You might be surprised to see a thoroughbred racehorse nominated as a hero horse, but Dark Shift made history earlier this month when he won the first War Horse Memorial Stakes, at Ascot, ridden by champion jockey Ryan Moore. As you can see he proudly wears a knitted purple poppy on his bridle to support our fund to raise money for horse charities and animal sanctuaries. He’s not the only racehorse to win glory, and a place in our hall of fame … Warrior was arguably the most revered and the most famous of all the Allied horses that went to war in 1914. There he survived unimaginable disasters, was active in many famous battles, and on returning to his native Isle of Wight in 1918 he lived on until the grand old age of 33, even winning point-to-point years to the day that he had led the charge at Moreuil Wood, on the banks of the Arve River, in France.
Dark Shift has been nominated by Jacqui Greet, Corporate Social Responsibility Manager at the famous racecourse, who tells us she wanted to recognise him for blazing a trail for us on the eve of the September Racing Weekend, and also because of the association Ascot Racecourse has with Poppy our War Horse Memorial. She explains: “We were delighted to gift a section of Car Park 1 to become an Area of Reflection for the memorial, to explain the service and sacrifice of horses, mules and donkeys in WW1. British Racing has just completed its first National Racehorse Week, with members of the public all around the country coming to yards to see how racehorses are looked after and trained. Most racehorses are rehoused after their racing career, whether in happy retirement or going on to other equine disciplines, through organisations such as Retraining of Racehorses, as part of British racing’s ongoing commitment to the welfare of the animals we love.”
Dark Shift was foaled on April 1, 2018. He was bred by the Niarchos family and is trained by Charlie Hills at Lambourne where the team do a great job of looking after him. His sire was called Dark Angel and the dam is Mosuo and he was her first foal. His grandma, Light Shift, won the 2007 Epsom Oaks, and he showed his pedigree when he won on his first trip out, at Ascot last year.
Tracey White, whose dad, Rick Frost owns the handsome three year old colt, tells us he was bought as a yearling at the Tatterstall sales. Rick says; “When he is in training he like to lead, but when he is racing the jockey usually holds him up and gives him cover. He often trains on his own as he is quite head strong and very keen to please. He is looked after in the yard by Reg, he has a lovely temperament.”