A former racehorse who now lives in Clifton, Penrith will take centre stage to showcase his new talents as he takes part in Retraining of Racehorses’ Opening Day Parade during the Grand National meeting at Aintree Racecourse on Thursday 3rd April 2014.
Whatcanyasay will be parading at Aintree with his owner Melanie Gray, who used to help out at the stables where Whatcanyasay trained during his racing career. The duo will be showcasing how successful Whatcanyasay is in his second career in front of thousands of racegoers at the home of the Grand National.
Affectionately known as ‘Doofer’, Whatcanyasay was a much loved racehorse who ran 46 times over hurdles and fences, winning on four occasions. After his retirement, Whatcanyasay was adopted by the Gray family and, with the help of Retraining of Racehorses, he was retrained to become a successful show horse.
Supported and loved by the Gray family, Whatcanyaysay’s exploits in his new career mean that following his day out at Aintree he can also look forward to competing at both the Royal Highland and Royal Windsor Horse Show Finals in 2014. Since turning his hand, or in this case his hoof, to showing, Whatcanyaysay's achievements include winning the Retraining of Racehorses Scottish Championship at the Royal Highland Show in 2013. He was also champion at Hambleton District Show, as well as qualifying for the Open Pony Club Dressage Championships.
Retraining of Racehorses is the British Horseracing’s official charity for the welfare of horses who have retired from racing. It organises a yearly Aintree Festival parade for former racehorses to show their ability to adapt to different lifestyles – often being very successful in their new career.
Melanie Gray said of Whatcanyasay:
“My siblings and I used to help muck out at the stables of trainer Evelyn Slack in Appleby-in-Westmorland. Doofer was always our favourite, and when we were offered the chance to buy him after retirement, we jumped at the opportunity. Showing has really proved to be Doofer’s forte. We travel around the country going to different events, and he enjoys the variety so much it makes all the hard work worthwhile.”
Di Arbuthnot, Retraining of Racehorses Chief Executive, said:
“Everyone involved in horseracing shares a passion for horses. On the track they provide us with so much enjoyment and excitement and it is wonderful that through Retraining of Racehorses or otherwise, former racehorses can find a fulfilling second career. We have almost 9,000 horses currently registered on our database as active in disciplines outside of racing, including polo, showing, dressage and eventing, as well as all those happily engaged in hacking and exercising.
"The Parade at Aintree is a celebration of not only previous Festival winners, but also of horses who have gone to achieve great success in other disciplines.
“Not all racehorses go on to star in a different sphere but the more we can raise awareness of how adaptable they are, the more riders will think about taking on a racehorse on when they are looking for a new horse.”