Success stories It's A Sting - "Always the bridesmaid, never the bride"

6th May 2020

Written by Andrew Thomas Llewellyn

It’s A Sting was bought by Oliver Sherwood and Tessa Greatrex during the April Sales at Cheltenham 2014 for £90k. He was purchased for his owner Mr Mark Burton. Sting, as he is known had won a bumper in March 2014 at Market Rasen under the trainer Tony Coyle before going on to the sales. Following this, Sting went straight to Mr Burton’s for a summer break and returned to Oliver Sherwood’s Rhonehurst Stables at the end of July 2014.

I started working as an Assistant Trainer for Mr Sherwood at the beginning of July 2014. When Sting arrived at Rhonehurst, I automatically fell in love with him having ridden him from the day he arrived. Unfortunately, Sting had his issues whilst in training with regards to stomach ulcers and bleeding problems and Mr Burton decided to retire him in March 2018 due to his deteriorating form.

I quickly asked Mr Sherwood and Mr Burton if I would be allowed to re-home him and if I could have the chance of riding him in a point to point and was delighted when they agreed to this. He went straight out on a holiday and was out in the paddock for five months. I was so lucky that my very close friend, Chloe Boxhall was able to train him ahead of our pointing debut. I rode him in a restricted race at Chaddersley Corbett in February 2019 but unfortunately his underlying problems occurred again. Therefore, I made the difficult decision to retire him from racing indefinitely.

I proceeded to give him a month off before starting to re-train him. I started by taking him on some fun rides, competing him in some unaffiliated show jumping competitions, taking him to local shows and drag hunting. He’s taken to his re-training really well but similar to that of his racing career, he always seems to be the bridesmaid and never the bride! This year, I’ve registered him with RoR and am also going to register him with the BS and compete him in the RoR Bronze League.

This year, as everybody knows, has proven a bit of a nightmare with Covid-19, which has affected the equine industries dramatically. Personally, I have been put on furlough, which has been hard, but Sting really has been my mental and physical saviour through these testing times. I’d literally be lost without him!

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