A thoroughbred, bred by the Queen, won the Retraining of Racehorses (RoR) class at Hertfordshire county show during the Diamond Jubilee weekend (2 June).
Silver Sonnet was the first foal out of Bella Macrae, who was one of the Queen mother’s favourite race horses. However, the mare was sent to Doncaster sales as a two-year-old, where Cathy Beaumont snapped her up.
“She’s 16hh now, but Sonnet was tiny when I bought her, which is why I think the Queen decided to sell her,” Cathy told H&C. “I did things a bit back to front with her, as I showed her first and she didn’t race until she was five.”
Cathy put Sonnet into training with Ben Case, where she was placed a few times over hurdles. However, when she started to ‘bleed’ (where blood vessels in the lung burst) Cathy decided to retire her from racing and get the mare back into showing.
“I knew that the Queen’s groom, Joe Grimwade, was judging and I joked that if I was going to qualify, then I’d do it at Hertfordshire,” Cathy said. “But I really didn’t expect to win the class, as she’s a little madam. I am so pleased with her – it was a good class in the main ring, and she went really well.”
In winning the class, the pair has qualified for the show series championship at the Hickstead Derby meeting (20-24 June). Second placed Murat, ridden and owned by Zoey Bird, has also qualified.
“I’ve just put our Hickstead entry in,” Cathy added. “She’ll be alright in the outside ring, but if we get through to the main ring I’m not sure how she’ll go. She’s not a spooky horse, but she can tense up with the judges. But we’re working on that, so fingers crossed.”
There are a number of qualifying competitions held all around the UK, with the first two at each show going forward to the championship. The series is judged under riding horse class rules where the horse is ridden by the judge and given marks for the ride and then the conformation of the horse.