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Pete's retired - again - but he still takes the top prize

L to R: Clare Balding (RoR Patron), Rebecca Court (rider), Justine Armstrong-Small (who retrained Pete), Mrs Anne Leftley (owner) with Andrew Merriam (Chairman of Jockey Club Estates) presenting the award. (Photo from RoR website by Dan Abraham - focusonracing.com)L to R: Clare Balding (RoR Patron), Rebecca Court (rider), Justine Armstrong-Small (who retrained Pete), Mrs Anne Leftley (owner) with Andrew Merriam (Chairman of Jockey Club Estates) presenting the award. (Photo from RoR website by Dan Abraham - focusonracing.com)Former successful racehorse, Beware Chalk Pit - known to most as Pit or Pete and to some as Perfect Pete - has won the Retraining of Racehorses (RoR) 2017 Horse of the Year award at a presentation ceremony at the Jockey Club Rooms in Newmarket.   There to accept the award was the 13 year-old gelding's owner, Marlborough resident Mrs Anne Leftley. 


After a seven-year racing career, Pete retired, retrained and, with his widely admired temperament, won his way to the top of the showing world.  Now he has retired from his second career and is back with Jonathan Geake who trained him for Mrs Leftley at his East Kennett yard.

Since his retirement from the track in 2015, Beware Chalk Pit quickly took to the show ring, competing and enjoying success at venues beyond the wildest dreams of his amateur rider, Rebecca Court, who works full-time as an Art Tutor at Birmingham University:

“Beware Chalk Pit and I have achieved so many things together - ‘first time’ experiences for both of us. Before Pete I had never driven a horsebox, never ridden in the main ring at Hickstead, never won a series final – of any sort, never ridden in a Supreme Championship – let alone won one!"

"Never qualified for Horse of the Year Show, never beaten a professional rider and certainly never ridden at Cheltenham – what a once in a lifetime experience that parade at the Festival was! Together we have done all those things and more. This special horse owes me nothing, I owe him everything. He is my horse of a lifetime.”

The judges - Sir Anthony McCoy, ITV Racing's Luke Harvey and RoR Chief Executive, Di Arbuthnot - all agreed Beware Chalk Pit should win the 2017 RoR Horse of the Year Award, sponsored by The Jockey Club.

During his three-year-career in the show ring, Beware Chalk Pit’s RoR successes included 2016 Hickstead Champion and Supreme Champion at the RoR National Championships. This year Beware Chalk Pit has won eleven times. He and Rebecca Court rounded off their season with victory at the Horse of the Year Show being crowned Racehorse to Riding Horse Champion.

The RoR awards celebrate the versatility and adaptability of former racehorses with trophies and total prize money of over £17,000 going to the year’s elite champions in dressage, endurance, eventing, polo, showing, showjumping and hunting.

Mrs Leftley's visit to Newmarket with Jonathan Geake and his wife, was, she told marlboroughequestrian.news, a delight.  But in the racing game it is not often all good news - and this news is about the horse currently featured in our Profile spot. 

Her racehorse Fidelity, trained by Jonathan Geake, has injured a tendon and will be out for the rest of the season.  The five year-old came away lame from a handicap hurdle at Taunton on November 30.

Mrs Leftley's hopes for the season now rest with her eight year-old gelding Micquus who started on the flat with Andrew Balding before moving to East Kennett to go hurdling.  A year ago he was placed at Fontwell and his only run this year was in a handicap chase at Fontwell in March when he came in fourth of the six runners.

For the full list of Beware Chalk Pit's post-racing achievements go to the Armstrong-Small website.


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