Farm Ireland

Saturday 16 December 2017

Making the leap from the track to the riding arena

AP McCoy
AP McCoy

Siobhán English

Legendary National Hunt jockey AP McCoy will be the guest of honour as he officiates as judge for the Racehorse to Riding Horse on Saturday afternoon along with trainer Willie McCreery.

Sponsored once again by Irish Thoroughbred Marketing the 2016 renewal has attracted such turf heroes as Imperial Commander, Mossbank and Forpadydeplaster, a winner in 2014 and 2015 under Joanne Quirke.

Always very popular with spectators, the aim of the class is to identify racehorses that make useful and suitable riding horses. The class was introduced to showcase how ex-racehorses can adapt to another discipline, once they hang up their racing plates. The class also gives spectators and fans an opportunity to see their racing heroes once again.

All the entries have been either bred or trained in Ireland and were trained by such men as Willie Mullins, Gordon Eilliot, Noel Meade and Michael Hourigan.

The class is also part of the public judging competition that runs every day at the show, where after examining the entrants, visitors get a chance to win €1,000 by submitting their own judging selections and see if they correspond with those of the judges. Entry forms and all public judging details will be made available on the day.

Meanwhile, an increase in entries to the show means that space will be at a premium and additional stabling has been made available at Leopardstown racecourse should the need arise.

A source in the RDS said: "It is good news for the industry that entries are increasing, with more investment in sport horses and ponies than we have seen in a number of years.

"This does however have a knock-on effect on stabling at the show and we would ask exhibitors to be mindful of competitions taking place later in the week and the stabling requirements for these. This isn't a new requirement and it is the basis on which the logistics of the show operates every year.

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"Because of the extra space needed this year, we have had to secure additional stabling areas away from the RDS as overflows, such as Leopardstown racecourse, which will be used when necessity demands.

"But we hope that people will be mindful of their fellow competitors and vacate the stabling area once their class has finished."

Indo Farming