Three accomplished and versatile retrained former racehorses have been revealed as finalists for The Jockey Club Retraining of Racehorses (RoR) Horse of the Year 2022.

This year’s finalists were voted on by the public from a shortlist of 12 horses chosen from over 150 nominations received by RoR as contenders for the award. With nearly 3,000 votes received, the three horses that captured the highest number of public votes online were 15-year-old First Fandango, 19-year-old Pineau de Re and 16-year-old Skipper Robin.

First Fandango, ran 50 times in his nine-year racing career, primarily over hurdles with trainer Tim Vaughan, winning £69,000 in prize money. Following his retirement in May 2017 he started his retraining with Worcestershire based rider Hannah Chisman just two months later.

Over the past five years, First Fandango or ‘Fredstar’ as he is known at home has shown his incredible versatility in team chasing, hunting, dressage, and competed at affiliated British Showjumping and British Eventing competitions. He has also flourished in the show ring with success in the Tattersalls RoR Amateur Special Series at the RoR National Championship Show two years running, as well as being placed at the Horse of the Year show twice.

“First Fandango is my absolute world,” said Hannah Chisman. “He is part of the family has given me some of the best days of my life.”

The most successful racehorse and famous name of the trio of contenders is 2014 Aintree Grand National Champion Pineau de Re. Still jointly owned by his former trainer Dr Richard Newland and John Proval, ‘Pineau’ was retired in 2017 to a small competition yard just five miles up the road from his former racing yard in Worcestershire to retrain with Lizzie Brunt.

‘Pineau’ has since been competing up to British Eventing Novice, excelled in dressage at Novice level, as well as enjoyed showjumping, hunting, team chasing, and even carried the Baton for the late HM The
Queen’s Commonwealth Games.

“Pineau is the most incredible little horse that tries his hardest at anything he does,” said Lizzie Brunt. “He is so intelligent and agile I believe that if he wasn’t a Grand National winner he’d have made it to the top in any sphere!”

Also highlighting tremendous achievements for versatility and athleticism is finalist Skipper Robin who has been with Wiltshire based owner William Fox Grant since his retirement in 2012. Formerly in training with Nigel Twiston-Davies, his relatively short racing career has been superseded with an impressive second career in a range of disciplines.

‘Skipper’ has excelled in team chasing and in 2022 he has been the main lead horse for Fox Grant Dot Com Team Chasing helping to secure both the 2022 National Open title and 2022 National Open BTC league title. Over the past 10 years, Skipper has shown his unrivalled abilities to adapt to retrain in many new pursuits including successfully taking part in hunt rides, hunter trials, showing, dressage, arena eventing, hunt relays, hunting and affiliated showjumping.

“Skipper Robin is a real horse of a lifetime,” said William Fox Grant. “This stunning, kind, gentle and lovable horse has shown such amazing versatility and we have had so much fun in an amazing range of disciplines.”

The overall winner will be chosen by Clare Balding CBE and announced at the RoR Awards Ceremony on 21 January, 2023.

Di Arbuthnot, Chief Executive of Retraining of Racehorses (RoR), said of the finalists: “Each one of the finalists is a wonderful advert for the versatility of the thoroughbred and for RoR itself. These horses demonstrate the benefits of our work to promote the adaptability of former racehorses, whatever their ability on the racecourse, and to develop an infrastructure of classes and competitions in which they can thrive and go on to compete in open events.

“As ever, we are very excited about the RoR Awards, it is always an enjoyable and emotional evening and any of the three finalists would be a worthy winner of The Jockey Club RoR Horse of the Year 2022.”

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