A strong class of ex-racehorses came before the judges, Nigel Fuller (ride) and Alan Edmunds (conformation).
Peter and Yvonne Botham’s Royal Rock won the Racehorse to Riding Horse class by a nose under the careful guidance of rider Oliver Hood. Royal Rock’s former trainer Chris Wall, who trained the horse to win two Group 3 sprints at Ascot, was also in attendance. The Bothams were gifted Royal Rock upon his retirement by his owner, Ms Fustoq. Peter kept the gift a secret from his wife and surprised her on Christmas Day by presenting her with Royal Rock, done up in tinsel.
“I am really pleased to see him doing so well,” said Chris Wall. “He was always a character in training and liked showing off!”
Royal Rock was a finalist in the SEIB Racehorse to Riding Horse class in 2015, and won the Novice section at the Retraining of Racehorses championship show at Aintree. He has qualified for the Open section this year.
Justine Armstrong-Jones rode Anne Leaftly’s gelding Beware Chalk Pit to a second place finish. The twelve-year-old, formerly trained by Jonathan Geake, retired from racing in January 2015 and has been produced since then by Justine who qualified the horse for HOYS last year.
“He’s the easiest horse,” she enthused. “He’s completely straightforward, very genuine, and so correctly put together. It’s all there; it’s just a case of reorganising it.”
1st Royal Rock, owned by Yvonne Botham and ridden by Oliver Hood from Diss, Norfolk
2nd Beware Chalk Pit, owned by Anne Leaftely and ridden by Rebecca Court from Upshire, Essex.