A former jockey and racehorse will be turning their focus to the sport of eventing at the St James’s Place Barbury International Horse Trials next week.
Ex-professional jockey Kelly Harrison, who regularly rode for established trainers such as William Haggas before retiring in 2013, will be competing on her own Daredevil Boy, a former racehorse in the Retraining of Racehorse (RoR) Championship.
Daredevil Boy, a son of the National Hunt sire Beneficial, failed to make an impression in his two starts as a racehorse. The only notable aspect of his short-lived racing career being that he finished behind a horse named Medinas – subsequent winner of the 2013 Coral Cup at the Cheltenham Festival. However, Daredevil Boy has found a new calling competing at eventing and in doing so he has helped his owner ‘fill the void of not race-riding’.
Kelly Harrison said: “I got Daredevil Boy from Jo Hughes in Lambourn three and a half years ago. He really helped me with retiring from being a jockey, as I wanted to continue competing at something, so focusing on re-training and competing him helped fill the void of not race-riding.”
Next Friday Kelly and Daredevil Boy will be lining up against 16 other former racehorses and riders with the top 10 finishers returning on Sunday to showjump for the RoR Eventing Championship. With a total of £6,000 available in prize money, generously sponsored by the National Trainers’ Federation (NTF), the RoR competition is hot with Kristina Cook, who has been named on Team GB’s long list for Rio, holding an entry riding Watergate as well world class British squad member Harry Meade with Sparky’s Reflection.
Kelly said: “He (Daredevil Boy) has taken a bit of time to adapt to his role as an event horse, as initially he had to learn to settle but he always showed promise, particularly in the cross-country phase. This season he has felt great and I have had my eye on the RoR class at Barbury for a while and I feel he is now ready. I have never been to Barbury before, I hear it’s stunning and it’s really exciting to be competing at such a high profile event.”
Over 1,000 horse and rider combinations will take part at next week’s Barbury International Horse Trials, which are also an important pre-cursor ahead of the 2016 Olympics. A new addition this year is the third leg of the Event Rider Masters (ERM). The inaugural ERM is an exciting sporting series, showcasing the world’s best ‘Event’ riders with a total of £350,000 in prize money on offer with each leg promising a minimum of £50,000.
Tickets for the Barbury International Horse Trials start from £12 per person per day booked in advance. Children under 12 years go free. For information and tickets visit barburyhorsetrials.co.uk or call 01672 516125 @Barburycastle #BeautifulBarbury
Photography credit: Richard Weller-Poley.