Former racehorses' success celebrated in Grand National parade

Retired racehorses which have been retrained in new disciplines will take part in the parade at Ayr Racecourse.

Former racehorses will be celebrated as part of the Scottish Grand National on Saturday.

A parade will be held showing the versatility of the animals which have been retrained in new equestrian disciplines, all of which have a connection with Ayr Racecourse.

Among the former racing thoroughbreds that have gone on to find success after retirement is Scorpion.

He ran his final race in 2018 before being retrained as a show jumping horse, and has now found a new home with Jess Elliott in Perthshire.

She told STV News: “Since I’ve had him we’ve really just been having fun, just getting to know each other and taking it easy over winter.

“I’ve done quite a few show jumping competitions which have been great. We had him out at a show jumping show and he won and he was a good boy.

Jess Elliott has owned Scorpion since the winter.

“But this year I would love to focus on some showing with him and do the ex-racehorse classes.”

Taking part in the parade this year is Doc, who had just started his re-education journey.

His owner Libby Ker-Ramsay said it was difficult, but the right decision to make.

She said: “We decided last year in September that it was time for him to have a new life and we felt the responsibility as the owners and the breeders that he should come back and be a part of our family again.

“He came back here in September and I just turned him out and let him chill out, get rid of the racing brain and just relax.

“I only brought him back into work in the middle of February. So he’s just been learning to be in an indoor arena, in a different environment with different things.

Doc and Libby Ker-Ramsay will be taking part in the Retrained Racehorse Parade at the Scottish Grand National

Every year thousands of thoroughbreds leave the racing industry for various reasons.

Some will be kept to breed the next generation of racehorses, but the vast majority are rehomed and retrained.

Eleanor Warren from Retraining of Racehorses Scotland works to make sure horses are matched with suitable riders.

“There’s quite a lot of good retraining facilities and people who take them on to retrain them,” she said.

“They’ll take them on and see what they’re like, see what their future career might be and find them the best home they can find them.

“Because they’re so athletic and because they’re so versatile, a lot more competition horses are coming from the thoroughbred industry and it’s brilliant.

“They’ve always had a value and until now they’re been very undervalued.”

The Retrained Racehorse Parade will take place at Ayr Racecourse at 12.15pm on Saturday April 22.

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