On the first day of The Festival, Champion Day, Tuesday, March 15, there is a star-studded line-up of previous Festival heroes who have since gone on to excel in a second career after retiring from racing. Included in the Retraining of Racehorses’ (RoR) parade, sponsored by the Racing Post, is Gold Cup winner, Denman, Champion Hurdle winner, Punjabi, as well as two Arkle winners and a Grand National winner.
This year’s Racing Post RoR Parade also features horses from outside of Great Britain. The former Francois Doumen trained Kasbah Bliss, a World Hurdle runner-up, travels over from France and joins three Irish based horses, Arkle winners Sizing Europe and Forpadydeplasterer, both of which are now enjoying success in the show-ring, and Mikael D’Haguenet.
Remarkably, nine of the ten horses in the 2016 Racing Post RoR Parade ran at the 2009 Festival and five of them were victorious. Heading the ‘Class of 09’ reunion is Champion Hurdle winner, Punjabi, who makes his RoR Parade debut.
Since his retirement from racing Punjabi has been in the care of Rachael Kempster, who is based at Kinsale Stud in Shropshire, and the pair have recently started competing in dressage competitions. Rachael describes Punjabi as a “one in a million horse”, adding: “He is one of the easiest thoroughbreds I have ever had to deal with. He loves his new job and is adapting really well to dressage. This horse means such a lot to me and we’re really excited about being a part of the Racing Post RoR Parade.“
The other four Festival winners in the line-up from the ‘Class of 09’ are Cappa Bleu, Oh Crick, Mikael D’Haguenet and Forpadydeplasterer.
The parades were introduced in 2008 by the charity, Retraining of Racehorses (RoR), to showcase the adaptability of racehorses when re-trained for a second career and they are now an established part of the major Jump racing festivals at Cheltenham and Aintree, with an additional parade planned for the first time in 2016 at Ayr at their Scottish Grand National meeting.
Di Arbuthnot, Chief Executive of RoR, said: “It is important for us when putting on the parades to not only include former heroes and old favourites but also horses that have proven their adaptability in other disciplines. So we are delighted to have a parade line-up this year that has strength in depth in both categories, ten class racehorses, each one now excelling in another activity.
“We are also delighted to welcome horses from France and Ireland into the parade. We are working increasingly closely with other racing nations in promoting the adaptability of former racehorses and Kasbah Bliss, on his return to France, will take up duties at the Living Museum of the Horse in Chantilly as a prime example of that.
“We would like to thank the Racing Post for their sponsorship of the parades in 2016. Over £12,000 was raised from the sale of their Christmas jumpers which has generously been given to the charity and via the parades it will significantly help raise awareness of the work we do, which includes education of owners and care for vulnerable horses, as well as creating opportunities for former racehorses.”
The parade will take place at 12.30, an hour before the first race, on Tuesday 15 March. Details of the ten horses participating, together with their riders and their current activities, are listed below.
For the full list of horses taking part in the parade, please visit: http://www.ror.org.uk/stellar-line-up-for-racing-post-ror-parade-at-this-years-festival/