Master Minded, dual winner of the G1 Queen Mother Champion Chase (2008 & 2009), will make his first appearance on a racecourse in over seven years when he joins the parade of retrained racehorses on Champion Day at The Festival(TM) presented by Magners at Cheltenham on Tuesday 12th March.
The annual parade is organised by racing’s official charity for the welfare of retired racehorses, Retraining of Racehorses (RoR). Held before racing at 12.30pm, the parade showcases the range of activities open to racehorses when they finish their racing careers and has become an increasingly popular attraction in the build-up to racing on day one of The Festival.
Now a 16-year-old, Master Minded is one of 12 former racehorses in the parade, which is again sponsored by the Peter O’Sullevan Charitable Trust.
Together the dozen horses have a combined age of 172 and between them have won 29 Grade 1 races and over £6m in prize money. All are still active and enjoying a second career after racing.
Besides Master Minded, other Festival winners in the line-up include 2014 Cheltenham Gold Cup victor Lord Windermere, Festival favourite Cue Card, Balthazar King, My Way De Solzen and Zarkandar.
In 2008 Master Minded became the youngest-ever winner of the Queen Mother Champion Chase and produced one of the outstanding chasing performances of this century, winning by 19 lengths when just a five-year-old. He returned to win the race again a year later and enjoyed 16 victories in all. However, he incurred a career-ending injury in the 2011 King George VI Chase at Kempton Park and has not appeared on a racecourse since.
At Kempton, Master Minded struck into himself, cutting into a tendon, and the gravity of the injury was such that it not only ended his racing career it was also life threatening. Thanks to the care he received at Newmarket Equine Hospital (NEH), Master Minded was nursed back to health before embarking on the long road back to recovery and a second career. Among those on the team at NEH was Equine Nurse Sophie Haylock, who took on the responsibility for looking after and retraining Master Minded in 2013.
Sophie’s patience with Master Minded has paid off and the pair now take part in local shows and dressage competitions. She says of Master Minded: “He is a wonderful horse to be around and definitely has an aura about him.
“The injuries he had were very serious and on leaving hospital we kept him to a carefully devised rehabilitation programme.
“He is now enjoying a very happy retirement. I am so grateful to Clive Smith for giving me the opportunity to have ‘Ems’ (Master Minded) at home. Clive keeps in touch and often comes to visit him. I think it is fair to say both horse and rider are excited about going to Cheltenham. I just have not told him he’s going yet!”
Pictured top: Master Minded and Sophie Haylock.
The parade also offers racegoers an opportunity to see the more recently retired Cue Card who is in the early stages of his retraining. Cue Card, now 13, is still based at Colin Tizzard’s yard on the Dorset/Somerset border and will be ridden in the parade by Hamir Singh, who looked after him and rode him at exercise during his racing career. Cue Card’s owner Jean Bishop is considering the possibility of Cue Card doing some RoR showing classes in the future.
As well as former stars from racing, the Peter O’Sullevan Charitable Trust sponsored parade features some over-achievers from other disciplines too. Now aged 16, popular West Country chaser Monkerty Tunkerty is a shining example of the thoroughbred’s versatility. Last year he won competitive classes in showing, dressage and show jumping and was placed at championship level in three different disciplines at the RoR Goffs UK National Championships at Aintree. His achievements earned him the honour of being awarded 2018 RoR Horse of the Year.
Also competing at Aintree was What Of It, who was adjudged Supreme Champion at the show by a panel of judges including jockey Nico de Boinville, thereby landing the double of elite RoR showing prizes, having won the RoR Tattersalls Show Series Championship at Hickstead in June.
Di Arbuthnot, Chief Executive of RoR, added: “We are very much looking forward to the RoR parade at The Festival.
“Due to the outbreak of Equine Influenza, it has not been straightforward organising this year’s parade and we are grateful to all those who have made it possible, in particular, the owners and riders of the horses involved.
“It is fantastic to have horses of the calibre of Master Minded and Cue Card parading and promoting the work of RoR. Special thanks also to the Peter O’Sullevan Charitable Trust for its generous and on-going support of the RoR parades.”
RoR Parade line-up, sponsored by the Peter O’Sullevan Trust, The Festival 2019
- Annacotty (Showing and Show Jumping) – ridden by Hannah Bishop; 11-year-old by Beneficial, formerly trained by Martin Keighley and Alan King
- Balthazar King (Hunting) – ridden by Stephen Way; 15-year-old by King’s Theatre, formerly trained by Philip Hobbs
- Carruthers – (Show Jumping and Team Chasing) ridden by Lily Bradstock; 16-year-old by Kayf Tara, formerly trained by Mark Bradstock
- Cue Card (Showing) – ridden by Hamir Singh; 13-year-old by King’s Theatre, formerly trained by Colin Tizzard
- Lord Windermere (Showing) – Ridden by Elle Greenhalgy; 13-year-old by Oscar, formerly trained by Jim Culloty
- Master Minded (Dressage) – ridden by Sophie Haylock; 16-year-old by Nikos, formerly trained by Paul Nicholls
- Monkerty Tunkerty (Showing and Show Jumping) – ridden by Jess Westwood; 16-year-old by Silver Patriarch, formally trained by Jess Westwood
- My Way De Solzen (Hunting) – ridden by Cate Mahon; 19-year-old by Assessor, formerly trained by Alan King
- Saphir Du Rheu (Team Chasing) – ridden by Charlotte Alexander; 10-year-old by Al Namix, formerly trained by Paul Nicholls
- Wayward Prince (Dressage and Hunting) – ridden by Megan Harper; 15-year-old by Alflora, formerly trained by Ian Williams and Hilary Parrott
- What Of It (Showing) – ridden by Hannah Horton; 16-year-old by Tel Quel, formerly trained by Tom George and Sarah Ward
- Zarkandar (Hunting) – ridden by Olivia Sims; 12-year-old by Azamour, formerly trained by Paul Nicholls
About Retraining of Racehorses (RoR):
Retraining of Racehorses (RoR) is British Horseracing’s official charity for the welfare of horses that have retired from racing. The charity:
- raises funds from within the Racing Industry for the retraining and rehoming of former racehorses
- provides a safety net for ‘vulnerable’ former racehorses
- promotes the adaptability and versatility of racehorses to other equestrian activities
- runs and funds a well-established programme of competitions and educational events across the country
- provides information for owners and trainers in both the Racing and Equine Industries to assist with the rehoming and retraining of their former racehorses
The ultimate goal is to maintain a balance between the number of horses leaving Racing and the number of enthusiastic, and suitable, new homes. For more information visit RoR’s website: www.ror.org.uk
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