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Impressive Turnout at Osbaldeston Qualifier

1st, Flaygray, owned and ridden by Faye Hesketh of Preston, lancs

2nd, Ingleby Hill, owned and ridden by Shelley Heywood of Worksop, Notts

The first qualifier of the 2014 South Essex insurance Brokers (SEIB) Racehorse to Riding Horse series took place recently at Osbaldeston Riding Centre in Lancashire. A large entry saw many of the class split for the initial judging, allowing competitors a fair opportunity to show their paces in the indoor arena and giving the judges, Ros Hargreaves (conformation) and Nicky Taylor (ride), plenty to think about.

This ever popular class again saw a good entry with 22 competitors coming before the judges, Ros Hargreaves (conformation) and Nicky Taylor (ride). In the final results, first place went to Faye Hesketh of Much Hoole, near Preston, Lancashire, riding her own Flay Gray. Faye, 28, has owned the 10 year old grey gelding for 3 months, having seen a photograph of the retired racehorse. The horse had been at home with his owner and breeder, Alison Lee, a vet from Carnforth, where he had been for 12 months since retiring from racing. He ran 12 times during his racing career and won twice over hurdles and once in a National Hunt Bumper, trained by ex national hunt jockey, Chris Grant. Faye’s partner, Richard Helliwell, a farrier, saw the horse regularly and persuaded Alison that the horse needed another job and she agreed to let Faye have him to show.

“So far he has had 3 outings and 3 wins”, said a delighted Faye. “He went supreme at the Area NPS shown as a hack, was first in the Retraining of Racehorses class at North of England show here at Osbaldeston, qualifying for Hickstead, and then winning today. So far he has not put a foot wrong”, she added. Faye was a finalist in the Racehorse to Riding Horse championship in 2008 with a horse called Animated. “I had looked for another ex-racehorse after Animated, but had not seen anything I liked. Grazie is such a nice person, easy and very good to do, he is such a good boy”, she said.

The pair will aim for the ROR class at Windsor and some more ROR classes this year before heading to Hickstead in June and then HOYS. “I don’t want to do too much with him this year, but it will do him good to get out to a few agricultural shows. Then he will do Hack classes or Novice Riding Horse next year”, said Faye.

Shelley Heywood and Ingleby Hill celebrated a successful day claiming second place in this class having already won the Search for a Star Riding Club Show Horse class. “I just can’t believe it. He hasn’t put a foot wrong today”, said an emotional Shelley. “The judge said he gave the best ride of the day, it’s me that needs to improve. I have ridden since I was 8 years old but he is only the second horse I have ever owned – I picked a good one! I don’t do this – I’m a tax inspector! It is fair to say I am over the moon!”.