OTTBs in the spotlight at NZ’s Royal Show

New Zealand’s Royal Show is hosting a championship event for thoroughbred show horses with an Australian judge tomorrow.

The class is a highlight of the show, hosted by Waikato A&P in Hamilton. The ‘Shaune Ritchie Thoroughbred Championship’ is being held on Saturday afternoon in the Hack Ring, with international judge Sally Watkins officiating.

Watkins has enjoyed an illustrious showing career, winning many of the most prestigious awards in the show ring in Australia. She is a professional horsewoman and operates a large agistment and spelling property called Willaroon, at Lurg, near Benalla in central Victoria.  Watkins has previously judged in New Zealand at the Horse of the Year Show.

Champion racehorse trainer Shaune Ritchie is currently in Melbourne with top mare Zurella who will be racing at Mooney Valley on Cox Plate Day this Saturday in the mares and fillies race.  Shaune’s wife, Alison, will be attending the NZ Royal Show in Hamilton on Saturday to present the winners sash and trophy for the Champion Thoroughbred Horse of the Show. Most fittingly, the lovely trophy donated by the Ritchies for this event has a distinct racing theme to it.

“Shaune and I are very pleased to be able to sponsor the Champion Thoroughbred Award at the New Zealand Royal Show and look forward to seeing this event continue in the years to come at the Waikato A&P Show,” Alison Ritchie said.

“We both feel strongly that thoroughbreds continue to have a career once they have finished racing and by sponsoring this event we hope that riders will be inspired to rehome thoroughbreds and continue on with them in the various equestrian disciplines.”

NZ Royal Show Chief Equestrian Steward Jocelyn Charleston said organisers were indebted to the Ritchies’ for their support of the Thoroughbred Championship.  “The wonderful prize money, trophy and sashes up for grabs in this event has caused a lot of interest in showing circles this season,” Charleston said.

Fifteen thoroughbreds will contest the championship.

The weather has been glorious the past few days in the Waikato, which has been ideal for the huge job of setting up the Claudlands Showgrounds in Hamilton in preparation for the show.

Waikato A&P Show – host of the New Zealand Royal Show 2012
Friday 26 – Sunday 28 October 2012: 9am – 4pm daily
Claudelands Events Centre – Hamilton;  
Events at the NZ Royal Show:
Friday – Led Horses & Ponies, Working Hunter Horses & Ponies and Round the Ring Jumping
Saturday – Novice Horses & Ponies, Rider events, The Shaune Ritchie Thoroughbred Championship, Paced & Mannered Horse of the Show
Sunday – Formal Equitation, Open Horses & Ponies, Supreme Champion Horse of the Show, Supreme Champion Pony of the Show

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