Peckham's Pluto pips rivals for Newmarket hacks prize
There was equine entertainment of a different kind before racing at the July course on Saturday as the parade ring played host to the Newmarket Hacks Class.
The show, for thoroughbred and non-thoroughbred hacks from the yards of Newmarket trainers, featured 19 horses, including Dubai World Cup winners African Story and Prince Bishop, and the 2004 Gold Cup winner Papineau.
However, in a hotly contested affair the thoroughbreds were unable to match up to the overall winner Pluto, a bay Irish sport horse who was ridden by Holly Hall for trainer George Peckham.
"I'm very proud to have partnered Pluto in today’s class, let alone win," said Hall.
"As he's George’s horse, I don’t actually ride him very much – I sat on him on Friday for the first time. I work for George part-time, riding out, so it's a bit of a change to be riding Pluto instead of one of the thoroughbreds.
"Pluto can be a bit of a baby, nine times out of ten he'll spook first, scaring the rest of the string. However, he was very well behaved today considering he can be a bit spooky. He's a very important part of the team and we're so pleased he was overall champion."
Tattersalls chairman Edmond Mahony was on hand to judge the class and spoke of his pleasure at seeing so many familiar names enjoying their retirement.
"It's great to see these horses having a life after racing," he said. "It's quite a confined space to judge that many horses but it was a good test because it's quite atmospheric in the parade ring, so, with a trainer's hack, you're looking for them to be mannerly, to be able to stand.
"The winner Pluto is a lovely-looking horse with great movement and a fantastic temperament. He stood there like a rock and was obviously the outstanding horse in the show."
The Conrad Allen-trained Storming Ambition was named the winner of the thoroughbred set of the class, while Papineau picked up the prize for best turned out.