News Saphir all set to shine again at Aintree

3rd April 2019
Saphir Du Rheu and Charlotte Alexander, the former Grade One winner returns to Aintree on Thursday in this year’s RoR Parade.
  • Saphir Du Rheu and Pineau De Re lead line-up of former Aintree winners parading before racing on Thursday
  • Retraining of Racehorses (RoR) Parade to take place on first day of the Randox Health Grand National Festival

Aintree Grand National winners, Grade One winners and history makers all feature in the line-up for this year’s Retraining of Racehorses (RoR) parade on the opening day of the Randox Health Grand National Festival.

The RoR Parade, generously sponsored by the Peter O’Sullevan Trust, takes place at 12.15pm in the parade ring on Grand National Thursday.

The winner of the 2014 Grand National, Pineau De Re, now enjoying a successful second career eventing, returns to feature in the parade. He is one of six former Grand National Festival winners in the nine-horse parade that showcases the alternative equine disciplines former racehorses excel in. The list of Aintree victors also includes the three time Topham Chase winner Always Waining, as well as El Dancer, Peddlers Cross, Walkon and Saphir Du Rheu.

Formerly trained by Paul Nicholls, the handsome grey Saphir Du Rheu won a Grade 1 Novices’ Chase at the 2015 Grand National Festival. He was also runner-up in the Stayers’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival and finished fifth in a Gold Cup, however, after pulling up in the 2018 running of the Cheltenham Gold Cup he was retired and shortly after joined Charlotte Alexander to begin his second career.

Charlotte Alexander, who had the pleasure of riding both Denman and Silviniaco Conti in their post racing careers, says of Saphir Du Rheu: “He came to me last April and then had a break before starting training for his new career. In his first season team chasing he has progressed from novice to open classes and he is now the lead horse for the famous Boring Goring Open Team Chase team.

“He has also turned into a super hunter and hunts with the Beaufort. He will jump everything from the stiff park railings to hairy hedges. He is my ‘show off’ horse.

“Saphir is very athletic, bold and intelligent. Going forward the aim is to do some eventing. We recently completed our first BE100 class and he is showing a great aptitude for dressage and showjumping, as well as being a machine across country.”

The journey of Always Waining towards an active second career was rather less rapid than Saphir Du Rheu’s. Always Waining made Aintree history when winning three consecutive runnings of the Topham Chase (2010 – 2012) and he was retired from racing the following year after the 2013 Grand National. However, it was not until four years later that he started being properly retrained. Now, at the age of 18, Always Waining is thriving, enjoying hacking and hunting as well as doing some working hunter show classes.

The RoR parade line-up is completed by The Queen’s Barbers Shop, Wild West, the 2017 Supreme Champion at the RoR National Championships at Aintree and the former Sue Smith trained chaser turned exemplary hunter, Cloudy Too.

Di Arbuthnot, Chief Executive of RoR, said: “There is a great line-up for this year’s Aintree parade featuring some wonderful examples of the racehorse’s adaptability and versatility.

“The team at Aintree are great supporters and promoters of the charity and we would also like to thank the Peter O’Sullevan Charitable Trust for their most generous sponsorship.”

The parade is due to take place at 12.15pm, on Thursday, 4th April. Details of the nine horses participating, together with their riders and their current activities, are listed below.

2019 RoR Aintree Parade, sponsored by the Peter O’Sullevan Trust:

1. Always Waining (Hunting and showing) – ridden by Rebecca Francis
18-year-old by Unfuwain, formerly trained by Peter Bowen

2. Barbers Shop (Showing) – ridden by Katie Jerram Hunnable
17-year-old by Saddlers’ Hall, formerly trained by Nicky Henderson

3. Cloudy Too (Hunting) – ridden by Carolyn Woods
13-year-old by Cloudings, formerly trained by Sue Smith

4. El Dancer (Hunting and eventing) – ridden by Clemmie Hoskins
15-year-old by Seattle Dancer, formerly trained by Lucy Wadham.

5. Peddlers Cross (Showjumping and showing) – Ridden by Brian Storey
14-year-old by Oscar, formerly trained by Donald McCain

6. Pineau De Re (Eventing) – Ridden by Lizzie Doolittle
16-year-old by Maresca Sorrento, formerly trained by Dr Richard Newland

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

8. Walkon (Hunting) – ridden by Catherine Warner
14-year-old by Take Risks, formerly trained by Alan King

9. Wild West (Showing) – ridden by Lizzie Harris
11-year-old by Galileo, formerly trained by Jonjo O’Neill

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