Jumps maiden Wild West reigns supreme at ROR championships
Wild West, who never raced for Aidan O'Brien and never won for Jonjo O'Neill, breached a new frontier as a retired racehorse on Sunday when he was crowned supreme champion at the Retraining of Racehorses national championships.
The nine-year-old, ridden side-saddle by Lizzie Harris, landed the ROA and Goffs UK-sponsored title after six days of competition at Aintree, which concluded with Sunday's gala awards ceremony during which it was announced that 2016 RoR Horse of the Year Monet's Garden has been retired from showing.
Wild West is a son of Galileo who was initially in training at Ballydoyle before moving to O'Neill, where he raced in the ownership of JP McManus but retired after seven starts.
Wild West was taken on by Leicestershire-based Harris, a point-to-point trainer and former amateur jockey, and together they have been hunting, team chasing and eventing, with the pair enjoying particular success in the showing ring.
They took the title from reserve champion Singing Hinnie, a six-year-old mare ridden by Katie Jerram Hunnable, who had earlier won the Jockey Club Novice Show Horse Championship.
Despite the absence of Monet’s Garden from the competition there were successes for two other greys as Grade 1-winning chaser Grands Crus, ridden by Julie Reynolds, won a competitive class in the amateur ridden show horse series, and Sophie Staveley’s Mighty Yar, formerly trained by Lady Cecil and competing at his first national championships, won two classes and was reserve champion in the Novice Show Horse Championship.
Expanded this year to incorporate the RoR National Dressage Championships, 290 horses competed across the six days of competition in the Aintree International Equestrian Centre.
RoR chief executive Di Arbuthnot said: “It’s been a wonderful week and the standard throughout has been very high. All the judges I spoke to commented on the improvement they are seeing from both horses and riders year-on-year."
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