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Gold Cup winner secures ticket to top class at HOYS in first showing season

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Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Native River to compete in SEIB Search for a Star with amateur rider Emma Vane

At his first attempt, ex-racehorse and winner of the 2018 Cheltenham Gold Cup Native River has qualified for the SEIB Insurance Brokers Search for a Star to be held at the Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) at the NEC, Birmingham, in October.

In the qualifier class, held at Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire, and judged by Nicki Taylor and Samantha DeCaprio, on 27 May, Native River and his rider, Emma Vane, were runner-up to another ex-racehorse, Polydamos, ridden by Katy Llewellyn. It was enough, however, to win them the ticket for the final at HOYS.

Both Native River (who is owned by bloodstock agent and former jockey Tom Malone and Anne and Garth Broome) and Emma are new to the world of showing, so their success in their first full season is particularly impressive. The pair also came fifth in the Racehorse to Riding Horse class at Stoneleigh held later in the day.

The 14-year-old gelding, who won more than £1 million in prize money in his racing days, was trained by Somerset-based Colin Tizzard and often paired with champion jockey Richard Johnson. On retiring, he moved to Tom Malone’s Devon yard, where Emma, who is an amateur rider usually competing in showjumping, works.

Emma said: “It was always the plan for Native River to go into showing when he retired from racing. He is a natural at it. He has an amazing temperament and since his retirement from the racetrack has done everything from opening a jewellery shop in Bond Street to taking his owners’ daughter to her school prom. He is an absolute gentleman and I’m delighted I get to ride him every day.”

The first SEIB Search for a Star class took place in 1996 and its aim is to provide opportunities for amateur riders to compete at HOYS, many of whom go on to compete successfully in open classes.

For more information on Search for a Star, visit seib.co.uk/competitions

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