BLUE JAVA TAKES RACEHORSE CROWN
SEIB Racehorse to Riding Horse Supreme Champion Sonya Fitch-Peyton riding Blue Java.
Pictures: Credit: Real Time Imaging
The South Essex Insurance Broker’s Racehorse to Riding Horse Show Championship reached a thrilling finale at this year’s Horse of the Year Show, having become one of the most popular highlights of the show. Crowds packed the Caldene arena to see how these ex-racehorses performed and they were not to be disappointed, with the immaculate grey, Ironman Muldoon, owned by Mrs Amanda Bowlby and ridden by Jayne Webber, putting in a superb performance to take the championship. Last years’ champion, Mr and Mrs Hartland’s impressive grey, Another Man, again showed his impeccable manners to take reserve.
South Essex Insurance Brokers, a leading equestrian insurer, instigated the Racehorse to Riding Horse Show Championship, supported by the charity, Retraining of Racehorses, to show how, with time and patience, an ex-racehorse can be re-trained to become a top class show horse.
Twelve horses came before the judges at HOYS and the standard was extremely high but conformation judge, David Ringer, and ride judge, Sarah Leatherbarrow, were more than equal to the task. “This was a good class and we were delighted with the way they were produced. All the horses were in super condition and a credit to the people who brought them”, said David.
All the horses responded well under ride judge, Sarah Leatherbarrow, who was delighted with they way they went. “These horses are a credit to the thoroughbred breed and showed how well they can cope with the different environment and a different job. They were great ambassadors”, she said
Ironman Muldoon’s supporters were at HOYS to add their support to his performance and Mandy Bowlby was delighted with the result. “I have known this horse for a long time. He went through the sale ring at Fairyhouse as a 3 year old but I could not afford to buy him”, she said. Jenny Pitman bought him and he was initially with her son, Mark, and then went into training with Mandy Bowlby. He ran 3 times during his racing career and won on his first outing. “When he retired from racing, his owners, Greg and Mia Bone, very kindly gave him to me”, explained Mandy of the 12 year old grey, by Roselier (FR) Out of Darjoy (Darantus). “He now hunts regularly with the Old Berks, carrying my husband, Michael, who is field master. My son, Jack, is really keen on showing and currently rides ponies, so we thought we would give this a go. This is a fantastic series and gives these horses another chance”, she said. “I didn’t have a jockey but Jayne’s sister suggested I ask Jayne, so she took the ride at the qualifier at Burghley”. Jenny Pitman was there to witness his win with tears of delight. “He is such a kind horse – he is quite happy letting little children pat him. He is a full brother to Royal Athlete who has also retired to the show ring. It is important that these horses have another life after racing”, she said. Jayne was full of praise for the way the horse behaved. “He is absolutely georgeous. They [the Bowlby family] have done a fabulous job producing him. He is beautifully mannered and all I had to do was push the right buttons”, she said.
Last year’s winner, Sarah Hartland’s 14 year old grey, Another Man, put in another fine performance to stand in second place this time, ridden by Claire Oliver. Another Man, by Cataldi out of Steal On, is half brother to Cheltenham Gold Cup winner, One Man. He ran 5 times over hurdles during his racing career, trained by Heather Doulton, and then tried eventing with Leslie Law before Robert Oliver found him. Mr and Mrs Hartland bought him to do racehorse show classes and he has been successful in the show ring. This is his third year in these finals at HOYS, having finished 2nd in 2007.
In third place, Mr and Mrs Cowlard’s Fast Mix, ridden by Wendy Gibson, made it an all greys top three. By Linamix (FR) out of Fascinating Hill (FR) (Danehill (USA), this French bred gelding was bought out of Martin Pipe’s yard 2 years ago having won 5 and been placed 8 times from 31 starts on the flat and over hurdles. Since then Caroline Cowlard has had him at home, hacking out and taking him to Exmoor for holidays, getting him to think about things other than racing. Caroline started to produce him for showing and then took him to Wendy to see what she thought and Wendy was pleased to take on the ride. This is his first year showing and he also qualified for the Hickstead Derby meeting at his first attempt.