Au-Dela des Pistes’ Retrained Racehorse Day, held for the third consecutive year at Deauville-La Touques Racecourse on Saturday, August 25, delighted a large crowd that had come to see the various demonstrations and the Parade of Champions.
Mandore Agency’s Nicolas and Meryl de Watrigant, who sponsored the event said : "We’re delighted to be associated with the charity “Au Dela des Pistes” that ensures a second career for ex-racehorses. Our job is to advise owners and breeders about buying racehorses and we can now reassure them in view to their well-being when they retire from competition, which is a big concern often voiced by our clients. We are all horse lovers, and their well-being is of the biggest priority."
Several racing professionals were present around the parade ring during the Parade of Champions, including Freddy Head, who had come to see two of his old charges: SOLOW, a five-time Group 1 winner in the Wertheimer Brothers’ silks, and parading for the first time, MARCHAND D’OR. Owned by Mr and Mrs Giral, he notably won the Prix Maurice de Gheest in 2006, 2007 and 2008. These two exceptional horses were joined by CIRRUS DES AIGLES, still in the form of his life at 12 years old, as well as AFRICAN STORY and PRINCE BISHOP, both Dubai World Cup winners for Godolphin. They travelled especially from Newmarket for the third year running. These five horses between them won 20 Group 1s and more than €29 million in prize money.
Following the Parade, the public were then invited to meet the champions and all the horses that took part in the demonstrations. Accompanied by Au-Dela des Pistes, more than 80 people met the horses in their boxes, took selfies with their idols, and gained a better understanding of their retraining by talking to their riders.
Between the different races on the day, several retrained racehorses showed off their prowess in their new careers. VISON SPECIAL and Deborah Leroy gave a spectacular demonstration of “Extreme Cowboy Race”, a discipline combining manoeuvrability and overcoming surprising obstacles, for which beforehand, the delicate thoroughbred did not seem the most suitable breed.
VALLEE COLLINS, an 11-year-old gelding that did not reach the racecourse, went over a line of jumps of up to 1m10 on the racecourse. SHAROUN et ZARMITAN, two Aga Khan Studs homebreds, as well as being sons of the unforgettable racemares SHARETA and ZARKAVA, had been retired from training following injuries. Both were retrained with success in dressage and delighted spectators with their lightness and grace under Eugenie and Robert Danloux (Ecurie DH), including their former trainer Alain de Royer-Dupre.
The Horse-Ball demonstration drew lots of exclamations from the crowds, as the team from Haras de Bosherville, an accredited establishment by Au-Dela des Pistes and run by Gildas Mabilais, showed passes, picking up the ball from the ground and various technicalities of the game with five thoroughbreds, including KING RUNNER CASTEL, that was still running over fences less than a year ago!
Au-Dela des Pistes’ President Aliette Forien, commented on the day : "Once more, Au-Dela des Pistes has highlighted the love of the horse, the cement of the equestrian industry, beyond the sporting and economic objectives. Today, racing and equestrian sports professionals were united by their common passion for this animal that is so sensitive, so intelligent, and as Deborah Leroy said, only asks to learn and gives himself thoroughly to the rider who knows how to gain his confidence.“It is essential that racing professionals become aware of what their horses have to offer at the end of their competitive career, regardless of whether it has been successful or not, but also that riders in other equestrian disciplines discover the versatility of these horses that have such a big heart. “On behalf of the entire Au-Dela des Pistes team, I would like to thank France Galop, that helped us organise the day, our partner Mandore International Agency, as well as the riders and volunteers who made this event a tremendous success and a moment of shared emotions. Thoroughbreds deserve this second life, and they reward us a hundredfold! "
The next events organised by the association will be the sixth round of the Au-Dela des Pistes Trophy and the Show-Jumping Competition reserved for retrained racehorses on September 8 at Le Mans, as well as a Retrained Racehorse Day at Chantilly on September 15.
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