Retired racehorse wins Horse of the Year Award

Que Sera, owned by Jo and Ben Hales, won the Retraining of Racehorses (RoR) Horse of the Year Award.

The honour, presented at the Jockey Club Rooms in Newmarket, commends former racehorses which have demonstrated versatility and adaptability in different equestrian disciplines.

Oxford Mail: Sandy Dudgeon presenting Jo Hales with the awardSandy Dudgeon presenting Jo Hales with the award (Image: RoR awards)

Launched in 2014 by RoR, British Horseracing’s main charity for retired racehorses, the Horse of the Year Award has rapidly become highly prized.

Jo and Ben Hales were presented the bronze trophy and awarded club admission and hospitality for the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival meeting in recognition of their efforts.

Jo Hales said: “Owning and retraining Que Sera has been a privilege.

“Beyond his remarkable versatility and gentle temperament, he’s a true family member.

“He graciously allows my children to climb aboard effortlessly, showcasing his sensitivity and willing attitude.”

David Catlow, RoR managing director, praised Que Sera’s success since retiring from racing.

He said: “The extraordinary success Que Sera has achieved since retiring from racing highlights the versatility of former racehorses and is a true testament to the exceptional aftercare Jo and Ben Hales have provided as part of the RoR community.”

Following Que Sera’s brief racing career, which consisted of seven jumps races from 2014 to 2016 and earnings of £3,438, he was adopted by Ms Hales, now nearly seven years ago.

Despite not being suited to racing, Que Sera has since demonstrated ability across various disciplines, including dressage, show jumping, and hunting.

The 14-year-old has a enjoyed success in dressage, winning the 2019 Novice Southern Championships in his third competition, the 2022 Elementary Championship at Aintree, and placing 2nd in the Medium League Championships.

His talents also extend to side-saddle, where he has emerged victorious in at least six disciplines.

Que Sera once suffered a life-threatening injury before Ms Hales, being a vet, managed to nurse him back to health and prepare him for competition.

He has not only brought Ms Hales personal success but has also raised funds for charity and taught children to ride.

In the future, Ms Hales hopes to keep advancing him up the dressage ranks and maintain success in varied equestrian sports.

The RoR Awards function as the charity’s main promotional event, showcasing aftercare and displaying the versatility of the thoroughbred.

More than 150 people from the racing and equestrian communities attended to acknowledge the notable accomplishments of ex-racehorses in their new careers.

Richard Phillips and Ashleigh Wicheard hosted the awards, sharing stories of the winners.

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