Fantastic display at Moorcroft

Retired racehorse Technophobe catches a glimpse of himself in the training mirror in the outdoor arena''Picture Julie Badrick
Retired racehorse Technophobe catches a glimpse of himself in the training mirror in the outdoor arena''Picture Julie Badrick
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A RECENT demonstration day at Moorcroft Racehorse Welfare Centre at Huntingrove Stud, Slinfold, attracted almost 200 people from as far afield as Worcester, Cambridgeshire and Somerset, to see the outstanding work being done at the centre to give former racehorses a life after racing.

Blowing Wind, an 18-year-old horse which competed in the Grand National three times before retirement, was an inspiration to the audience. He had nine wins to his credit in National Hunt racing when trained by Martin Pipe and finished third twice and eighth in the Grand National from 2001/3. On his fourth appearance in 2004, he refused at the sixth fence, Bechers Brook. He showed the audience that he is happy and comfortable in his retraining work, walking, trotting and cantering.

All the horses which took part in the display are currently in training at Moorcroft under supervision of yard manager Mary Henley-Smith, in different stages of their re-homing programme, with some ready for a new home now.

They included Technophobe, a five-year-old gelding previously trained by William Knight at Angmering Park. He was retired following a tendon injury. Others were Una Aurora Borealis, a six-year-old mare, previously trained in Suffolk by S W James with 18 runs including one place to her credit; unraced Moonhammer II and Hello You, a star for trainer Alex Hayes, having won twice and been placed twice from nine starts before being retired from the track.

Mary said: “I could not be more pleased at how well they behaved and worked, which I think is a sign of how comfortable and confident they are now. They did not flip at the tannoy or the audience in their normally quiet home. I could not be more proud of how well my girls rode. They are all here for the horses and training, for the girls get help regularly and their riding showed that.”

Regular demonstrations like this take place at the centre, and the next big one is planned for spring 2012, so that people can see and understand the vital part the West Sussex centre plays in giving ex-racehoses a future outside racing.

For the full feature and more stunning photographs by Julie Badrick, see Sussex Horse World, West Sussex Gazette, July 6