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Monet’s Garden (pictured), the 19-year-old Aintree favourite and 2016 winner of Retraining of Racehorses’ (RoR) Horse of the Year, heads the line-up for the RoR Parade at the Randox Health Grand National Festival.
The parade also features fellow Grade One winners Denman, Cinders And Ashes and Peddlers Cross, as well as the popular and now reformed character, Mad Moose.
The RoR Parade, generously sponsored by the Peter O’Sullevan Trust, has a new slot this year, taking place before racing on the second day of the Randox Health Grand National Festival, Ladies Day, Friday 7th April at around 12.40pm in the parade ring.
The diverse 10-horse line-up includes four Grade One winners and several Aintree regulars. Each of the 10 horses has found a fulfilling second career after retiring from racing, whether it be showing, dressage, showjumping, eventing, hunting or team chasing.
The winner of five races at Aintree, Monet’s Garden has excelled in his second career in the show-ring. Ridden by Joey Richards, daughter of his former trainer Nicky, the pair have enjoyed great success, including victory at the RoR National Championship Show at Aintree last year when they were crowned RoR Ridden Veteran Champion.
The grey horse was subsequently awarded the prestigious title of RoR Horse of The Year at the 2016 RoR Awards in December. Following their successes last year, Joey has since given birth to a daughter, Lily, and the Aintree parade will be her first first public appearance on Monet’s Garden this year.
Joey Richards said of Monet’s Garden: “He’s 19 now but you’d think he was a five-year-old, he’s never changed, he’s never aged. He’s always been a real showman, even throughout his racing career, and that’s why I thought showing would suit him.
“I was five months pregnant when we won the class at Aintree and so he was carrying two passengers that day. He’s amazing, the horse of a lifetime. He would have done any job, he’s very talented and he’s got that enthusiasm to want to be the best in whatever he does.”
Another horse in the parade who built up a following during his racing career was Mad Moose, albeit for rather different reasons.
The talented former Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained gelding became renowned for refusing to start. However, as yet, there have been no such problems in his second career and the 13-year-old was the epitome of obedience for rider Sophie Burkin when the pair won a dressage class on their first outing this year.
The other former RoR Horse of the Year in the line-up is Jo Mason’s Liverpool, who won the award in 2015 on account of his sheer versatility and the role he played in helping Jo recover from a serious injury.
Di Arbuthnot, Chief Executive of RoR, said: “Both Monet’s Garden and Liverpool have been such fantastic ambassadors for the charity by promoting the versatility of the racehorse, so it’s great to have two winners of the RoR Horse of the Year title in the parade.
“Aintree and the team are wonderful supporters of RoR. Not only do they do a great job staging the RoR Parade, but they also host the RoR National Championship Show in August in the Equestrian Centre, an event which is growing each year.
“We would also like to thank the Peter O’Sullevan Trust for their most generous sponsorship of the parades. Sir Peter’s voice will forever be associated with the Grand National so it is great to maintain his connection with Aintree and he was a fervent supporter of horse welfare and would have enjoyed seeing these horses parade.”
The parade is due to take place at 12.40pm, on Friday 7th April.
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Sarah Elsley is a freelance editor and proofreader who is the Junior News Editor for Eclipse magazine. She has a degree in English Literature and is a keen horse rider with an interest in fashion at the races and fiction writing.