Ex-racehorses get prime spot at Burghley

Sister Gee and Jill Wormall.
Sister Gee and Jill Wormall, winners of the South Essex Insurance Brokers Racehorse to Riding Horse Championship final at Burghley. © SMR Photos

The world-famous Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials hosted the final qualifier for the season’s South Essex Insurance Brokers Racehorse to Riding Horse Championship, the first time the event has had such a prime-time slot. 

The entries for the Sunday competition were of an exceptionally high standard, with 20 horses coming forward for judging in front of a packed crowd.  Taking first place was Jill Wormall’s Sister GeeStevey’s Lad, owned by Philip Kirby and Samantha Osborne also qualified for The Horse of the Year Show finals, to be held at the NEC Birmingham in October.  Class sponsors, SEIB and the team at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials have worked hard together to facilitate the staging of this qualifier in the main ring.

Ride judges were Matthew Lawrence and Sara Leatherbarrow, and David Walters judged conformation.  They were all impressed with the standard of entries and the behaviour of the horses in the electric atmosphere of the main arena at Burghley.

Sister Gee won the qualifier in fine style. The 10 year old bay mare by Desert Story out of a Saint Estephe mare was in training with Reg Hollinshead until just over a year ago, she was the last horse Reg bought at the sales.  Owner and rider, Jill Wormall said, “she has won at several county shows this year, including Staffordshire, Shropshire and Newark and Notts.  When she was in training she used to be ridden by anyone and everyone so she is very relaxed for the judges to ride.  She has definitely won more showing than she did racing”.

Sister Gee was placed several times on the flat during her racing career.  Jill has had great success in both showing and racing, she has won three times before at HOYS and ridden 45 racing winners.

Taking runner up spot was, Stevey’s Lad, a nine year old chestnut gelding by Rainwatch out of a Roselier mare.  He is part owned by his ex-trainer, Philip Kirby, and ran 12 times over hurdles and fences, finishing third once. Stevey’s Lad was in training until April this year when Samantha Osborne, who rides out for Philip, took him on to take part in some showing classes.

Samantha said “we went to several local shows and he won every time.  I then took him to the Racehorse to Riding Horse qualifier at Vale View last month, he was pulled in second but then was just a bit green with the ride judge and finished down the line.  We have been practising hard since then and have had wins at Ponies UK and Borrowby in the meantime.  He has been just brilliant today.”

Samantha is looking forward to a busy time at HOYS, she has also qualified Kirsty Harris’ horse, Time Out, in the Hack and Large Intermediate Show Riding Type classes.

Nicolina Mackenzie, Marketing Manager at SEIB said “I am thrilled at how well the qualifier went.  The horses were beautifully behaved with all the razzmatazz of the main ring and what a thrill for the riders to compete in this wonderful setting.  The team at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials have worked so hard toward making this move from ring two to the main arena such a success.  We have some very high quality horses qualified for the 2012 HOYS Championship”.

This year has seen some significant changes in the SEIB Racehorse to Riding Horse Championship as the HOYS Champion will for the first time this year go forward for the HOYS Supreme Horse Championship.

The SEIB Racehorse to Riding Horse Show Championship qualifiers are open to any owner, rider and producer.  The Racehorse to Riding Horse Show Championship, which is supported by the charity, Retraining of Racehorses, was initiated by South Essex Insurance Brokers (SEIB) to help ex racehorses when they come out of training and help to recognise their abilities in the show ring.  Horses need to have been in training with a recognised trainer and have raced to be eligible for these classes, which provide an opportunity to qualify for the prestigious HOYS finals.

The finals will be held at the Horse Of The Year Show, October 3-7, 2012, at NEC, Birmingham.  The winner of the Championship will go forward to the Supreme Horse of the Year judging on Sunday evening at HOYS for the first time this year.



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