THERE seems no end to the equine success story that re-training former racehorses has become.

The inaugural running of SOAR (Showcasing Our Amazing (Ex)Racehorses) Show, at Howe Equestrian Centre, was a huge success. Nearly 40 Thoroughbreds and a standard-bred came forward to contest almost 30 classes on the day. With the competition ranging from best turned out to a ‘ridden reprobates’ class, there was something for everyone.

Some of the classes were some of the busiest Scotland has seen for some time, with double figures in every class. The judges, Mrs Mary Sivewright and Angus McDonald, had a tough job sorting them all out.

The supreme championship went the way of the ultra consistent King Brex, with Hilary Mackie in the plate. Unbeaten all day and virtually unbeaten at shows all season, the 16-year-old bay gelding was a popular winner. Brex had won all five of his classes and four subsequent championships on his way to supreme glory.

Reserve was claimed by a horse who ran his 99th and last race at the end of April this year. Rossinni’s Dancer made his show debut a day to remember. Ross, as he is known at home, was looked after during racing by Amy McGregor, who took him home with her when he retired. The plan is to do bits and pieces of everything with him in time, though some more showing may now be on the agenda.

Another horse making her show ring debut, with first time horse owner, Aileen Rodger, was the grey mare, Rinnagree Rosie. This pair clinched the ‘Silver by nature’ championship – a championship solely for grey horses.

This was sponsored by Geoff Brown – who bred and owned the mud loving grey racehorse, Silver By Nature, which he tragically lost in a gallops accident. Tonto, as he was known, will always be remembered for his two wide margin wins in the mud at Haydock in a Grand National trial.

Therefore, it was fitting that a paternal half sister to Silver By Nature (both by Silver Patriarch) lifted the title. And, whilst Rinnagree Rosie didn’t set the racing world on fire, she has taken to her new life well and is off doing things most weeks with either Aileen or her niece Rebecca. On route to the Silver By Nature Championship Rinnagree Rosie picked up a host of other wins and places throughout the day including winning the huge newbie ridden class for horses out of training for less than two years and standing third in her first ever ROR qualifying class, earning her a ticket to the Aintree finals.

Reserve ‘Silver by nature’ was The Grey White Hope, with Richard Pumphrey on the end of the lead rein. Having travelled 4.5 hours down from the Highlands to support the show, his day was made more than worthwhile when the pair claimed both the in-hand and ridden unraced horse classes before that championship.

The lone standard-bred of the day was the 26-year-old Hayley’s Comet. After winning both the in-hand standard-bred class and the in-hand veteran class, Comet proved that age is just a number to finish third in the ‘Ridden reprobates’ class. Over the years, she and her owner, Jane Howard, have clocked up more than 3500km in endurance trials.

There were many other first timers in the showring, including the chestnut mare, Gracie Stansfield, which topped a huge H and C ridden class, much to her owner, Julia Craig’s delight. This classy filly looks to have a bright future ahead of her in the showring.