Former Burghley winner, Jane Holderness-Roddam, was one of the judges of the final SEIB Racehorse to Riding Horse qualifier of the 2023 season, which took place at the Defender Burghley Horse Trials on Sunday (3 September).

Thirteen thoroughbreds came forward to vie for the top placings and secure one of two final places at Horse of the Year Show, but it was French-bred Qulinton who took the premier position, ridden by Thea Geake and owned by her trainer father, Jonathan Geake.

“He went so well today, we don’t get many shows with that crown and clapping!” Thea said. “The ride judge rode him beautifully and he’s only been to a few shows this year. I’ve just started a new job as Racing and Business Support Executive for Juddmonte in Newmarket so I will be travelling home to Wiltshire every weekend between now and HOYS to ride him. My boyfriend, Nathan Brennan will keep him going in between! Huge thanks to SEIB for running this class.”

Joined on the day by ride judge, David Ingle, Jane commented on the worthy winner, who won nearly £100,000 during his days on the racecourse.

“Our winner was a lovely horse, everything you would want a riding horse to be, legs as clean as a whistle and light on his feet,” she said. “He had a happy attitude. These horses are a tribute to the care and attention they receive throughout their lives.”

Former flat jockey, Kelly Guillambert took second place with her five-year-old, George Square.

“He ran once for Danny Brooke – a trainer based in the Midlands – as a three-year-old and we saw him on Facebook during lockdown and I bought him from a video,” she said. “George took second place in the RoR Hickstead flat horse final in 2022 as a four-year-old and we went back and won it this year. We’ve also been eventing him and he recently took third place in his first BE100. I used to ride on the flat and had 150 winners, but I’m really enjoying doing this now.”

Ride Judge and Director of Showing at Hickstead, David said every horse in the competitive class was a credit to their owners and riders.

“It is no mean feat – it is an international arena for a reason!” he said. “Our winner had a touch of class about him and the second was lovely to ride. It was a delight to judge with Jane she is such an advocate for the horse and promoting good training.”

SEIB Insurance Brokers set up Racehorse to Riding Horse more than 15 years ago to celebrate ex-racehorses and give them a chance of success in a second career.

“What an honour it is for us to continue to return to Defender Burghley year after year,” added Marketing Manager at SEIB, Nicolina Mackenzie. “We are so grateful that we have been invited back once again. We are proud of the competitors for outstanding turnout and riding and their horses were extremely mannerly in the electric atmosphere in the main ring.”

The full results were as follows:

1st Qulinton owned by Jonathan Geake and ridden by Thea Geake

2nd George Square owned and ridden by Kelly Guillambert

3rd Blaze of Hearts owned and ridden by Alex Humphreys

4th Shift the Blame owned by Louisa Simpson and ridden by Jo Jack

5th Swift Encounter owned and ridden by Charlotte Morrison

6th African Jazz owned and ridden by Abi Sole

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