arbuthnot, Chief Executive of Retraining of Racehorses (RoR), added: “One of our aims at RoR is to identify different activities that former racehorses excel at and to then develop a relationship with that sport to promote awareness of the suitability of racehorses for that discipline.

“We are delighted to be supporting Team GB at the FIHB Horseball World Cup. Horseball welcomes all types of racehorse and the retraining process can be quicker than other disciplines, as shown by the speed with which Ben Berry has retrained Restive to compete at the top level. We wish them all the best at the World Cup. The team, and horseball in general, are great adverts for racehorse aftercare.”

1. The seven thoroughbreds in the Team GB Pro-Elite squad

Charles Tyrwhitt, mount of Jamie Lambley
13 y.o gelding by Iffraaj, formerly trained by George Baker
Ran 5 times on the flat, no wins / places.

Cool Echo, mount of Jamie Gibson
8 y.o mare, formerly trained by John Jenkins
Ran 27 times on the flat, won one race

Murko De Cacouet, mount of Oscar Timm
11 y.o gelding
Trained in France but never raced

Restive, mount of Ben Berry
9 y.o gelding by Rip Van Winkle, formerly trained by Ger Lyons, Ian Jardine, Jim Goldie, Mick Appleby & Mick Easterby
Ran 68 times on the flat, won 7 races

Snuffling, mount of Michael Barton
10 y.o gelding by Cloudings, formerly trained by Heidi Brookshaw
Ran 5 times in point-to-points, no wins / places

Troya, mount of Reece McNamara
11 y.o mare by Grandera
Trained in France by John Reddington, but never raced

Zamoyski, mount of Freddie Donnelly
12 y.o gelding by Dutch Art, formerly trained by Jeremy Noseda, Steve Gollings
Ran 37 times in flat and jumps races, won 6 races

2. The eight thoroughbreds in the Team GB Ladies squad

ChoupaChope, mount of Annabelle Tobin,
16 y.o mare by Panis, formerly trained by Mathieu Boutin
Raced 9 times on the flat in France, no wins, one place

Diablerets, mount of Emily Lingard
9 y.o gelding by Vendangeur, formerly trained by Kayley Woollacott
Ran 11 times over jumps, no wins / places

Exclusive Paddy, mount of Leah Fenton
13 y.o gelding by Alkaadhem, formerly trained by Philip Rothwell
Ran once over hurdles in Ireland, no wins / places

Melphos, mount of Kathryn Harborough
8 y.o French bred gelding by Adelphos and bred by José Delmotte at Haras d’Haspek in Lower Normandy.

Moving Picture, mount of Bethany Lambley
14 y.o gelding by Antonius Pius, formerly trained by Ben Haslam
Ran 4 times on the flat, no wins / places

Robyx Du Desert, mount of Maya Carter Birch
10 y.o gelding by Rob Roy, formerly trained by Patrice Lenogue
Ran once over hurdles in France, no wins / places

Saariselka, mount of Rebecca Edwards
Trained and raced abroad

Borawind, mount of Charlotte Silcott Niles
12 y.o gelding, Spanish bred and raced

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

Published 28th May, 2024

Inside an RoR Insight Day

Amy Bannister Bell, RoR Wales Regional Development Officer Back in 2023, I wanted to offer something new to RoR’s educat...

Published 26th April, 2024

Retraining of Racehorses partner with BEDE Events

Retraining of Racehorses (RoR) is pleased to confirm a new partnership with BEDE Events that will run alongside the prev...

Published 8th April, 2024

From Horseball to Dressage: Former racehorses showcase their second careers in Aintree RoR Parade

The second day of the Randox Grand National Festival on Friday 12 April sees the return of the annual Retraining of Race...

Published 20th March, 2024

RoR Horses For Courses gains momentum in 2024

The Retraining of Racehorses (RoR) Horses for Courses programme, supported by Godolphin, has kicked off with excitement ...