RACING: Former King duo will parade at Cheltenham
FORMER Barbury Castle stablemates Crystal D’Ainay and Blazing Bailey will be reunited in the Openign Day Parade at next week's Cheltenham Festival.
The duo, who were trained by Barbury Castle trainer Alan King, are both graduates of the charity Retraining of Racehorses (RoR) and will parade alongside superstars Kauto Star and Denman next Tuesday.
The parade is being held in recognition of their successful transition to a new career, as well as their record of success at the Festival.
Both raced at the Cheltenham Festival four times, Crystal D’Ainay finishing third in the World Hurdle in 2004 and racing 38 times over hurdles and fences in his career.
After retiring in 2011 Crystal D’Ainay was taken on by Charlotte Burke and now lives in Upper Lambourn, in Berkshire, the duo competing in team chases and hunter trials, the 15 year old winning numerous rosettes.
Burke said: “I was lucky enough to be given Crystal D'ainay three years ago from Tony and Jeni Fisher when he retired from racing at the age of 12.
“He has taken to his new life brilliantly and looks after me fantastically well. We hunt with the Vine & Craven, Hunter Trial and Team Chase with Blazing Bailey and Sarah. He hacks out daily and is a true gent, bomb proof. He is an absolute superstar, my pride and joy.”
Blazing Bailey ran 48 times on the flat, over hurdles and fences, winning 12 races and finishing third in both the Triumph Hurdle and the World Hurdle at Cheltenham.
In 2012, Blazing Bailey was taken on by Sarah Welford in Overtown Manor in Wiltshire and retrained to compete in hunter trials and team chases.
Welford said: “Blazing Bailey arrived with Alan King in 2006 and I looked after him and rode him from the day he arrived till the day he retired (in 2012).
"The owners 'Three Line Whip' very kindly gave him to me and Bailey has taken to his new relaxed lifestyle really well; hacking, hunting and team chasing as I thought he would knowing him so well. He is an absolute star and I love him to bits.”
Retraining of Racehorses is the British Horseracing’s official charity for the welfare of horses who have retired from racing and chief executive Di Arbuthnot said: “Everyone involved in horseracing shares a passion for horses. On the track they provide us with so much enjoyment and excitement and it is wonderful that through Retraining of Racehorses or otherwise, former racehorses can find a fulfilling second career.
"We have around 9,000 horses currently registered on our database as active in disciplines outside of racing, including polo, showing, dressage and eventing, as well as all those happily engaged in hacking and exercising.
"The Parade at Cheltenham is a celebration of not only previous Festival winners, but also of horses who have gone to achieve great success in other disciplines.''
MORE SPORTS NEWS & PICTURES IN THURSDAY'S GAZETTE & HERALD