Norfolk owners pick up a Heart hat-trick

Retraining of Racehorses (RoR), the UK's official charity for rehoming and retraining ex-racehorses, has announced the winners of the Heart Awards.

Entries flooded in for recognition of some truly amazing ex-racehorses, now forging ahead in new careers, but it seems that Norfolk is a hotbed for successful ex-racers, as three Norfolk horses have scooped prizes.

The public voted for many of the awards, with the RoR Heart Throb Award being taken by the very attractive Bob Justice, owned by Helen Thurtle from Norwich.

Bob Justice started his racing career at four years old and ran 57 races, winning five, including a big win at Aintree.

Bob ended his professional racing career at 10 and began Point to Point racing until he was 14, when he joined Helen for a quieter life.

Helen says: 'In the last year I have been re-educating Bob to learn to 'chill' and take life more slowly. Bob is a real 'Heart Throb'; he is extremely handsome and has an amazing presence. He is very genuine and sincere, always giving 100pc in all that is asked of him.'

The RoR Healthy Heart Award was won by Something's Up, loaned by Alice Graham from Dereham, who was thrilled to receive her award.

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'I was absolutely over the moon to hear that Reggie had won the RoR award,' she said. 'It meant so much that people had taken the time to vote for us and I'd like to take the opportunity to thank them for their support. Also huge thanks to Sally Cross, his owner.'

In addition, 22-year-old family horse Solo Volumes from Norfolk was chosen by best selling novelist Jilly Cooper OBE to be the Overall Winner of the 2011 Heart Awards.

Solo Volumes, known as Charlie, captured Jilly's heart for his outstanding versatility and kindness.

She said: 'This has been one of the most inspiring, yet impossibly difficult competitions I have ever judged. Every horse entered would be a worthy winner.'

Charlie's owner Mel Yarham describes her chestnut thoroughbred as 'a rare combination of family horse and successful competition horse; he is a much loved member of the family. I have three ex-racehorses but he is 'Simply the Best.'

Mel's seven-year-old son Callum also rides Charlie, showing that this special horse really is a true gentleman, and both Mel and Callum travelled to Newmarket on Friday to receive their award from Jilly Cooper herself.

Di Arbuthnot, Director of Operations at the RoR, says: 'We are delighted with the response we received from owners of ex-racehorses and horse fans alike.

'It has been an incredibly rewarding experience to read every single nomination and each one is a worthy winner.

'We would like to thank every one who entered and voted for making it so much fun and throwing their hearts into these awards.'

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