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Vet Jo Hales crowned wins overall RoR novice
Vet Jo Hales pulled off an exceptional Blenheim Palace double, claiming the overall Novice title at the KBIS Retraining of Racehorses (RoR) Dressage Championships at SsangYong Blenheim Palace Horse Trials on her husband Ben’s horse Que Sera a day after taking the individual 100cm Dodson & Horrell Eventer Challenge class on her own homebred Worthy Illusion.
Nine-year-old Que Sera was originally trained by Philip Hobbs, and bought by the Hales family, who live just a few miles away from Blenheim, as a point-to-pointer.
“I'm absolutely delighted, I wasn't expecting it,” said Jo.
“In January he'd struggle to canter a 20-metre circle, but we've sped his training up. I’ve done lots of work with him.”
Jo started riding Que Sera after he injured himself 48 hours before his first point-to-point race. She also rides him side-saddle.
Fred Hodges won the Medium title on 17-year-old Leaveittorog, who suffers from severe kissing spines.
“He is amazing to do all he does despite it,” said Fred, who took on the ride on the former point-to-pointer four and a half years ago when the horse was working at Novice level. He now works up to Advanced level at home.
Amelia Walker took the Elementary championship on Sweet Deal, owned by Hannah Mustow. The nine-year-old son of Verglas previously raced for Paul Roy, chairman of RoR and former chairman of the British Horseracing Authority, and his wife Susan.
“I've had him for a year,” said Amelia. “He was returned from a professional as ‘no good’. He's evented up to CCI2* level as well.”
Fay Bryant was the Preliminary champion, riding Yojimbo, an 11-year-old formerly trained by Mick Channon.
Fay praised the son of Aussie Rules, saying: “He's amazing. He will turn his hoof to anything from dressage to hunting, and gives rides to the whole family.”
Across the two days of the championships Louise Robson and RoR Dressage to Music provided demonstrations.
Louise Robson, from Thoroughbred Dressage, retrains racehorses as well as competing up to Prix St George in dressage. She is the current British Dressage Novice Silver champion.
Her horses Quadrille and Princess Trust are owned by The Queen, and Quadrille, originally trained by Richard Hannon, is her highest performing horse on the dressage circuit, competing at PSG and Inter 1.
ROR Dressage to Music meet every other week to practise riding in different formations.
“We choose our music together, and like to keep it fun and upbeat,” they told the audience. “It's about teamwork.”