RoR Dressage Display Team make their racecourse debut at Ascot on Saturday

  • Also appearing are old favourites Annacotty, Fruity O’Rooney, Ransom Note
  • And showing champion What Of It

Racegoers at Ascot on Saturday will have the opportunity to witness former racehorses putting on a choreographed dressage display in the parade ring. As part of the Retraining of Racehorses (RoR) parade, due to take place at 12.50pm on the day of the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes (sponsored by QIPCO), there will be a demonstration by the RoR Dressage Display Team. Accompanying the four members of the display team will be four other former racehorses, including a Royal Ascot winner and a recently crowned champion in the show ring at Hickstead.

Joining the RoR Dessage Display Team are: Ransom Note, a Group 2 winner and a winner at Royal Ascot, who is now eventing; Fruity O’Rooney, who’s last win over fences came at Ascot and the 15-year-old returns on Saturday in his new role as an eventer and versatile former racehorse; Annacotty, the former Paddy Power Gold Cup winner who is enjoying a successful first season competing in a range of RoR classes; and the 15-year-old What Of It, the winner of the RoR Tattersalls Show Series Championship at Hickstead in June.

Formed earlier this year with a view to showcasing the versatility of racehorses and their ability to adapt to the demands of a multiple horse demonstration, the RoR Dressage Display Team have recently performed at Belton Horse Trials and the Greatwood Charity Show. Saturday will be their first appearance on a racecourse.

The team are trained by Cara Hayward and the four horses putting on a display are Bumbling Bertie, formerly trained by Andrew Balding, Follow The Facts, the first foal of the mare Fiddling The Facts, Moonvale, formerly trained by Tony Carroll and Walk On Al, a winner for Fergal O’Brien before the gelding’s switch to dressage.

Di Arbuthnot, Chief Executive of RoR, said: “We are very much looking forward to Saturday’s parade. Without a proper dressage arena, it won’t be straightforward for the RoR Dressage Display Team, but Ascot have been very helpful and I have no doubt racegoers will be impressed by the skills on show from both horse and rider.

“They will also have a chance to see up-close a Champion in the show ring in What Of It, who is a stunning looking horse, along with old favourites such as Annacotty, Fruity O’Rooney and Ransom Note who are all enjoying their second careers.

“We would like to thank the Peter O’Sullevan Trust for their continued sponsorship of the parades in 2018. It’s really important to show both racegoers and the racing industry the range of career options open to former racehorses.”

(Photo courtesy of Julian Portch Photography)

RoR Parade line-up, Ascot, Saturday 28 July 2018

  1. Bumbling Bertie (Dressage) owned and ridden by Lucy Sandford

10-year-old gelding by Bertolini, formerly trained by Andrew Balding

Bumbling Bertie raced six times without success and following his retirement from racing he was bought by Lucy Sandford seven years ago. The patience shown by Lucy with Bertie has paid off and in 2017 the pair enjoyed notable successes in both showing and dressage. They are now competing at Novice level in British Dressage with a view to soon upgrading to Elementary and have qualified for a number of finals and championships, including the upcoming RoR Dressage Series Championships at Aintree. The pair are also part of the RoR Dressage Display Team.

  1. Follow The Facts (Dressage) owned and ridden by Steph Potter

11-year-old gelding by Tobougg, formerly trained by Nicky Henderson

The first foal of the top class mare Fiddling The Facts, on the track Follow The Facts did not live up to his pedigree, racing just twice and failing to trouble the judge after which he was gifted to Steph Potter in 2012. Since being retrained, ‘Ned’ has done some eventing and loves going cross-country but recently the pair have been concentrating on and excelling at dressage, qualifying for, among other events, the Elementary class at the upcoming RoR Dressage Series Championships at Aintree. The pair are also part of the RoR Dressage Display Team.

  1. Moonvale (Dressage) owned and ridden by Sarah Francis

8-year-old gelding by Verglass, formerly trained by Tony Carroll

After an inauspicious start to his racing career, Moonvale was retired after two races. However, he has shown plenty of ability and enthusiasm for this second career. Moonvale and his rider Sarah Francis are regulars at the RoR South West Region Camps and they pair have enjoyed success eventing and are showing distinct promise with their dressage, which Sarah is keen to do more seriously and they are now part of the RoR Dressage Display Team.

  1. Walk On Al (Dressage) owned and ridden by Tracy Daly

10-year-old gelding by Alflora, formerly trained by Fergal O’Brien

Walk On Al ran 17 times under NH rules for three different trainers, winning once over hurdles and once over fences. Since leaving Fergal O’Brien in March 2017 ‘Al’ has been patiently retrained for dressage by Tracy Daly. The pair have recently started to compete and hope to qualify for the RoR Dressage Series Championships at Aintree later in the summer. Tracy has been surprised at how much ‘Al’ enjoys training with the quadrille team and is excited about the future for a horse still in his early days of retraining. The pair are also part of the RoR Dressage Display Team.

  1. Annacotty (Showing and show jumping) – ridden by Hannah Bishop

10-year-old by Beneficial, formerly trained by Alan King and Martin Keighley

Annacotty provided his owner Liz Prowting with her first Grade 1 win, as well as some memorable victories at Cheltenham, including the 2015 Paddy Power Gold Cup. The decision was taken to retire him in 2017 and he has since been retrained by Hannah Bishop, Racing Manager to Mrs Prowting. In their first season competing, they have qualified for several classes at the upcoming RoR Goffs UK National Championships at Aintree. The pair also recently took part in the Arena Eventing class at Barbury International Horsetrials.

  1. Fruity O’Rooney (Eventing) owned and ridden by Beccy Green

15-year-old gelding by Kahyasi, formerly trained by Gary Moore

During a successful eight year career over jumps, Fruity O’Rooney ran 55 times, winning nine races, including victory at Ascot in 2015. He was retired at the beginning of 2016 and has since turned his attention to eventing. Ridden by Beccy Green, Fruity O’Rooney has adapted very well and this season stepped up to BE100 level. Beccy says that his enthusiasm does not make the dressage phase the easiest but as he showed on the racecourse, he has the heart of a lion. He demonstrated his versatility when finishing third in the NH class at the Royal Windsor Horse Show in May.

  1. What Of It (Showing) owned by Tom Ward and ridden by Rachel Fone

15-year-old gelding by Tel Quel, formerly trained by Sarah Ward

What Of It, known as “Wotty”, won races both under rules and point-to-pointing before retiring from racing in 2015. In the show ring Wotty has qualified three years running for HOYS (Horse of the Year Show) and this year enjoyed his biggest success to date when winning the RoR Tattersalls Show Series Championship at Hickstead in June. Outside the show ring, he has done arena eventing, combined training and gone cross-country. He has also trained several Pony Club members up to their ‘A test’. At home he also escorts young horses out hacking, as he is so well mannered.

  1. Ransom Note (Eventing) – owned and ridden by Paige Smart

10-year-old gelding by Red Ransom, formerly trained by Barry Hills and Charlie Hills

A Royal Ascot winner and a Group 2 winner, Ransom Note earned nearly £250,000 in a 29-race career. Now part of Paige Smart’s team of former racehorses, Ransom Note is pursuing a career in eventing and is showing promise in all three disciplines. His dressage has been improving and he loves his jumping. He is currently in preparation for his first affiliated British Eventing event in September. The plan is to build his confidence by starting in a BE80 and then move up to BE90. Long-term, Paige hopes to qualify Ransom Note for the Mitsubishi Motors Cup at Badminton.