The second running of the RoR National Championship Show takes place at the Aintree Equestrian Centre next week featuring a cast of 195 former racehorses competing in over 70 classes. In addition to the top class line-up of equine talent, among the panel of judges for 2016 are best selling author Jilly Cooper and leading trainer Mark Johnston and his wife Deirdre.
Expanded to four days after last year’s successful event debuted over a weekend, the majority of the 195 horses are entered in multiple classes leading to a total of 772 entries. The RoR National Championship Show gets underway at the Aintree Equestrian Centre on Thursday 25th August and runs through until Sunday 28thAugust. The show concludes with a gala night that will feature not only the crowning of the Supreme Champion, but also an appearance, fresh from Rio, by Brazilian event rider Carlos Parro and former racehorse Summon Up The Blood.
Jilly Cooper’s presence as a judge is timely as it coincides with the release of her latest novel, ‘Mount!’, which goes on sale on 8th September and is once again set against the backdrop of the equestrian world. Cooper will judge the ‘Glamour Stakes’ class on Sunday evening before joining Mark and Deirdre Johnston in selecting the Supreme Champion.
The 2015 Champion, Jack The Giant, is back to defend his title and his opponents include Irish challenger, Forpadydeplasterer. The former Arkle Chase winner has excelled in the show ring since retiring from racing and the classes in which Forpadydeplasterer and Joanne Quirke take on Jack The Giant and Allister Hood will be among the most eagerly anticipated of the Championships. Among the other notable former racehorses entered for classes are Aintree favourite Monet’s Garden, international globetrotter Purple Moon, Triumph Hurdle runner-up Franchoek and popular chaser Midnight Chase.
It is free for spectators to attend and those who come to watch will get to see not only many former favourites from the track but also established RoR stars, such as the two winners of ‘RoR Horse of the Year’, Whatcanyasay (2014) and Liverpool (2015). Liverpool and Jo Mason won a class at the RoR National Championship Show last year and joining them in returning to Aintree are the winner and runner-up from last year’s Novice Show Series Final, Royal Rock and Beware Chalk Pit.
Parading on Sunday evening, together with former Grand National winner, 28-year-old Lord Gyllene, will be Summon Up The Blood. The former Mick Channon trained gelding graduated through RoR classes to compete in the Three-Day Event at the Rio Olympics where, ridden by Carlos Parro, he jumped a clear round in the cross-country before finishing a very creditable 18th overall.
Along with Jilly Cooper’s judging of the ‘Glamour Stakes’, another class sure to be popular with spectators is the ‘Jockey Stakes’. Taking place on Saturday evening, Luke Harvey (Purple Moon) and Mattie Bachelor (Golden Feather) head the list of jockeys set to compete in the class.
Di Arbuthnot, Chief Executive of Retraining of Racehorses (RoR), said: “Once again, we are thrilled with both the quality and quantity of entries and we are looking forward to a fabulous four days of competition.
“Although only in its second year, the RoR National Championship Show has already established itself as a key event in our calendar. Our thanks go to the team at Aintree for their hard work, along with The Jockey Club and Levy Board for their generous support. Special thanks too to Carlos Parro for agreeing to parade Summon Up The Blood and to the judges for giving up their time, including Mark and Deirdre Johnston, Joe Grimwade and, of course, Jilly Cooper.
“Jilly’s presence on the Sunday evening is a great boost. She has a very busy schedule at present promoting her new book but she was determined to find the time to come and judge on the Sunday night because she is passionate about helping RoR achieve its objective of finding horses a fulfilling life after racing.”
The classes get underway the morning of Thursday 25th August with the Championship Finals taking place on the Saturday and Sunday, these include The Jockey Club RoR Novice Show Series Final, the TARRA In Hand and Ridden Series Final, the RoR / Tattersalls Special Final and the RoR Veteran Championship. Sunday sees the RoR Elite Showing Series Final, worth £2,500 to the winner, and the crowning of the Supreme Champion 2016.