Record entry, over 300 horses entered for RoR Goffs UK National Championships

  • Don Cossack among a host of big names entered
  • Gold Cup winning rider Nico de Boinville will be among the judges

A record number of horses are entered for the fourth running of the RoR Goffs UK National Championships, six days of high-class competition staged exclusively for retrained racehorses. The event gets underway at Aintree International Equestrian Centre on Tuesday 21st August and concludes on Sunday 26th August with the crowning of the 2018 Supreme Champion for showing.

Between them during their racing careers the 318 horses entered for the 90 classes at the championships ran over 5,000 times, winning 599 races under rules. Now they are competing for further success, but this time in classes for dressage, jumping and showing at Britain’s biggest event for showcasing the versatility of the thoroughbred.

Among the former stars of the track due to compete at Aintree is the 2016 Cheltenham Gold Cup winner, Don Cossack, who will travel over from Ireland with his rider, Louise Lyons. Lyons has overseen Don Cossack’s retraining and the pair recently won the ‘Racehorse to Riding Horse’ class at the Dublin Horse Show.

Don Cossack will be returning to the scene of his victory in the Grade 1 Melling Chase at the Grand National Festival but his Aintree record pales next to that of Always Waining, the only horse to win the Topham Chase three times (2009 – 2011). The former Peter Bowen trained gelding, now aged 17, is entered for both showing and jumping classes at Aintree.

Other former high-class horses from jump racing entered for the championships include Carlito Brigante, Franchoek, Noland, Possol and Time For Rupert. While former highly-rated Flat performers due to be in action include Doncaster Cup winner, Times Up, and pattern horses Ransom Note, Harland, Namibian, Glen’s Diamond and Her Majesty The Queen’s Quadrille, who will again be competing in the RoR Dressage Series Championships.

Di Arbuthnot, Chief Executive of Retraining of Racehorses (RoR), said: “It is wonderful how this event continues to develop, attracting such quality, as well as quantity, in terms of the former racehorses entered. However, a horse’s rating on the racetrack counts for nothing in the dressage, showing or jumping arena and that is one of the strengths of RoR’s competitions, it provides opportunities for all former racehorses to excel in a different discipline.

“We would like to thank Goffs UK for their generous support, as well as the team at Aintree and all involved with making the six days happen. The whole event has a wonderful feel-good factor and it is vastly rewarding to see the pleasure working with former racehorses gives people. It does not matter whether they are competing in the elite finals or just a regular class, the smiles on their faces say it all.”

Tony Williams, Goffs UK Managing Director, added: “It’s wonderful to see the popularity of this event grow every year and it’s one we are proud to be involved with. It’s important to Goffs UK, as a leading thoroughbred auction house, to see racehorses find new homes after their racing careers and it’s events like these that do so much to promote the retraining of racehorses.”

The RoR Dressage Series Championships start proceedings on Tuesday 21st August, running through until Thursday. Then, on Friday, there is a performance day of jumping classes and Arena Eventing and the weekend is the RoR National Showing Championships, culminating in an evening performance on Sunday and the crowning of the Goffs UK Supreme Champion, with its prize of £2,500 to the winner.

All three previous Supreme Champions hold entries at the 2018 championships, although the 2015 victor, Jack The Giant, is now competing in dressage and the 2016 winner, Beware Chalk Pit, is entered only in ‘in-hand’ showing classes. However, last year’s Supreme Champion, Wild West, ridden by Lizzie Harris, will attempt to defend his crown.

Cheltenham Gold Cup and dual Champion Chase winning jockey, Nico de Boinville, will be one of three judges tasked with awarding the title of Supreme Champion. Nico will be joined by his wife, Serena, who like Nico has a background in showing and is herself a breeder of Connemara Ponies, and trainer Jonathan Geake, who is also an experienced show horse judge and show horse breeder.

Carly Sage, Aintree Equestrian Centre Manager, said: “We are delighted to see such a strong entry and we are looking forward to a fabulous six days of competition. Everyone at Aintree is proud to stage the RoR Goffs UK National Championships and the event is evidence of the course’s year round commitment to promoting horse welfare

“It is lovely to see so many horses who ran at Aintree return, but this time competing in a completely different discipline, and many of the big names entered will feature in the parade of ‘Stars of the Racing World’ on Sunday evening.”

The event is open to the public on all six days and admission is free.

Click the link to see the full list of entries https://www.ror.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/Entries-for-RoR-Goffs-UK-National-Champs.pdf