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news Meet the contenders for RoR Horse of the Year Lampos and Billybo

12th December 2018

Counting down to the 2018 RoR Awards on Wednesday 12th December, here are the stories behind the nominations for two more of the four finalists in the running for RoR Horse of the Year, sponsored by The Jockey Club.

Lampos (Showing) owned and ridden by Jolene Midgley
18-year-old by Southern Halo, formerly trained by Julie Camacho

Highlighting how long and fulfilling a career after racing can be Lampos retired from racing thirteen years ago and yet at the age of 18, he achieved a career best result in 2018.

Despite a season interrupted by visits to hospital for treatment, Jolene Midgely and Lampos were crowned Champions in the RoR/TBA Retrained Racehorse Challenge at the RoR Goffs UK National Championships at Aintree in August. They have also enjoyed success in dressage, showjumping, showing and at hunter trials.

In racing career spanning three years and 40 races, Lampos won just one race before seeking a second career in the summer of 2005. He has been based with Jolene Midgely ever since. Initially the pair focussed on showjumping, competing successfully in British Showjumping classes and being placed at riding club championships. However, in recent years they have combined showjumping with showing and challenge classes.

In 2017, they qualified for the RoR National Championships at Aintree but Jolene had to enter hospital the week before, so success on that stage was deemed not meant to be. This year further health issues prevented Jolene and Lampos from competing as regularly as they would have liked, but the pair did manage to qualify for the National Championships, this time by winning the challenge class held at the Northern Racing College, Doncaster.

Over the summer Lampos, aka ‘Larry’, was mainly hacked out due to Jolene having on-going health issues which makes their achievements at Aintree this year all the more special. They won the 80cm Regional League showjumping champion and finished runner-up in the 90cm Regional League championship. But the best was yet to come, when the pair were crowned 2018 Champions in the RoR/TBA Retrained Racehorse Challenge.

Billybo (Showing) – Owned and ridden by Claire Griffiths
15-year-old gelding by Kayf Tara, formerly trained by Tim Vaughan

Of the quartet of Horse of the Year finalists, the 15-year-old Billybo has arguably turned his hand, or hoof, to the widest range of roles, excelling at hunting, showing, working hunter, showjumping, hunter trials, arena eventing, dressage and team chasing.

Together with his owner rider Claire Griffiths, Billybo combines his duties as a Field Master’s horse for the Pembrokeshire Hunt with competing, this year winning nine classes, including two championships, before rounding off the season with a Reserve Champion at the RoR National Championships.

Billybo was bought out of Tim Vaughan’s yard by Claire when he finished racing in May 2014 on the recommendation of her brother Alan Johns, the jockey, who had ridden him in some of his races. Billybo did win a chase and a point-to-point, but he also developed a habit for coming second, a habit that he has since put aside in his second career, where he has proved to be an “absolute legend” due to his exceptional temperament.

Billybo started showing shortly after coming out of training and was then hunted with the Pembrokeshire Hunt. Since Claire became Field Master in 2015, Billybo has paraded with hounds at Chepstow Racecourse, the Royal Welsh Show and Pembrokeshire County Show. Meanwhile, 2015 also saw success for Billybo in the show ring and also as Regional League winner in dressage and showjumping.

This year Claire had a baby in April so Billybo had a few months off, but the combination came back to win a series of classes, including the Ex-Racehorse Championship at Pembrokeshire Hunt Show for the fouth year in a row, before heading to Aintree to round off the season with a Reserve Championships in the RoR TBA Challenge Final at the RoR Goffs Uk National Championships.

Claire Griffiths says: "Billybo has proven to be an absolute legend at home and at competitions with his exceptional temperament and trainability. I wouldn't have been back competing this summer if I didn't have such a relaxed and easy horse to hop back on. I can only dream that my daughter will have a mini version of Billybo as a first pony."

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