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

8th April 2024
Lady Buttons competes at the Jockey Club RoR National Championships 2023

The second day of the Randox Grand National Festival on Friday 12 April sees the return of the annual Retraining of Racehorses (RoR) Parade at 12.40pm, before racing starts. The line-up of eight horses illustrates the versatility of the Thoroughbred and shows off the diverse array of options available to racehorses after their racing careers come to an end. The parade includes horses excelling in slightly more unconventional activities such as horseball, as well as the more traditional disciplines of dressage and showing.

Aintree favourite Blaklion returns to the course where he lined up to contest the Grand National on four occasions, and where he notably won the Becher Chase in 2017. Since retiring from racing in 2023, Blaklion now enjoys a fulfilling retirement under the guidance of retrainer Alice Pimberley. He has had a busy season competing in showing classes, taking part in fun rides, hunting, and has been successful in hunt races.

Joining the line-up is Lady Buttons, a beloved figure of the northern racing circuit while in training for Philip Kirby, she joined former exercise rider Jenny Durrans in retirement. After a stellar debut season in the showing arena, the pair have set their sights on the world of eventing to target for the coming season.

Master Wickham may have never troubled the judge in his racing career, but since retiring in 2015 he has carved out a hugely fruitful second career, finding success at every discipline he has turned his hoof to. His raft of prizes at prestigious venues such as Badminton, Hickstead, Burghley and Bramham highlights the versatility of former racehorses and their ability to compete against non-Thoroughbreds in every discipline.

Former Willie Mullins trained duo Kemboy and Melon, Duke Of Navan and British Horseball competitors Touch Of Faith and Peveril Point will complete the line-up. Each horse has its unique story of successfully transitioning from the racecourse and pursuing a fulfilling second career, highlighting the diverse paths that former racehorses can take.

David Catlow, Managing Director of Retraining of Racehorses (RoR), said: “Our thanks to Aintree Racecourse and The Jockey Club for giving us the opportunity to put together such a great line-up of former racehorses to parade for the Aintree crowd. RoR Parades are designed to educate racegoers whilst offering them a chance to witness first-hand the variety of different second career options open to racehorses once they retire from racing. They also highlight the need for further support and resources, as set out in the RoR Strategy 2024-2026, to ensure that we are able to safeguard the wellbeing of all former racehorses.”

Full Line up:

1. BLAKLION – ridden by Alice Pimbley

2. DUKE OF NAVAN – ridden by Kelly Harding

3. KEMBOY – ridden by Rachel Sharp

4. LADY BUTTONS – ridden by Jenny Durrans

5. MASTER WICKHAM – ridden by Claire Lewis

6. MELON – ridden by Sophie Candy

7. TOUCH OF FAITH – ridden by Ben Berry

8. PEVERIL POINT – ridden by David Worthington

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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