Retraining of Racehorses (RoR) is set to play a major role at this weekend’s Newmarket Open Weekend (17th-18th September), where the highlight will be the activities taking place at Palace House, home of the National Heritage Centre for Horseracing and Sporting Art and the location of a new flagship yard for RoR.
British racing’s official charity for the welfare of retired racehorses will also have a presence on the Rowley Mile Racecourse on Saturday and Sunday, when RoR once again joins forces on their stand with The Horse Comes First. And showcasing the adaptability of former racehorses by competing in the showjumping event on Sunday will be Historical Giant, a horse who was formerly trained in Newmarket and is now enjoying a second career participating in a range of other equine disciplines.
Over ten years in the making and building, Palace House, the National Heritage Centre for Horseracing and Sporting Art, will be giving those attending the Newmarket Open Weekend taster tours prior to it’s first official day of opening on Monday 19th September. Among the attractions this weekend will be the opportunity to see some former heroes from the track, who have since adapted to a new life after racing.
From 10.00am to 12.30pm on Saturday, the historic Rothschild Yard at Palace House will be open with Dubai World Cup winners African Story and Prince Bishop, Ascot Gold Cup winner Papineau and National Hunt favourite Our Vic in residence for the public to meet and greet. Since his retirement Our Vic has been at the British Racing School and joining him on Saturday morning is his fellow in-mate from the School, the recently retired, former Andrew Balding trained Angelic Upstart.
The three Godolphin horses, African Story, Prince Bishop and Papineau, will be meeting the public again in the Rothschild Yard on Sunday morning at the same time (10.00am – 12.30pm). The Rothschild Yard is the new flagship yard for RoR at Palace House. Under the management of Joe Grimwade, formerly Stud Manager of the Royal Studs, the Rothschild Yard will provide visitors with the opportunity to interact with former racehorses and showcase the work of RoR.
Visitors to the Rothschild Yard on Saturday morning will also have the chance to get a signed copy of Jilly Cooper’s new book, Mount. A great supporter of the charity, Jilly Cooper recently judged the Glamour Stakes class at the RoR National Championship Show at Aintree and from 11.30am – 12.30pm on Saturday she will be doing a book signing session.
One of the highlights of the Newmarket Open Weekend is the showjumping competition held on Sunday afternoon on the Rowley Mile Racecourse, featuring a number of jockeys and trainers. This year Jennie Simcock, wife of trainer David, has selected as her mount former racehorse Historical Giant.
An 11-year-old gelding, Historical Giant began his career in the care of Aidan O’Brien in Ireland. However, after just one run he was sold and he moved to Newmarket to be trained by Ed Vauhgan. In a further five runs the son of Giant’s Causeway failed to trouble the judge and he finished his racing career in 2009.
Now owned and ridden by Georgie Shepherd, Historical Giant has since been retrained and enjoyed success in a range of equine disciplines, including showing, eventing and showjumping, winning classes at county shows and qualifying to compete at Hickstead.
Di Arbuthnot, Chief Executive of RoR, said: “We are very much looking forward to this weekend in Newmarket. It will be wonderful to see the Rothschild Yard open and with real, live former racehorses there for the public to see first hand.
“We will be on site at the Rothschild Yard and on the Rowley Mile Racecourse to help answer any questions people may have about Retraining of Racehorses and the work we do. And on Sunday afternoon we will be keeping a close eye on Jennie Simcock and Historical Giant as they fly the flag for RoR in the showjumping.”