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news RoR Online Show hailed ‘a great initiative’

1st September 2020
Lucinda Sims and Mumtaz Begum
  • Results of 30 classes announced after 297 former racehorses are entered
  • Lucinda Sims and Poppi Shepherd lead roll of honour

Over the course of the August Bank Holiday weekend the results of 30 showing classes open exclusively to former racehorses were announced.

Unable to stage its annual National Championships at Aintree’s International Equestrian Centre, Retraining of Racehorses (RoR) put on in its place the RoR Online Show. The show attracted a bumper entry of 297 former racehorses, including entries from Australia, Hong Kong, New Zealand and the USA. Many horses were entered for more than one class and in total the 30 classes generated over a thousand entries.

The show featured a combination of in hand and ridden classes and concluded seven series that horses and their handlers had qualified for prior to Covid-19 impacting on this year’s schedule of events.

Of the competitors Lucinda Sims enjoyed a particularly memorable show emerging with four wins and further six top three placings. Based at Penton Mewsey, near Andover, Sims entered five individual horses and won classes with three of them. The 15-year-old mare Mumtaz Begum, by Kyllachy, landed one of the show’s prestige events, the RoR Tattersalls Show Series Online Final, as well as winning the ridden class of ‘One For The Girls’.

A long-time advocate of the versatility of the thoroughbred, Lucinda Sims also enjoyed victory with Bonnie Lass, a 5-year-old mare by Great Pretender, in the Open In Hand class, one of three classes to attract over 100 entries, and with the four-time Grade 1 winner Zarkandar in the in hand ‘Always A Star’ class, the result of which was announced live on television on ITV Racing’s Opening Show.

Reflecting on a successful weekend, Lucinda Sims said: “What a great initiative the RoR Online Show has been. It was such fun to be a part of and I was delighted to win one class, let alone four! Mumtaz Begum has been a wonderful horse for us and it seems even on video her lovely, kind character shone through.

“We broke-in Bonnie Lass before she went to Emma Lavelle’s and she was entered to run on the day lockdown started and racing stopped. She is an exciting prospect for showing, winning as competitive a class as that just a couple of months after coming out of training. She’s a credit to Emma and her team.”

Another to enjoy a great weekend of results was Poppi Sheperd, from Yetholm in the Scottish Borders. She won three classes on her two horses, including one of the series finals, the RoR Tattersalls Amateur Ridden Show Series Online Final with her 14-year-old gelding, Dreamy George. Shepherd also won two classes with the former Godolphin owned horse, Festive Fare. Still only an 8-year-old, the gelding by Teofilo won two ridden classes, Hunter Type and Tattersalls Graduate, and was runner-up in a third.

Three combinations won two classes each. Eileen Melvin’s 14-year-old gelding Inca Slew won two in hand classes, beating stiff competition on both occasions. The pair won the Best Condition class, which attracted 100 entries, and the Sport Horse class, which attracted 75 entries.

Tracy Heaver and her striking bay gelding Colonel Klink caught the judge’s eye to such effect that they won two classes, the Open Ridden Showing class and the Hack Type. The latter was judged by Deirdre Johnston, wife of racehorse trainer Mark, and the pair played a key role in supporting the RoR Online Show as Deirdre not only judged a class, but together with Mark they sponsored four classes as well.

The other two-time winner at the show was Sara Fogg’s Overafrica. The 14-year-old gelding by Overbury won the ridden Sport Horse class and the ridden ‘Boys Only’ class, the latter of which was judged by current champion jockey Oisin Murphy and Lady Emma Balding.

Having attracted a strong international entry it is not surprising that some RoR rosettes and prizes will be going abroad via airmail. All of the countries responsible for entries produced at least one top three result, with victories for Hong Kong, New Zealand and Australian based horses.

Fiona McIntyre, from Geelong, Victoria, was the most successful of the internationals, winning the in hand Hack Type class with Precedence, a 15-year-old gelding by Zabeel who ran 48 times, including three times in the Melbourne Cup, as well as enjoying a second and a third placing.

The show was also an endorsement for the aftercare operation run by Godolphin, with the winners of four classes and three runner-ups having all carried the royal blue of Godolphin on the racetrack.

Di Arbuthnot, Chief Executive of RoR, said: “In putting on the show we have had great support from racing together with the wider equestrian world with judges including showing experts, Olympic medallists, trainers and jockeys. Our sincere thanks go to all those who supported the show by either sponsoring or judging classes or simply by entering.

“In a normal year we stage hundreds of classes and competitions exclusively for former racehorses, from polo to dressage, eventing to showing, but this is no normal year. In 2021 we hope to be back at Aintree, as well as active around the rest of the country, putting on RoR classes and educational events. However, there will no doubt be some positive learnings we will take out of the Online Show, such as its inclusivity and the ability to engage with people and their horses all over the country and abroad.

“Putting on the show has not been without its challenges but the breadth and scale of entries made it all worthwhile and it has served as a good platform from which to increase online awareness of the charity’s work.”

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