A wonderfully diverse line-up of former racehorses now enjoying alternative careers has been assembled for the Racing Post RoR Parade at Aintree on Thursday, April 7, Grand Opening Day of the 2016 Crabbies Grand National Festival.
Led by two Aintree heroes, Grand National winner Comply Or Die (pictured left) and five-time course winner Monet’s Garden, the line-up includes a legend in Gold Cup winner Denman (pictured below), as well as more recently retired jumping stars Peddlers Cross and Cinders And Ashes.
It is not only the horses with Aintree and Grand National pedigrees, as among the riders taking part in the Racing Post RoR Parade is Abbie McCain, granddaughter of Aintree legend, the late Ginger McCain. Abbie will be on board Cinders And Ashes who is co-owned by her father, trainer Donald McCain. Since being retired in 2015, Cinders And Ashes has been based with husband and wife team Bryan and Jackie Storey and is shortly due to start his second career doing showing and dressage
Also in the 10-horse Aintree parade will be the aptly named Liverpool, who was named RoR Horse of the Year for 2015. Liverpool, together with Danny John Boy, provide evidence of the invaluable role British racing’s equine charity, RoR, performs in facilitating opportunities for all former racehorses to have a second career. Since being retired from racing, both Liverpool and Danny John Boy have excelled in a range of RoR disciplines and were winners at the inaugural RoR National Championship Show at the Aintree Equestrian Centre in August, 2015.
Di Arbuthnot, Chief Executive of RoR, said: “It’s wonderful to have such diversity on show for our RoR parade at Aintree. We know the racing public love to see old warriors like Denman, Comply Or Die and Monet’s Garden, but I think they are also increasingly appreciative of what lesser known horses like Liverpool and Danny John Boy have achieved in carving out successful second careers in very different activities to racing.
“Aintree and the team are wonderful supporters of RoR. Not only do they do a great job staging the Racing Post RoR Parade at the Crabbie’s Grand National Festival, but they also host the RoR National Championship Show in August in the Equestrian Centre, an event which looks set to grow and grow.”
The parades were introduced in 2008 by Retraining of Racehorses (RoR) to showcase the adaptability of racehorses when re-trained for a second career.
They are now an established part of the major Jump racing festivals at Cheltenham and Aintree, with an additional parade planned for the first time in 2016 at Ayr during the Scottish Grand National meeting.
Di Arbuthnot added: “We would like to thank the Racing Post for their sponsorship of the parades in 2016. The £12,000 raised from the sale of their Christmas jumpers has generously been given to the charity and via the parades it will significantly help raise awareness of the work we do, which includes education of owners and care for vulnerable horses, as well as creating opportunities for former racehorses.”
The parade will take place at 12.50pm, 50 minutes before the first race, on Thursday, April 7. Details of the 10 horses participating, together with their riders and their current activities, are listed below.
- CINDERS AND ASHES (Dressage & Showing) – Ridden by Abbie McCain
9-year-old by Beat Hollow, formerly trained by Donald McCain
The 2012 winner of the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, Cinders And Ashes retired from racing in May, 2015. He is now based with Jackie and Brian Storey in Cumbria and has taken well to his retraining while still retaining his strong character. He is on course to start competing soon in RoR dressage and showing classes. He is still owned by Donald & Sian McCain and Dermot Hanafin.
- COMPLY OR DIE (Dressage) – Ridden by Verity Green
17-year-old by Old Vic, formerly trained by David Pipe
The 2008 Grand National winner retired from racing in 2011, initially being used as a lead horse for the young horses and also going hunting. Recently, Comply Or Die has taken up dressage and it turns out he not only enjoys it, he is also quite good at it. Last year he qualified for the RoR dressage finals at ‘Intro’ level and finished a very creditable seventh. Comply Or Die continues to do a combination of hunting and dressage and is again aiming to qualify for the RoR dressage finals.
- DANNY JOHN BOY (Showing, Dressage, Eventing) – Ridden by Leanne Crawford
13-year-old by Classic Cliché, formerly trained by Barry Murtagh.
The winner of three races of his 18 races, Danny John Boy was retired in 2012. He moved to Leanne Crawford for his retraining and now competes successfully in a range of disciplines. His 2015 showing wins included three classes at the RoR National Championship Show, culminating with victory in the Overall Retrained Racehorse Championship. As well as showing, he is also the winner of a British Eventing class and this year he has won British Dressage Novice classes and is the current leader in the RoR Elite Dressage Series.
- DENMAN (Team Chasing) – Ridden by Charlotte Alexander
16-year-old by Presenting, formerly trained by Paul Nicholls
The winner of the 2008 Cheltenham Gold Cup, Denman retired from racing in 2012 after a career that saw him win 14 of his 24 races. He moved to Charlotte Alexander’s yard and she says that Denman took to hunting “like a duck to water. He jumps everything from walls and rails to ditches and hedges.” In addition to hunting and team chasing, Denman has been to Cheltenham to school around the cross-country fences, which he thoroughly enjoyed.
- LIVERPOOL (Showing & Hunting) – Ridden by Jo Mason
14-year-old by Platini, Formerly trained by Mick Easterby
Undistinguished under Rules and then the winner of two-point-to-points, Liverpool has only really fulfilled his potential since retiring from racing. Liverpool enjoys hunting in the winter with the Middleton Hunt before taking to the show-ring under Jo in the summer. His best season was in 2014 when he won six classes, including qualifiers to Hickstead, Royal Windsor and the Horse Of The Year show. Liverpool played a key role in aiding Jo’s recovery from a broken back last year and his contribution was marked by him being named RoR Horse of the Year 2015 and Jo receiving the RoR Special Recognition award at the Godolphin Stud and Stable Staff Awards.
- MAD MOOSE (Dressage & Hunting) – Ridden by Sophie Burkin
12-year-old by Presenting, formerly trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies
A talented racehorse, Mad Moose acquired notoriety on account of his refusing to start races and the decision was made to retire him in December, 2014. Mad Moose moved to Sophie Burkin’s yard to start hunting where he has adapted really well and clearly enjoys being part of the hunting field. Sophie has since been working on his retraining and doing some dressage and he recently competed at his first unaffiliated dressage competition.
- MIDNIGHT CHASE (Eventing & Hunting) – Ridden by Sally Hayward
14-year-old by Midnight Legend, formerly trained by Neil Mulholland
A five-time winner round Cheltenham, Midnight Chase retired from racing in 2013 and went to his owner’s daughter, Sally Hayward, in Cheshire. Sally has been hunting him regularly in her role as Master for the Cheshire Forest Hunt. The pair made their debut in the show-ring in 2014, qualifying for the Horse Of The Year show. They were also first reserve Champion at Aintree in the RoR/Jockey Club Novice show series. They completed their first British Eventing competition in September and the plan is to continue with some eventing, pending time off from his hunting duties.
- MONETS GARDEN (Showing) – Ridden by Joey Richards
18-year-old by Roselier, formerly trained by Nicky Richards
An Aintree favourite, Monet’s Garden won the Old Roan Chase three times as well as the Melling Chase here at his favourite track, where he was successful five times. Following his final win in 2010, Monet’s Garden overcame a life threatening illness. Under the care of Jo Richards, daughter of trainer, Nicky Richards, Monet’s Garden returned to full health and fitness and embarked on his second career. He returned to Aintree in 2013, this time in the show-ring. He and Jo are regularly seen at shows through the summer months and he continues to thrive in his second career.
- NAUNTON BROOK (Showing & Showjumping) – Ridden by Aileen Firth
17-year-old by Alderbrook, formerly trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies
The 2008 Grand National runner retired from racing in 2010 after an eight-year career. His first job was as the mount of a field master out hunting before Aileen took him on in 2013. He has since attended RoR training clinics and camps and is making great progress in becoming an “all-rounder”. He is doing showjumping classes, working hunters, in hand showing classes and he hunts regularly with the Duke of Buccleuch Foxhounds.
- PEDDLERS CROSS (Showjumping) – Ridden by Brian Storey
11-year-old by Oscar, formerly trained by Donald McCain.
The 2010 Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle winner at the Cheltenham Festival and 2011 Champion Hurdle runner-up retired in 2013 after a five-year career. He is now with Jackie and Brian Storey where his retraining has included showjumping and hunter trials, as well as taking part in some RoR dressage classes. Jackie reports that Peddlers Cross is quite a character and has a reputation for hiding things in his bedding! He is still owned by Mr & Mrs Tim Leslie and he has an exciting future as a retrained racehorse.