This time in just under a month The Festival will be in full flow, with the opening day, featuring the Stan James Champion Hurdle and known as Champion Day, on Tuesday, March 11.
In accordance with the theme of the day, two previous Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup winners, Kauto Star and Denman, will be there as part of the Retraining of Racehorses’ (RoR) parade, sponsored by the Racing Post.
The line-up of former racehorses will also include Her Majesty The Queen’s Barbers Shop, who finished second at The Festival in 2008, and take centre stage in the parade ring before racing. Trained for his races by Nicky Henderson, Barbers Shop enjoyed high profile success with Katie Jerram in the showing arena. The duo won at the Royal Windsor Show in June before going on to win the final of the RoR/Tattersalls Show Series Championship at Hickstead in 2013.
The RoR parades were introduced in 2008 by the charity to showcase the successes of former racehorses and are now an established part of the major Jump racing festivals at Cheltenham and Aintree, as well as on Ascot’s King George Day in July.
RoR Chief Executive Di Arbuthnot explains why the parades are so important and growing in popularity.
“It is a fantastic way for us to showcase in front of racing audiences the versatility of the racehorse. Not only do the parades provide people with the chance to see their old favourites but they also show the adaptability of former racehorses, including those horses who may not have had such a distinguished racing career but are now excelling in a new equine discipline.”
Di says this mix of horses is an essential element of the success of the parades.
“Horse of the Year winner Deep Reflection, who is now a RoR Champion and star in the showing world, will parade alongside the sport’s former champions and The Festival stalwarts like Monkerhostin and Blazing Bailey, who are now enjoying a more relaxed life hunting and hacking away from the limelight.
“These RoR parades really show too how former racehorses can make the most rewarding animals to retrain for second careers, and offer a snapshot of their new skills whether competing in showing, show jumping, eventing, polo, endurance, dressage or simply as a hunter or hack.”
Sophia Brudenell, Communications Manager for the South West region of Jockey Club Racecourses, added: “The RoR parade on the opening day of The Festival is something that has grown in popularity each year and it is great to see such a strong line-up for this year.
“Kauto Star and Denman are so popular but it will also be great to see Blazing Bailey and Crystal D’Ainay, who were both Festival regulars in their time, notching up five and four appearances respectively. Blazing Bailey and Crystal D’Ainay both finished third in the Ladbrokes World Hurdle.”
For further information or to book tickets visit www.cheltenham.co.uk or call 0844 579 3003
The full horses will take part in the RoR parade at Cheltenham before racing on Tuesday, March 11.
1. DENMAN (Team Chasing) – Charlotte Alexander
14 ch g by Presenting.
Ran 24 times, winning 14 races and over £1.1 million in prize money. He won the 2008 Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup and the 2007 RSA Chase.
Trained by Paul Nicholls.
Denman moved to Charlotte at the beginning of September, 2012, having had time off recovering from a small tendon injury. The first few months were spent hardening his legs and getting him used to going on exercise across country, through gates and down tracks. Once the basic fitness had been achieved, Denman was introduced to sponsored rides and then hunting. Denman took to hunting like a duck to water. He jumps everything from walls and rails to hedges and ditches. Harry Meade has been helping Charlotte with Denman’s re-schooling and, as he is so intelligent, he takes it all on board so quickly.
2. BLAZING BAILEY (Hunting) – Sarah Welford
12 b g by Mister Baileys.
He ran 48 times on the Flat, over hurdles and fences, notching up over £380,000 in prize money. He was successful in 12 races and placed on numerous occasions. He ran five times at The Festival, finishing in third in both the JCB Triumph Hurdle and the Ladbrokes World Hurdle.
Trained by Alan King.
Following his retirement, he has been hunting on a number of occasions with Sarah. They have been competing in hunter trials and team chases as well as lots of hacking. Sarah says Bailey is thoroughly enjoying his retirement.
3. CRYSTAL D’AINAY (Team Chase/Hunter Trials) – Charlotte Burke
15 b g by Saint Preuil.
Ran 38 times over hurdles and fences, gaining over £225,000 in prize money. He ran four times at The Festival, finishing third in the Ladbrokes World Hurdle in 2004.
Trained by Alan King.
Since retiring in 2011, Charlotte and Crystal D’Ainay have been competing in team chases and hunter trials. This is proving to be something he enjoys as he is always winning rosettes! He also has great fun hacking and has been hunting on several occasions.
4. MONKERHOSTIN (Hunting) – George Beilby
17 b g by Shining Steel.
He ran 61 times under Rules and won 12 of these including the Coral Cup at The Festival in 2004 and the bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown in 2008. He took part at The Festival on six occasions, finishing fourth and sixth in the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup and notched up over £602,000 in prize money during his career which lasted 10 years.
Trained by Philip Hobbs.
Monkerhostin came to George and Debbie Beilby in February, 2011. Monkey has been a great addition to the yard, a venerable old soldier, oozing confidence and experience, he loves going out with the West Somerset Vale Hunt and acts as lead for children’s ponies and youngsters. He’s tough, kind hearted and the children adore him. He’s a popular member of the hunt and stands beautifully at the meet. Monkey, as he is known, played a huge part in helping George with his rehab after returning from army duties in Afghanistan. This created a great bond between him and Monkey that people would find hard to understand. This year, he is being ridden by Debbie and has been trail hunting and taking part in fun rides.
5. BARBERS SHOP (Showing) – Katie Jerram
12 b g by Saddler’s Hall.
Ran 24 times over hurdles and fences, winning eight races and being placed on numerous occasions when gaining over £143,000 in prize money. He ran four times at The Festival, finishing a neck second in the Jewson Novices’ Handicap Chase in 2008.
Trained by Nicky Henderson and owned by HM The Queen.
Now with Katie Jerram, he has had a very successful start to his new career in showing. Katie took him to a local show for his first outing and he won the hunter class with her. He then went on to win the Horse of the Year qualifier at Osbaldeston and RoR Champion. He won his class at The Royal Windsor Show and became Champion at Hickstead this year. He won his class at the Royal Welsh Show too. Katie says he has been a pleasure to produce and, due to the team at Nicky Henderson’s doing such a good job riding him, it has made life easier for retraining. He will move on to ladies’ side-saddle classes and show hunter classes this year.
6. MIKO DE BEAUCHENE (Hunting) – Tracey Phillips
14 b g by Nashamaa.
He had 43 runs under Rules including hurdles and fences. He won four of his races and over £203,000 in prize money. His victories included the Coral Welsh National at Chepstow in 2007 and the Red Square Vodka Gold Cup at Haydock in 2008. He then went on to finish second at The Festival in the Pertemps Final in 2008 for Andrew Wiles, who still owns him today.
Trained latterly by Venetia Williams and spent most of his career with Robert & Sally Alner.
He has been hunting several times with the North Cotswold Hunt and has completed fun rides in the Cotswolds, which he thoroughly enjoyed. He is now recovering from an unfortunate injury, but all is going very well and the plan from here is to start doing some showing, cross country, show jumping and then possibly some eventing.
7. LIGHTNING STRIKE (Hunting) – Sharon Francis
11 ch g by Danehill Dancer.
Ran 37 times on the Flat and over obstacles, notching up over £109,000 in prize money. He finished ninth in the JCB Triumph Hurdle at The Festival in 2007 and made two more appearances at The Festival.
Trained by Paul Webber.
Since retiring in 2012, Striker, as he is known, had a couple of months off before Sharon started riding him again. He has been learning to hack out alone, which has thrown Sharon a couple of challenges along the way! However, he has now been out on the hunting field and shown an enjoyment for this life. The aim this year is to be part of the inter hunt relay team for the South Hereford Hunt.
8. KAUTO STAR (Dressage) – Laura Collett
14 b g by Village Star.
Ran 41 times over hurdles and fences and collected over £2.3 million in prize money, winning an amazing 23 races. He captured the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup in 2007 and 2009 (becoming the first horse ever to regain the Gold Cup), Kempton Park’s King George a record breaking five times and the Betfair Chase at Haydock Park four times. He ran seven times at the Cheltenham Festival during his amazing career.
Trained by Paul Nicholls.
Since arriving with Laura, Kauto Star has taken to his retirement routine very well. Laura says he is a pleasure to work with and is enjoying the work that has been asked of him at home. Along with his retraining for dressage, he enjoys hacking out, spending time in the field and having the occasional little jump. Kauto Star has done demonstrations at Newbury, Barbury and Burghley. He has also been seen parading at a couple of racecourses since his retirement. He will start competing in dressage competitions this year.
9. DEEP REFLECTION (Showing) – Helen Newbold
14 b g by Cloudings.
He ran 38 times over hurdles and fences in a career lasting six years. He succeeded in six races and gained over £24,000 in prize money.
Trained by Martin Keighley.
Following his retirement in 2011, he went to Jason and Helen who quickly realised that he had potential as a show horse. With low expectations, they schooled him up and amazingly by March that year he was out winning at local shows. His success grew from here and he went on to qualify for HOYS (Horse of The Year Show) and Hickstead. In 2012, he came back from a break a much stronger horse and again qualified for both at first attempts. Helen says Hickstead was a dream come true when he won a class of 28 horses and continued to go on and become overall champion winning the main RoR prize at the end of the year. In 2013, he won HOYS and has now won both RoR showing championships.
10. ASHKAZAR (Hunting) – Verity Murphy (Rider TBC)
10 b g by Sadler’s Wells.
In a career lasting seven years, he ran 36 times in a combination of Flat, hurdle and chase races. He won 10 of these and over £198,000 in prize money. He ran five times here at the Festival and in 2011 finished second in the Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle.
Trained by David Pipe.
About The Festival
The Festival runs from Tuesday, March 11 to Friday, March 14 inclusive and is the embodiment of everything that is great about Cheltenham. It is four days of atmosphere, anticipation and action, played out on a beautiful sporting arena that has no equal. The Festival features the best and the bravest horses and jockeys, nervous and excited trainers and owners, and a wide cast of human characters who come together every year determined to have the time of their lives. For racing’s practitioners, Festival glory provides lifelong memories that will never fade and defines careers. Witness the sheer elation of winning connections as they return to the cheers of the crowd and you are seeing dreams fulfilled and years of planning and effort coming to fruition. The Festival is one of those rare events that engages everyone who comes into contact with it, never failing to produce award-winning drama, enjoyment, camaraderie and sporting excellence in a cocktail for which no hangover cure is required. It truly is a life affirming four days.