Helpline: 01488 648998

news Master Minded one of the star turns in The Festival RoR parade

5th March 2019
  • 12 horse line-up features six Cheltenham Festival winners
  • Former champion Master Minded to make first appearance since 2011
  • Parade again sponsored by the Peter O’Sullevan Trust

Master Minded, dual winner of the Queen Mother Champion Chase, will make his first appearance on a racecourse in over seven years when he joins the parade of retrained racehorses on Champion Day at The Festival at Cheltenham (Tuesday 12th March).

The annual parade is organised by racing’s official charity for the welfare of retired racehorses, Retraining of Racehorses (RoR). Held before racing at 12.30pm, the parade showcases the range of activities open to racehorses when they finish their racing careers and has become an increasingly popular attraction in the build-up to racing on day one of The Festival.

Now a 16-year-old, Master Minded is one of 12 former racehorses in the parade, which is again sponsored by the Peter O’Sullevan Trust. Together the dozen horses have a combined age of 172 and between them have won 29 Grade 1 races and over £6m in prize money. All are still active and enjoying a second career after racing.

Besides Master Minded, other Festival winners in the line-up include 2014 Cheltenham Gold Cup victor Lord Windermere, Festival favourite Cue Card, Balthazar King, My Way De Solzen and Zarkandar.

In 2008 Master Minded became the youngest ever winner of the Queen Mother Champion Chase and produced one of the outstanding chasing performances of this century, winning by 19 lengths when just a five-year-old. He returned to win the race again a year later, however, he subsequently incurred a career ending injury in the 2011 King George VI Chase at Kempton Park and he has not appeared on a racecourse since.

At Kempton, Master Minded struck into himself, cutting into a tendon, and the gravity of the injury was such that it not only ended his racing career it was also life threatening.

Thanks to the care he received at Newmarket Equine Hospital (NEH), Master Minded was nursed back to health before embarking on the long road back to recovery and a second career. Among those on the team at NEH was Equine Nurse, Sophie Haylock, who took on the responsibility for looking after and retraining Master Minded in 2013.

Sophie’s patience with Master Minded has paid off and the pair now take part in local shows and dressage competitions. She says of Master Minded: “He is a wonderful horse to be around and definitely has an aura about him. The injuries he had were very serious and on leaving hospital we kept him to a carefully devised rehabilitation programme.

“He is now enjoying a very happy retirement. I am so grateful to Clive Smith for giving me the opportunity to have ‘Ems’ (Master Minded) at home. Clive keeps in touch and often comes to visit him. I think it is fair to say both horse and rider are excited about going to Cheltenham. I just have not told him he’s going yet!”

The parade also offers racegoers an opportunity to see the more recently retired Cue Card who is in the early stages of his retraining. Cue Card is still based at Colin Tizzard’s Dorset yard and will be ridden in the parade by Hamir Singh, who looked after him and rode him at exercise during his racing career. Cue Card’s owner Jean Bishop is considering the possibility of Cue Card doing some RoR showing classes in the future.

As well as former stars from racing, the Peter O’Sullevan Trust sponsored parade features some over-achievers from other disciplines too. Now aged 16, popular West Country chaser, Monkerty Tunkerty, is a shining example of the thoroughbred’s versatility. Last year he won competitive classes in showing, dressage and show jumping and was placed at championship level in three different disciplines at the RoR Goffs UK National Championships at Aintree. His achievements earned him the honour of being awarded 2018 RoR Horse of the Year.

Also competing at Aintree was What Of It, who was adjudged Supreme Champion at the show by a panel of judges including jockey Nico de Boinville, thereby landing the double of elite RoR showing prizes, having won the RoR Tattersalls Show Series Championship at Hickstead in June.

Di Arbuthnot, Chief Executive of RoR, added: “We are very much looking forward to the RoR parade at The Festival. Due to the outbreak of Equine Influenza it has not been straightforward organising this year’s parade and we are grateful to all those who have made it possible, in particular, the owners and riders of the horses involved.

“It is fantastic to have horses of the calibre of Master Minded and Cue Card parading and promoting the work of RoR. Special thanks also to the Peter O’Sullevan Trust for their generous and on-going support of the RoR parades.”

Tuesday 5th March 2019

RoR Parade line-up, sponsored by the Peter O’Sullevan Trust, The Festival 2019

1. Annacotty (Showing and Show Jumping) – ridden by Hannah Bishop
11-year-old by Beneficial, formerly trained by Martin Keighley and Alan King

2. Balthazar King (Hunting) – ridden by Stephen Way
15-year-old by King’s Theatre, formerly trained by Philip Hobbs

3. Carruthers – (Show Jumping and Team Chasing) ridden by Lily Bradstock
16-year-old by Kayf Tara, formerly trained by Mark Bradstock

4. Cue Card (Showing) – ridden by Hamir Singh
13-year-old by King’s Ride, formerly trained by Colin Tizzard

5. Lord Windermere (Showing) – Ridden by Elle Greenhalgy
13-year-old by Oscar, formerly trained by Jim Culloty

6. Master Minded (Dressage) – ridden by Sophie Haylock
16-year-old by Nikos, formerly trained by Paul Nicholls 1164

7. Monkerty Tunkerty (Showing and Show Jumping) – ridden by Jess Westwood
16-year-old by Silver Patriarch, formally trained by Jess Westwood

8. My Way De Solzen (Hunting) – ridden by Cate Mahon
19-year-old by Assessor, formerly trained by Alan King

9. Saphir Du Rheu (Team Chasing) – ridden by Charlotte Alexander
10-year-old by Al Namix, formerly trained by Paul Nicholls

10. Wayward Prince (Dressage and hunting) – ridden by Megan Harper
15-year-old by Alflora, formerly trained by Ian Williams and Hilary Parrott

11. What Of It (Showing) – ridden by Hannah Horton
16-year-old by Tel Quel, formerly trained by Sarah Ward

12. Zarkandar (Hunting) – ridden by Olivia Sims
12-year-old by Azamour, formerly trained by Paul Nicholls

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 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 ...

Published 15th March, 2024

RoR member research shapes future direction

In a bid to better understand the needs and preferences of its members, Retraining of Racehorses (RoR) conducted its ina...