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1st, Jack the Giant, owned by The Jackpots syndicate and ridden by Allister Hood of Diss, Norfolk

2nd, Buckingham Boys, owned and ridden by Clare Pool, of Westbury-on-Severn


Sizzling Competition at Summerhouse

Temperatures soared for the South Essex Insurance Brokers Search For A Star and Racehorse to Riding Horse qualifier at Summerhouse Equestrian Centre in Gloucestershire on 22nd June. But it was not just the weather as a huge entry ensured hot competition across all the classes, giving Search for a Star judges, Richard Ramsay (confirmation), David Bartram (ride) and Hannah Horton (assistant ride) plenty to do, as did Racehorse to Riding Horse judges, Lucy Killingbeck (conformation) and Sarah Smith (ride).

A huge entry of 39 saw this popular class split into 4 groups for preliminary judging and the judges, Lucy Killingbeck (conformation) and Sarah Smith (ride), had plenty to do. Finally, first place went to the immaculate Jack The Giant, ridden by Allister Hood and owned by The Jackpots syndicate. The 12 year old, by Giant’s Causeway, had 9 wins and 7 places from 26 starts on the flat and over fences, brained by Barry Hills on the flat, and latterly was with Nicky Henderson for his jumping career. He finished 8th in the Melling Chase at Aintree in his last race in 2010 and had amassed nearly a quarter of a million in prize money before being retired from racing in March last year. The seven girls, Di Haine, Sophie Waddilove, Sharon Fellowes, Cheryl Claydon, Jane Bailey, Char Collins and Mrs Thompson Jones, have known each other since being in the Pony Club together, and decided to form the syndicate to own “Jack” after Sophie suggested that he might make a show horse. Di already had a taste for showing as she owned the former Hickstead Retraining of Racehorses (ROR) winner and Racehorse to Riding Horse finalist, Blackcurrant, who was also produced by the Hoods. “It is great fun going to shows together. We take sausages and wine and have a great day out”, said Di. This was only the horse’s fourth time out, having won at Slapton, stood second in his section and reserve champion overall at Windsor and first at Houghton Hall, all in ROR classes. “He has grown into it. Houghton really made him, it was a brain settling outing”, said Di. He will now head to Hickstead for the ROR finals, then Aintree for the ROR Novice show and then Burghley for the final Racehorse to Riding Horse qualifier. “We all really want to go to Burghley as it is our local event. Everyone will be there for a party!” the girls agreed. “He has been such a servant all the way through. To adapt so well [to the show ring] is incredible and he so enjoys it. I think shows need to encourage syndicate ownership”, they said. And he is insured with SEIB!

Second place went to Clare Pool from Westbury-on-Severn, with the bay gelding, Buckingham Boys, called “lovely” at home. Claire has had the 12 year old for 4 years and got him straight out of racing. He had been in training with Paul Webber under rules, and then went to Claudia and Mark Wilesmith who trained him for point to points, winning his last race, the Open Maiden at Maisemore, Gloucestershire in April 2010. He went to Clare in May of that year and they started showing, qualifying for HOYS in SFAS as a hunter, at Badgworth. In 2012 they stood Reserve Champion at the TARA final held at Equifest. The pair have competed at Windsor in the ROR showing and the ROR Challenge classes, and have qualified for the Hickstead finals. This year they have started doing Ladies Hunter classes and will be competing at the National Side Saddle championships. “I wondered how he would take to the side saddle, but he has really taken to it very well”, said Clare. They are also planning to do the Burghley Racehorse to Riding Horse qualifier, and will also take part in the SEIB Burghley Sponsored Ride. “I am hoping to get an early time, so that I can ride round Burghley before we go in for the show class!” said Clare, who keeps herself busy with 3 children under 9 years old and also as the ROR Regional Co-Ordinator for the Wales and Severn area, organising clinics and events. “I came to a clinic with Lucy Killingbeck here [at Summerhouse Equestrian] in 2012, which was really encouraging, and Sarah Smith rode him last year and suggested that I take him out of the double and ride in a rubber Pelham. It has taken a year to do it as I thought I would not be able to stop him, but it worked”, explained Clare. “I am really chuffed that he has qualified for HOYS, it’s been a journey”, she said. It certainly has not been plain sailing. In March last year, during Cheltenham Festival week, the horse got loose as Clare was leading him in from the field and kicked her in the face, smashing her cheek and eye socket. It was pinned and plated and, just two weeks later, they were out competing again at the Ponies UK Malvern show. “Retraining an ex-racehorse is different from any other horse, it is hard work but it is special. HOYS – bring it on!” enthused Clare.