The Ballroom at the Grange City Hotel, London, was packed to capacity for the glittering British Breeders awards dinner held on Saturday evening, incorporating the South Essex Insurance Brokers (SEIB) and the charity Retraining of Racehorses (RoR) Elite Performance Awards. SEIB and ROR have joined forces to create these valuable awards with a prize fund of £30,000 donated by RoR. The awards provide a focus for ex-racehorses competing in the disciplines of Eventing, Dressage, Show Jumping, Endurance and Showing and have encouraged more riders to recognize the talents and versatility of the thoroughbred and their potential for success in another sphere.
International Dressage judge David Trott and Theme Park took the Dressage Award, beating last years winners Anne Bostock and Bold Hunter into runner up spot. Members of the “TP” Syndicate who owned Theme Park whilst he was in training attended the dinner and were full of praise for Theme Park’s efforts and success in such a different sphere.
The Elite Performance Award for Showing was given in two parts, to the winner of the SEIB Racehorse to Riding Horse Championship held at the Horse of the Year Show, Sonia Fitch-Peyton and Tim Billington’s Blue Java. Sonia plans to continue showing in Small Riding Horse classes next year and carry on with affiliated dressage, they have never been out of the first four in British Dressage classes. The winner of the Tattersalls and ROR Thoroughbred Show Horse Championship at Hickstead was Victoria Smart and her daughter Beth’s five year old Chivola, who took the other Showing award. Chivola was purchased at the Breeze up sales as a 2 year old for Victoria’s husband Brian to train. He ran 11 times on the flat and had one win. Chivola is already qualified for Hickstead next year.
Emily Morris collected the Elite Performance Award for Show Jumping Newcomers following an exceptionally successful first year with her mare Zolushka. Zolushka had 8 starts on the flat and was placed third once during her racing career. Emily bought her in October 2009 and has been successfully show jumping her since. She has notional winnings of £724, and Emily is keen to compete in a derby class next year and qualify for the amateur final at Aintree.
The Endurance Award went to Val Cammock with April’s Comait for attaining the highest number of Endurance Great Britain trophy points in 2010. April’s Comait’s proud breeder Pat Appleby came to the awards with Val on Saturday evening. It is likely April’s Comait will be retired now so this is a very fitting end to her successful career. Sue Henry and the 19 year old Monkey Boy were runners up, having won this Award in 2008 and 2009. Sue has owned Monkey Boy since 1997 and has formed a real partnership with him over this time.
Sue Brendish’s talented Danaan Prince took the Elite Performance Award for Eventing, ridden by Sam Griffiths. This horse has had a great season and Sue was so proud to collect the award as she has owned him since his early racing days when he was trained by Richard Hannon, who is also delighted at what the horse has gone on to achieve. Matthew Heath was runner up with his own Alligator Alley, having won the Retrained Racehorse Event Championships at Barbury Castle back in the summer. Sadly Matthew was unable to attend due to illness and Lucy Higginson, editor of Horse and Hound stepped in to collect the award on his behalf.
RoR is British horseracing’s official charity for the welfare of horses who have retired from racing. It raises funds from within racing to provide facilities for the care, retraining and re-homing of former racehorses, and to promote awareness of the suitability of the retrained racehorse for other equine careers.
Di Arbuthnot, RoR director of operations, said “This series provides a focus for ex-racehorses competing in the disciplines of Eventing, Dressage, Show Jumping, Endurance and Showing, and I hope it will encourage more riders to recognize the talents and versatility of the thoroughbred and their potential for success in another sphere.”
South Essex Insurance Brokers instigated the former Racehorse to Riding Horse Performance Awards in order to support the retraining of the thousands of racehorses who come out of training each year. “The Performance Awards also provide a platform to show how a correctly re-schooled ex-racehorse can be successful in a new career and continue to have a bright future, competing successfully in many different disciplines. This year’s competition has proved yet again the versatility and resilience of the thoroughbred”, says Nicolina Mackenzie, Marketing Manager of SEIB.
To see photos from the events click here