Seasoned campaigners take the final HOYS tickets for 2018 in the SEIB Racehorse to Riding Horse Championship at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials

Seasoned campaigners take the final HOYS tickets for 2018 in the SEIB Racehorse to Riding Horse Championship at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials

The SEIB Racehorse to Riding Horse qualifier at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials provides a true spectacle in the main arena. Twenty-three thoroughbred ex-racehorses – including one coloured animal – were honoured to be able to take part in this prestigious event on the hallowed turf of the world famous three-day event. Burghley is the final qualifier for the prestigious SEIB Racehorse to Riding Horse championship which will take place at Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) in October.


Lizzie Harris and her own, Wild West won the class to earn their HOYS ticket. Lizzie said: “This is the third time Westie has qualified at Burghley. He absolutely loves it here. He is a complete pet and my two-year-old daughter, Olivia leads him in from the field every day.” Wild West is a true all rounder – he competes in side saddle classes, goes hunting and was the Supreme Champion at the Aintree RoR final in 2017. He was placed several times as a racehorse and was trained by Jonjo O’Neil. He is now in demand and has some celebrity appearances lined up in addition to going to HOYS, Lizzie explained: “Westie took the runner up spot in the Aintree June show this year so he will get to lead the winner of the Topham Chase at Aintree in the spring and we have also been invited to parade side-saddle at Blenheim this year”.


Runner up, Donna Bamonte and her own, Valentine Jak qualified for their sixth consecutive HOYS appearance at Burghley. This pair have travelled the length of the country from Devon to Northumberland – and all the competitions in between – to earn their qualification. Donna explained: “Jak will now have been to HOYS in the SEIB Racehorse class more times than any other horse. It is his last go at the championship this year, as he is now fifteen. Just to be at Burghley with him today has been wonderful and I am thrilled to have qualified again.” Donna and Valentine Jak’s best placing at HOYS was 4th in 2015. Donna continued: “After HOYS, Jak will have a holiday and then we will compete in a few veteran classes in the future. He is a great jumper and is also frequently ridden side-saddle”.


The SEIB Racehorse to Riding Horse class was not without excitement as the intended winner, L’Amiral David, became agitated during the prize giving and wouldn’t stand which resulted in a last-minute disqualification.  This proved a good decision when the horse consequently went backwards through the decoration of one of the show jumps on its way out of the arena. Judges, Jordan Cook (ride) and Ann Hooley (conformation) were unanimous in their decision and both reiterated the importance of good manners in the show ring.


Ann said: “We are looking for a true show horse in this class that has both manners and correct conformation.” Jordan added: “Behaviour is important in every class and safety in the ring is absolutely paramount.”


Ann Hooley was ride judge at the first ever SEIB Racehorse to Riding Horse HOYS Championship. She said: “Over the years the standard of horses entered has improved amazingly. There is a now a lot more emphasis on training the horses. Back when I judged the first championship, there were plenty of big chasing types. In the ring today we saw more hacks and riding horses.”


Susan Church’s mare, Free Diamonds, ridden by Jo Jacks took third place. This mare qualified for HOYS at the Vale View SEIB qualifier. Jo has worked for top showing producer, Katie Jerram for 14 years now. She said: “I rode for Sue in my first year at Katie’s and it is so nice now to be off to HOYS with her stunning little horse. She has been so good today as she doesn’t like showjumps and she had to be brave to trot past them in the ring!” Free Diamonds, who is known as Minnie Mouse at home is Spanish bred and ran twice in her native country for trainer Peter Haley. Jo continued: “Minnie Mouse is a pleasure to ride she has the loveliest nature and I am really looking forward to going to HOYS with her”.


Charley Baxter riding Rebecca Ward’s, Mandaean took fourth place. This bay gelding was a former Group 1 winner on the flat and last ran in 2013. He was trained by Godolphin and won nearly £200k in prize money before being retrained by Darley Rehoming for a second career. Rebecca said: “I am over the moon with him, he has been lightly shown and will campaign next year in the SEIB Racehorse to Riding Horse classes with the goal of qualifying for HOYS”. Rebecca had originally intended to ride Mandaean in the class before a last-minute change of plan saw Charley and Rebecca swap rides – with Rebecca riding her father Martin Ward’s horse, Renewed Challenge.

Charley said: “This is the first time I have ridden in a racehorse class, I had a great time and Martin – as Mandaean is known as at home – was just brilliant”.


Another horse from the Jerram’s yard did well at Burghley to finish in 5th place. Chris Hunnable was absolutely chuffed with Singing Hinnie who is owned by farrier, Rebecca Lowe. He said: “It is all thanks to SEIB for this opportunity to ride at Burghley. I think I appreciate it more than most. The last time I rode here as a competitor was at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials in 2003 on an eventer called What A Performance”. Singing Hinnie won her ticket to HOYS in the class at the Osbaldeston qualifier back in April. She was trained by Mark Tomkins in Newmarket during her racing days.


The SEIB Racehorse to Riding Horse finals 2018 will take place at Horse of the Year Show on Wednesday 3rd October in the Andrews Bowen International Arena.


For full details, rules and entry forms visit or Find SEIB Search for a Star on Facebook at:

For insurance queries visit or call 01708 850000.

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