Sovereign Debt ready to show off new skills in Ascot parade
The recently retired and popular Sovereign Debt returns to Ascot on Wednesday in his new guise as a successful competitor in the show ring. The grey gelding is one of six former racehorses taking part in a parade during Royal Ascot Trials Day to highlight the versatility of racehorses in adapting to other equine disciplines.
The former Ruth Carr trained gelding, now a ten-year-old, retired from racing last summer and has already qualified for the RoR National Championships at Aintree in August. On the track Sovereign Debt attracted a large following throughout a lengthy and illustrious career. He ran 63 times and was the winner of fifteen races, including eight victories at Group or Listed level, amassing over £800,000 in prize money. Trained initially by Michael Bell, then David Nicholls, Ruth Carr took on Sovereign Debt for his final two seasons of racing.
Retraining of Racehorses (RoR) is British racing’s official charity for the welfare of retired racehorses and thanks to the generosity of Ascot Racecourse, it has been given an opportunity to showcase its work during racing on Wednesday. The parade of six horses will take place at 3pm, immediately after the second race.
The six former racehorses showed varying levels of ability on the track but all have been retrained for a fulfilling second career in another equine discipline. As well as Sovereign Debt, the line-up includes Royal Ascot winner Pique Sous, Lincoln Handicap winner Secret Brief, former globetrotter Windhoek and two racehorses that have gone on to represent Great Britain at Horseball.
The aim of the parade is to increase awareness of the versatility of racehorses and the increasingly wide range of options available to them when their racing careers are over. The RoR parades are supported by the Peter O’Sullevan Trust.
The six horses parading at Ascot, together with the principal activity they are doing and their riders, are as follows:
1. CORSO PALLADIO (Horseball) – Ridden by Alexandra Oldbury-Davies
17-year-old by Montjeu, formerly trained by Peter Bowen
In an eight year racing career Corso Palladio had a total of 32 starts, winning on the flat in France before moving to the UK, where he also won over hurdles before retiring in 2013. He has since excelled at horseball, including winning a bronze medal when ridden by GB men’s captain Ben Berry at the 2017 European Championships. Alexandra has owned and retrained him since 2013 and the pair are currently playing horseball in the ladies division, as well as competing in showjumping classes.
2. ORDERS FROM ROME (Horseball) – Ridden by Isabelle Holman
10-year-old by Holy Roman Emperor, formerly trained by Charlie Fellowes
Orders From Rome raced for four seasons, running 29 times and winning twice. Initially trained by Eve Johnson-Houghton, he then moved to Charlie Fellowes. Retired from racing 2014, he since has been retrained for horseball by Alexandra Oldbury-Davies and he represented GB in France at the Chambly World Tour in 2017. Orders From Rome has also competed in dressage competitions.
3. PIQUE SOUS (Dressage ) –Ridden by Rachel Sharp
11-year-old by Martaline, formerly trained by Willie Mullins
Pique Sous won eight races, including the 2014 running of the Queen Alexandra Stakes at Royal Ascot under Ryan Moore. His last race was in July 2017 and he joined the Sharp family in October that year. Rachel’s daughter Jess started to ride him hacking out before taking him to Pony Club rallies and clinics at Myerscough College. Jess intends to event him and Rachel is hoping to ride him side-saddle. She describes Pique Sous as “an absolute gentleman with all my girls and we are very privileged to have him”.
4. SECRET BRIEF (Dressage) - Ridden by Jemma Marshall
7-year-old by Shamardal, formerly trained by Charlie Appleby.
During his racing career Secret Brief amassed over £450,000 in prize money, winning four races from 22 starts. As a two-year-old he won two Tattersalls sales races and as a four-year-old he won the Lincoln Handicap at Doncaster. Jemma Marshall looked after him and rode him in his exercise and when he was retired due to injury, Jemma jumped at the chance to re-home Secret Brief. They are currently in the process of learning dressage and doing ‘pole work’.
5. SOVEREIGN DEBT – (Showing) – Ridden by Jill Wormall
10-year-old by Dark Angel, formerly trained by Ruth Carr
Sovereign Debt developed into one of the most popular horses in training. He ran 63 times in a career spanning eight years and was the winner of 15 races, including at Group level, amassing over £800,000 in prize money. Trained initially by Michael Bell, then David Nicholls, he was finally with Ruth Carr. Retired in 2018, he has quickly taken to his new role in the show ring and has already qualified for the RoR National Championships at Aintree and the aim is to also qualify for the Horse of The Year Show in October.
6. WINDHOEK - Dressage - Ridden by Janine Hamilton.
9-year-old by Cape Cross, formerly trained by Saeed bin Suroor
Windhoek won races in the UK, Dubai and Turkey before retiring from racing in 2015. Janine Hamilton had known Windhoek from her time with trainer Mark Johnston and she was delighted to be offered him for retraining. After giving Windhoek a good holiday, the pair are both enjoying the challenge of learning to do dressage. Janine says: “Windhoek has brought much joy into my life and I hope he enjoys a long happy retirement, it’s one that he thoroughly deserves.”
For more information about Retraining of Racehorses (RoR) visit: ror.org.uk
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