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news The Jockey Club RoR National Championships return to Aintree

24th August 2021
  • 2019 Supreme Champion Mumford returns to defend crown
  • Cheltenham Festival heroes Don Poli and Yorkhill among 276 entries

This week heralds the return of the largest event exclusively for retrained racehorses, The Jockey Club RoR (Retraining of Racehorses) National Championships, four days of high-class competition taking place at the Aintree International Equestrian Centre from Thursday 26th August through to Sunday 29th August.

First held in 2015, the championships are back this year following cancellation in 2020 due to COVID-19. Featuring classes for dressage, jumping and showing, and generously sponsored by The Jockey Club, the championships are Britain’s biggest event for showcasing the versatility of the thoroughbred. Proceedings get underway on Thursday with the RoR Northern Dressage Championships, while Saturday evening’s gala performance of showing classes culminates with the crowning of The Jockey Club Supreme Champion.

This year’s championships have attracted entries from 276 former racehorses. Combined, the entered horses won over £5.3 million in prize money on the racecourse and competed in 3,981 races, either under Rules or in point to points.

Among those entered are Don Poli and Yorkhill. The pair were both Grade One winners at the Cheltenham Festival and also enjoyed success at Aintree, with Yorkhill winning the Grade One Mersey Novices’ Hurdle and Don Poli successful in the Listed Many Clouds Chase. Don Poli also completed the course behind Tiger Roll in the 2019 Randox Grand National. Both horses recently retired from racing and are first-time attendees at the championships, due to compete in newcomer and in-hand showing classes respectively.

As big prize money winners, Don Poli and Yorkhill are also eligible for the ‘Always A Star’ parade that takes place on the Saturday evening, prior the crowning of The Jockey Club Supreme Champion. The twelve strong parade also includes Un Temps Pour Tout, dual winner of the Ultima Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, Carole’s Destrier, a Listed chase winner at Ascot, and the talented sprinter Kimberella, whose 12 wins included two Listed successes at Chester.

Less exalted on the racecourse were Mumford and Rich Man Poor Man, neither of which made it to the winner’s enclosure in their respective racing careers but both are now thriving in the show ring. Nine-year-old gelding Mumford and Collette McGoldrick return to Aintree to defend their crown of Supreme Champion, won in 2019, and this summer at Hickstead they showed their form when adding the prestigious title of Tattersalls Elite Champion to their roll of honour.

Among the country’s leading former racehorses challenging Mumford for his showing crown at Aintree will be the eight-year-old gelding, Rich Man Poor Man. Due to be ridden by Kristine Douglas, Rich Man Poor Man travels to Liverpool on the back of victory in the Tattersalls Scottish Championship at the Royal Highland Showground in July.

This year’s event is the first with The Jockey Club as title sponsor. The organisation’s North West Head of Racing and Clerk of the Course at Aintree Racecourse, Sulekha Varma, said: “We are delighted to welcome back The Jockey Club RoR National Championships to the Aintree International Equine Centre in 2021 and it is fantastic that The Jockey Club is now extending its support to become the headline sponsor of the event.

“It is great to see some familiar names among the entries, including Yorkhill and Don Poli who both enjoyed some great days here at Aintree.

“Retraining of Racehorses plays an absolutely vital role in the racing industry and it is a great honour for Aintree to stage its flagship event and publicise the outstanding work it undertakes.”

Di Arbuthnot, Chief Executive of Retraining of Racehorses (RoR), added: “Due to the work that goes into preparing these horses for the championships, combined with the location, there is a special atmosphere and camaraderie across the four days of the event. We missed it last year and, along with over 250 former racehorses, we are very much looking forward to returning to Aintree this week.

“Our thanks to The Jockey Club, the new title sponsor of the RoR National Championships. We greatly value their support for RoR generally and this event in particular, which represents an opportunity to demonstrate the outstanding care given to former racehorses in this country, together with the range of opportunities open to them.”

Coverage of the championships from Aintree will be live-streamed on Friday and Saturday via ClipMyHorse.TV, providing an opportunity to further increase awareness of the versatility of the thoroughbred and the high standards achieved by competitors and their former racehorses.

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