Special guests Sir Anthony McCoy and ITV Racing presenter Luke Harvey joined in the celebrations on the final evening of Horse of the Year Show 2019 in a very special parade of racing heroes.
The ‘Celebrating Our Racing Heroes’ parade was held in association with British Horseracing’s official charity, Retraining of Racehorses (RoR). It gave the Sunday night HOYS crowd the opportunity to see 12 racing icons from the past two decades and provide an insight into their new careers.
Luke and Sir Anthony provided commentary as the horses paraded around the Andrews Bowen International Arena, and there was another familiar face, showing producer and HOYS regular, Katie Jerram-Hunnable riding one of the ex-racers, Cue Card. Luke also read the famous Ode to the Horse later on in the evening; the traditional close to the Show.
Sir Anthony had arrived at HOYS earlier in the day to support his daughter, Eve, in the 128cm Championship.
He said: “It’s great to see the Show supporting a fantastic charity like RoR, and the display is a brilliant way of promoting the remarkable careers that racehorses go on to have after their retirement from the industry.
“I won on Big Bucks several times as well as Neptune Collonges, and I got beaten by Sprinter Sacre. It’s wonderful to see them all here at Horse of the Year Show.”
Sir Anthony is a big supporter and patron of RoR, as is Clare Balding OBE, who was also out and about at HOYS on Friday and Saturday in the Live Zone, signing her children’s book The Racehorse Who Learned to Dance.
Clare said: “RoR creates wonderful partnerships between thoroughbreds and people to get the best out of both and proves you can certainly teach an old horse new tricks!”
RoR was founded in 2000 and is committed to providing retired racehorses with a career off of the track, by promoting their versatility and intelligence across equestrian disciplines. HOYS was a perfect platform to spread the word further.
Here are the horses, which were in attendance, and a little about their new careers:
1. Balthazar King, 15-years-old, is a French-bred bay gelding, British trained thoroughbred racehorse. In 2015, he sustained a potentially life-threatening injury when he fractured four ribs and punctured a lung following a fall at Aintree. After making a wonderful recovery to race again, he retired in 2016 to enjoy life in the hunting field with Izzi Beckett, who is also riding him in the parade. Balthazar King is a superb ladies hunter, equally happy gunning hedges up front or out the back with a pony on a lead rein.
2. Big Buck’s, 16-years-old, was trained as a hurdler by Paul Nicholls, famously winning 18 races in a row and amassing more than £1,300,000 in prize money throughout his illustrious career before retiring in 2014. He has since embarked on a second career in the hunting field and is being thoroughly spoiled by the doting Lucy Felton, who also rode him in the parade.
3. Coneygree, the first novice winner of the Gold Cup in more than 41 years, is a 12-year-old British-bred National Hunt racehorse who was trained throughout his career by Mark Bradstock. Upon his retirement his trainers Mark and Sara Bradstock commented: “I’m only sad about retiring him because he loves it, he still thinks he’s a racehorse.” Coneygree was ridden in the parade by Sara Bradstock.
4. Cue Card, 13-years-old, a specialist steeplechaser, was trained in Dorset by Colin Tizzard and ridden by son Joe Tizzard until his retirement in 2014, when the reins were then passed to Daryl Jacobs and Paddy Brennan. Since retiring, Cue Card has been retrained for the show ring by Katie Jerram-Hunnable and recently made a winning return to Aintree on his debut at the RoR Goffs UK National Championships. Cue Card was ridden by Katie Jerram-Hunnable.
5. Pineau De Re, 16-years-old, is best known for his 25-1 win in the 2014 Grand National at Aintree. He had a fine career that also included a third place at the Cheltenham Festival. In 2003 he became the first horse since Bindaree to win another race after the Grand National. His last win came at Carlisle in December 2015 before retiring aged 13 to join the world of eventing. He is now living in Lizzie Doolittle’s yard in Worcestershire and Lizzie rode him in the parade.
6. Sovereign Debt, 10-years-old, was trained initially by Michael Bell, then later on in his career by David Nicholls and finally by Ruth Carr who jointly developed Sovereign Debt into one of the most popular flat horses in training. Following his retirement in 2018, Sovereign Debt has gone on to compete extremely successfully in the show ring, qualifying for the RoR Goff’s National Championships at Aintree. He was ridden by Jill Wormall.
7. Zarkandar, 12-years-old, snatched the title in one of his three flat races before being gelded and becoming a specialist hurdler. Zarkandar, lovingly known as ‘Gino’ in his new yard, was crowned the best juvenile hurdler of the 2010/11 National Hunt season before retiring in 2018. He is being retrained for showing and dressage, which he has enjoyed competing in this year. He was ridden today by Lucinda Sims.
8. Bindaree, 25-years-old, is best known for winning the Grand National in 2002 ridden by Jim Culloty, before going on to win the Welsh National the following season ridden by Carl Lewellyn. Now 25 years old, he is retired and stabled at his trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies’ yard at Naunton in Gloucestershire, and joined the parade being led up by Richard Bevis.
9. Neptune Collonges, 18- years-old, is a firm public favourite led by Tim Wilkins. Retiring from racing to the Hales’ family home in Shropshire in 2012 aged 11, ‘Nipper’, as he’s affectionately known, has raised thousands for charities through public appearances and hospital visits since his last competitive run.
10. Sprinter Sacre, 13-years-old, is a French-bred, British-trained Selle Français racehorse renowned for his power and grace. Retiring in 2016 at 10 years of age and joining us with Vicky Roberts, the champion chaser was regarded by some as the best since Arkle, holding the third highest ever Timeform steeplechase rating of 192.
11. The New One, 11-years-old, is an ever popular Irish-bred, British trained thoroughbred racehorse who competed with great success in National Hunt races until he retired in December 2018. He is now in the loving care of Wayne Jones, who led The New One in the parade.
12. Mon Mome, the first 100-1 shot to win since Foinavon in 1967, Mon Mome shot to fame in 2009 by winning the Grand National with his jockey Liam Treadwell and then went on to finish an impressive third in the 2010 Cheltenham Gold Cup. Affectionately known as ‘Monnie’ by his owner Vida Bingham and guardian Sarah McQueen, he retired in 2013 and now enjoys life at Sarah’s Herefordshire based yard hacking through some nearby woods. He will be led in the parade by Sarah McQueen.
For more information on Horse of the Year Show 2019, please contact Horse of the Year Show Press Office, Grandstand Media Ltd. Tel: 02476 858205. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
‘Celebrating Our Racing Heroes’ Parade, Sprinter Sacre led by Vicky Roberts © Julian Portch