A challenge to keep young-at-heart Arthur on the straight and narrow
Brightening your day with turf tales from beyond the track
Many happy returns to Cumbrian Challenge, aka Albert, who recently celebrated his 28th birthday.
The gelding, who won 22 of his 101 starts, is still loving life, going for occasional hacks and keeping his, er, 'cheeky' personality.
"He's never changed," says Andrea Fisher, who saddled Cumbrian Challenge in a number of point-to-points after he retired from racing under rules. "He's a workaholic, and he's aptly named – he was a challenge while in training because he kept getting bored, first of Flat racing, then hurdles, then chasing!
"I've also never known a horse cost me so much in rugs! He just tore them all!"
Albert, who was trained by Mick and Tim Easterby for Jennifer Pallister, has turned his hoof to a number of disciplines since his racing days, including team chasing and show jumping – also finishing tenth in a national cross-country championship with his current owner Clare Raine, who bought him in 2003.
"I took him to the Retraining of Racehorses parade at Aintree in 2012, but he was quite naughty," says Clare. "The crowd thought he was great, but I'm not sure the organisers did!"
If we're all still bucking and kicking at Albert's (equine) age, we'll be doing well!
Once cheese and chalk, now equals
Monet’s Garden and Beware Chalk Pit did not have much in common while they were racing. One was very good, well known and extremely popular, the other not so much.
But they have gained a commonality in life after racing, with former Jonathan Geake-trained chaser Beware Chalk Pit named Retraining of Racehorses’ Supreme Champion last year, and the ex-Nicky Richards-trained grey Monet’s Garden receiving the veterans’ award before going on to Horse of the Year glory.
RoR, Britain’s charity for the welfare of retired racehorses, has received some good news itself this week with the announcement of a new partnership involving the Racehorse Owners Association and Goffs UK.
From this year, RoR’s prestigious annual show at the Aintree Equestrian Centre - due to take place on August 26-27 - will be known as the ‘ROA and Goffs UK National Showing Championships’.
More than 40 classes take place over the two days, with champions crowned in a range of showing events. The inaugural Supreme Champion in 2015 was Jack The Giant, ridden by Allister Hood, but last year they were foiled in their quest to retain the title by Beware Chalk Pit and Rebecca Court.
RoR chief executive Di Arbuthnot says: “It’s wonderful news to be partnering with the ROA and Goffs UK for the National Showing Championships.
“Thanks to the hard work of the teams at Aintree and RoR, the event has established itself in just two years and it warrants the additional promotion that this valuable support from the ROA and Goffs UK will enable.”
Landmark date for pointing community
The annual Point-to-Point Awards dinner will celebrate its 50th anniversary on Saturday, November 11.
A popular evening among the sporting fraternity, it will again be hosted at the Belfry Hotel and Resort near Birmingham. ITV Racing presenter and winning point-to-point trainer Luke Harvey will host the occasion, which includes a champagne reception and three-course dinner.
The inaugural awards ceremony was held in 1967 in London. The first winners of the The Daily Telegraph and Sporting Life Cups, given to the leading male and female riders – and now sponsored by Fuller’s Brewery – were David Tatlow (24 wins) and Pat Hinch (11 wins).
Clare Hazell, chief executive of the PPA says: “We're looking forward to what promises to be another wonderful evening. The impressive venue is ideally placed and will ensure people from across the sport can come together to celebrate the achievements of another successful season.”
Still water still popular
One art-loving racing fan could soon be enjoying a little bit of Ascot at home. Christies is offering a sculpture of Nic Fiddian-Green's 'Still Water' sculpture, as seen at the Berkshire track, Goodwood racecourse and Marble Arch in London – although with a guide price of £150,000-£250,000, they may need an acca or two to come in next week.
The auction, celebrating modern British and Irish art, will take place at Christies on King Street, Monday, June 26. Also on offer is a stunning life-size bronze horse created by the late Dame Elisabeth Frink (guide price £700,000-£1,000,000). Both are currently available for viewing.
Big boost to Allan Mackay fund
Watch out Tattersalls – there's a new auctioneer in town. The Racing Post’s David Milnes offered a signed Newmarket Monopoly set on Twitter to raise money for former jockey Allan Mackay, who was recently paralysed in a fall. The winning bid of £5,000 was made by Sheikh Fahad Al Thani, represented above by David Redvers (right) – who also contributed £1,000 to the fund.