Former Stable Mates Reunited In Opening Day Parade As Cheltenham Festival Celebrates Retraining Of Racehorses

Two former stables mates from Alan King's Barbary Castle stables will be reunited in the Opening Day Parade at the Cheltenham on Tuesday March 11th 2014. Crystal D’Ainay and Blazing Bailey are both graduates of the charity Retraining of Racehorses (RoR) and will be parading at Cheltenham alongside equine superstars Kauto Star and Denman in recognition of their successful transition to a new career, as well as their record of success at the Festival as racehorses.

During their racing careers, Crystal D’Ainay and Blazing Bailey were stables mates under the care of trainer Alan King, based at Barbary Castle, Marlborough. The duo will be reunited at Cheltenham, where they both competed four times.

Crystal D’Ainay enjoyed a successful racing career, racing 38 times over hurdles and fences, competing four times at the Cheltenham Festival and finishing third in the World Hurdle in 2004. Since retiring in 2011 Crystal D’Ainay was taken on by Charlotte Burke and now lives in Upper Lambourn, Berskhire. Together they have competed in team chases and hunter trials. Crystal D’Ainay, now 15, has flourished in his new activities and has won numerous rosettes.

Blazing Bailey had an impressive career as a racehorse. He ran 48 times on the flat, over hurdles and fences, wining 12 races and being places on a number of occasions. Blazing Bailey also competed four times at the Cheltenham Festival, finishing third in both the Triumph Hurdle and the World Hurdle. Following his retirement in 2012, Blazing Bailey was taken on by Sarah Welford in Overtown Manor in Wiltshire. He was retrained to compete in hunter trials and team chases which he thoroughly enjoys.

Crystal D’Ainay is now looked after by Charlotte Burke, who said:

“I was lucky enough to be given Crystal D'ainay three years ago from Tony & Jeni Fisher when he retired from racing at the age of 12.

“He has taken to his new life brilliantly and looks after me fantastically well.  We hunt with the Vine & Craven, Hunter Trial and Team Chase with Blazing Bailey and Sarah. He hacks out daily and is a true gent, bomb proof.  He is an absolute superstar, my pride and joy.”

Sarah Welford said of Blazing Bailey:

“Blazing Bailey arrived with Alan King in 2006 and I looked after him and rode him from the day he arrived till the day he retired. He retired in 2012 and the owners 'Three Line Whip' very kindly gave him to me. Bailey has taken to his new relaxed lifestyle really well; hacking, hunting and team chasing as I thought he would knowing him so well. He is an absolute star and I love him to bits.”

In the Retraining of Racehorses Opening Day Parade Crystal D’Ainay and Blazing Bailey will be joined by the likes of Gold Cup champions Kauto Star and Denman, as well as The Queen’s Barber's Shop.

Retraining of Racehorses is the British Horseracing’s official charity for the welfare of horses who have retired from racing. It organises a yearly Cheltenham Festival parade for former racehorses to show their ability to adapt to different lifestyles – often being very successful in their new career.

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 around 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 Cheltenham is a celebration of not only previous Festival winners, but also of horses who have gone to achieve great success in other disciplines.

“Clearly 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.”

For more information about Retraining of Racehorses, please visit: http://www.ror.org.uk/