The penultimate SEIB Racehorse to Riding Horse qualifier of the season took place at Vale View Equestrian Centre, Leicestershire on Saturday 8th August 2015.
A fabulous Racehorse to Riding Horse class concluded the day, with 29 entries coming before judges Jane Hubbard (ride) and Liz Morley (conformation). The entry was divided into three sections for pre-judging, with 6 returning for the final places. “We saw some lovely horses today”, said Liz. “It shows how tough these thoroughbreds are – they are so clean limbed, even after a long racing career”, she said. “The winning ride was outstanding; he gave me a really wonderful ride. Many of these horses are teenagers, and it is wonderful that they have retired from racing and still live in such luxury and are really adored”, said Jane. “Ex-racehorses used to have a reputation for being a bit barmy, but this class shows how trainable they are”, added Liz.
The top spot went to Rebecca O’Neill’s lovely liver chestnut gelding, Clonard Lad, ridden by Paul Langrick. The 10 year old was in training with Mike Sowersby and had 10 starts under rules, with two wins and several places. He last ran in a handicap hurdle at Market Rasen in March 2015 and Rebecca bought him soon after. “This is only his second show, it is so exciting!” said a delighted Rebecca.
Oliver Hood took second place with Royal Rock, owned by Yvonne Botham. A successful racing career, trained by Chris Wall in Newmarket, saw this horse achieve 10 wins including two group 3 races from 44 starts on the flat, earning over £180,000 in prize money. While he was in training, the horse spent his holidays at grass with Yvonne and Peter Botham and when he retired from racing his owner, Ms Fustoq, gifted the horse to them. “Peter asked me to go up and see the horse in Newmarket at the end of November. We liked him and decided to give him a go”, explained Oliver’s father, Alastair Hood. “But this was kept secret from Yvonne, because Peter wanted to make him a Christmas present for her. From the moment he arrived, he was a lovely horse, and so on Christmas day we had him all done up in tinsel as a surprise for Yvonne. Since then every week he has become more established and he improves every day. To begin with he could not canter on the left lead, but with patient work he has now learned. He is a lovely ride, and his limbs are amazing, which is remarkable after such a long racing career. He hacks out on his own and is good with others – he is a real pleasure to have”, he added.
1st Clonard Lad, owned by Rebecca O’Neill and ridden by Paul Langrick of Easingwold, N Yorks
2nd Royal Rock, owned by Yvonne Botham and ridden by Oliver Hold of Diss, Norfolk.