For the first time this year at the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials there will be a prize for the highest placed former racehorse.
British Racing’s official charity for the welfare of former racehorses, Retraining of Racehorses (RoR), is putting up a cash prize of £1000 to the connections of the former racehorse that performs best at the world’s premier three-day-event.
The RoR £1000 cash prize is open to any horse that has raced under the rules of a recognised racing authority. Had it been on offer in 2015, it would have been won by Arctic Soul, ridden by Gemma Tattersall, who finished 16th overall and Gemma is hoping to repeat the feat at Badminton this year.
Now a thirteen-year-old gelding and top-class event horse, Arctic Soul began his career running in four races in Ireland in 2008 before being retrained and fulfilling his potential in arguably the most challenging of all equine disciplines.
Welcoming the RoR initiative and prize, Gemma Tattersall said:
“Despite the continual development of the sport, the Thoroughbred is still at the heart of Eventing and this is a fantastic initiative to encourage and reward the retraining of racehorses. There could not be a greater showcase for the sport than Badminton and I am looking forward to having a crack at winning this award with my amazing former racehorse, Arctic Soul.“
Two other former racehorses, Galley Light (ridden by Ben Way) and September Bliss (ridden by Elizabeth Power) also completed Badminton last year. Entries for this year’s Badminton Horse Trials closed last week and the full list of potential candidates for the RoR prize will be known when the entries are published.
Di Arbuthnot, Chief Executive of RoR, said:
“We are delighted to be working with Badminton Horse Trials and it’s fantastic that they are supporting this initiative. To get any horse to Badminton requires years of training and for a former racehorse to qualify is the ultimate testament to their versatility and adaptability.
“With over 11,500 former racehorses registered on our database as active in other equine disciplines, obviously a lot of our work is focused at grass-roots level, but RoR is exceptionally proud of those horses that graduate to compete as elite sport horses.
“It’s wonderful to have the opportunity to formally acknowledge and reward former racehorses competing at Badminton.”
Mike Tucker, the television commentator, who himself completed Badminton twelve times, also welcomed the introduction of the RoR prize:
“This excellent initiative is a reflection of the growth of RoR and its increasing links with elite equine sport. More and more former racehorses are now excelling in different disciplines and much of this is due to RoR’s strategy of creating competitive opportunities for these horses outside of racing.”
The Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials take place from 4th – 8th May, for more information visit www.badminton-horse.co.uk