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Horses for Courses ambassador of the month

We are delighted to introduce our July ambassador of the month Side Glance

One of our original Horses for Courses ambassadors, Side Glance has made many raceday appearances, community visits, attended photoshoots and has even tried to predict the winner of a race at Ascot.

Ambassador: Side Glance known as Sidey.

Owner: Leanne White

Ambassador for: Ascot Racecourse

Racing Career: Side Glance ran on the flat for trainer Andrew Balding. He won eight races in his career and was placed second or third fourteen times. He has travelled the world and run in countries such as Australia, America and Dubai.

We asked Leanne to tell us more about Sidey

How did you become the owner of Side Glance? I looked after Sidey while he was racing and was lucky enough to travel around the world with him. When he retired from racing, Sheikh Fahad very kindly gifted him to me. As I was still travelling a lot for Andrew Balding at the time, Sidey went to live with a very good friend of mine (Sarah) who already had a retired racehorse, Pentecost, whom I had also looked after in training. Then, four and a half years ago, Sidey came to live with me full-time.

Have you owned a former racehorse before? No, although I had retrained a couple for other people.

How did Sidey settle into life after racing? Sidey originally had a year off due to a tendon injury. He was turned out with dear old Pentecost and settled very well.

What do you and Sidey get up to together? Sidey had a very good racing career so nowadays it’s just about having fun and putting a smile on people’s faces in his role as ambassador for Ascot. He really is amazing! At 17 years of age, he can still be very sharp, but put him around anyone vulnerable and he completely changes. He often meets school children and the elderly at Ascot, and he has visited schools and care homes before. My stepdaughter learnt to ride on him and had her first canter on her 11th birthday. My young nephews have all ridden him. He loves getting dressed up for the village Christmas ride, loves a pub ride and going to the beach.

We also like to get out and about competing; last week he won his first novice dressage class. Sidey isn’t the most natural jumper, but we have had so much fun at the RoR camp at Lucinda Sims, and a camp at Stockland Lovell Equestrian Centre. Having not started jumping until he was 14, he is like a green but very enthusiastic four-year-old.

What are your highlights so far of owing Sidey ? There are so many highlights. Galloping on the beach which had always been a dream of mine - to do it on Sidey was very special. Watching my stepdaughter learn to ride on him. Seeing the smiles he brings to people’s faces in his ambassador role. Being able to lead my Cypriot rescue hound off him. Oh and riding him to the altar on my wedding day!

How did Side Glance react when he went back to the races. Does he enjoy his ambassador role? He loves his role as ambassador, he adores attention and is such a poser in front of the cameras! He does get excited in the main parade ring; he definitely remembers his racing days.

How did the people you met react when you’ve attended community events? We’ve done quite a few community events now. The reaction of the people we have visited has been incredible. The children are always so excited, and the elderly and their carers have been so thrilled to meet him. It’s always heart-warming to see how kind and gentle he is. I really couldn’t be prouder of him.

What are Sidey’s Likes? Polos, apples, pears, carrots, children, dogs, chewing off over-reach boots and posing for the camera.

What are Sidey’s dislikes? Being brushed.

Does Sidey have any habits which make you laugh? He’s got the mentality of a Thelwell pony, so he makes me laugh all the time, but the funniest is probably galloping in his sleep while he’s snoring!

And finally, if he had a catchphrase what would it be? Growing old is mandatory, but growing up is optional!

We are delighted to introduce our June ambassador of the month Sleepy Haven, aka Noddy

Sleepy Haven is one of our newest ambassadors, but has already had a busy start, with appearances at Bangor on Dee and Chester racecourses, TV and social media interviews and starring in his own blog Nodding Around which can be seen on Chester's website

Owner: Lilli Durning

Ambassador for: Bangor on Dee and Chester Racecourses

Racing history: Sleepy Haven started his racing career on the flat with David Barron, before spending the rest of his career in the care of Jenny Candlish over jumps. He is the winner of five races and placed second or third 22 times.

We asked his owner Lilli Durning to tell us more about Noddy

How did you become the owner of Noddy? I became the proud owner of Noddy when I found him advertised on a site for former racehorses. As we were only 45 minutes away, my family jumped in the car and set off to see him.

Have you owned a former racehorse before? Noddy is my first former racehorse, but I had been around them plenty due to my work as a freelance groom/rider. They are such a great breed and very lovely horses.

What are your highlights so far of owing Noddy? Over the three years of owning Noddy, we have made so many memories. The biggest achievement would be when we won the Championship at Reaseheath College Equestrian Centre and also going to Northcote Championship where we placed third.

How did Noddy react when he went back to the races? Does he enjoy his ambassador role? Noddy absolutely loves coming back to the racecourse at both Bangor and Chester to meet everyone, he loves all the fuss and treats people offer him. He definitely lives up to his name and ends up nodding off during the day!

What are Noddy’s likes? Noddy loves a lot things but the most important thing in his life is his food. He will try and steal any food he can reach. We did see this love for food when being interviewed on at the races, he walked straight out of the stable for the grass!

What are his dislikes? The one thing he dislikes the most is sheep. It’s a very odd dislike, but he really did not like the sheep that we had stay at the yard two years ago.

Carrots or polos? Noddy loves carrots and doesn’t like polos.

Does he have any habits which make you laugh?
Noddy loves to show how he can stretch, he will do it when he wants food, attention or before we ride. He also likes to give you a lick and to hold his tongue out.

And finally if he had a catchphrase what would it be? His catchphrases would definitely be “I am the star of the show” as he just loves all the attention he gets when visiting Bangor on Dee and Chester racecourses.

We wish Lilli and Noddy the best of luck for the competition season. Keep an eye out for them visiting Bangor on Dee or Chester racecourses.