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Retrained racehorses take centre stage at SsangYong Blenheim Palace
The new Retraining of Racehorses (RoR) dressage championships at SsangYong Blenheim Palace Horse Trials (Thursday, 13 September) was a great success, with three strong classes held at prelim, novice and elementary level.
Laura Taylor won the prelim championship aboard Grapetree, an eight-year-old by Bertolinio who ran once in a bumper when trained by David Evans.
Laura has owned Grapetree for just over a year, and they hunt, event and compete in all riding club activities. They also competed in the Dodson & Horrell Riding Club Eventer Challenge class at SsangYong Blenheim Palace earlier that day.
Second was Sandpipers, winner of nine point-to-points, owned by Alice Vaughan-Jones and ridden by Judy Hancock. Third were Victoria Chamlet and former hurdler Astral Boy.
The novice winners were Rebecca Goyder-Smith and Sularno, owned by Angela Ersoy. The 14-year-old son of Medicean won three times on the Flat when trained by Jeff Pearce. The pair are RoR South East novice and elementary champions as well.
Emma Stringer and Creeslough, who ran three times in bumpers for Brendan Powell, were second – Creeslough actually competed in the CIC3* for eight- and nine-year-olds here at SsangYong Blenheim Palace when ridden by Ginny Howe – and third were Georgina Browne and 19-year-old Jimmy Bond, winner of six steeplechases in his former career.
Elementary victory went to Shelley Moores and Danaan Prince. The Danehill Dancer18-year-old, who ran 10 times on the Flat for Richard Hannon snr, has been owned by Sue Brendish since he was a two-year-old. He also competed at SsangYong Blenheim Palace, in the CCI3*, when ridden by Sam Griffiths.
“Coincidentally, his dressage let him down when he was eventing,” said Shelley. “I wouldn’t ever have had the chance to ride here at Blenheim, so I’ve loved it.”
Second were Fred Hodges and Leaveittorog, while third were Julie Frizzell and Namibian – winner of £100,000 during a stellar racing career that included successes at Royal Ascot and Glorious Goodwood when trained by Mark Johnston.
RoR chief executive Di Arbuthnot said: “This is such a lovely venue. All our competitors have enjoyed themselves and have said they want to come back again, and the standard of competition has been very high.”