EXCITEMENT is building ahead of the Treo Eile Christmas Pro-Celebrity Showjumping Fundraiser at the Emerald Equestrian Centre next Thursday, December 15th.

The event will showcase the very best of Ireland’s retrained racehorses who will compete on teams of four in a timed competition, starting at 6pm. A jockey will captain each team, with two professional riders alongside who will be riding a variety of former racehorses, many of whom have competed on Ireland’s racetracks for trainers such as Jessica Harrington and Joseph O’Brien. The fourth team member will be a talented young pony rider. All riders will jump a track of 15 fences with fastest completions winning the coveted Horse Racing Ireland Perpetual Trophy and a variety of gifts from class sponsor Connolly’s Red Mills.

The competition has attracted some of the racing industry’s brightest stars including Rachael Blackmore, Davy Russell and Patrick Mullins, while former champions Robbie Power and Nina Carberry will also be lining out for the big event under the bright lights of the Emerald Equestrian Centre near Johnstown Bridge in Co Kildare.

Professionals include international riders Patrick Whelan, Sarah Wardell and Gillian Beale King, all of whom are renowned for campaigning former racehorses successfully in other disciplines such as eventing or show jumping. Galway international show jumper Jessica Burke will walk the course with the squads.

Last year’s inaugural event fell to the all-female team headed by Katie Walsh who rode the Irish Grand National winner General Principle. The former Gordon Elliott pupil scored an impressively quick clear round and has been busy since with former groom Seanin Mahon excelling in the show ring. The highlight for the pair has been an emphatic victory in the Racehorse to Riding Horse class at the RDS in August.

Parade of Champions

Hosts for the annual event include Racing TV’s Kevin O’Ryan who commented: “This fundraiser is such a fun evening and includes the very best humans and equines from both the racing and sports horse industries. It highlights the adaptability of thoroughbreds and how well they can transition and compete in other disciplines. There are now lots more opportunities for retiring racehorses and the Treo Eile program encourages their participation.”

The event is preceded by the Moyglare Stud Parade of Champions where amongst others Tiger Roll, Al Boum Photo, Douvan and Hurricane Fly will headline and be shown to the public. The opportunity for a ‘selfie’ with the stars could also make some dreams come true, so be sure to book your tickets in advance at www.itsps.org/te.