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    Introducing Roger: The Czech Sensation Set to Conquer British Jump Racing
Introducing Roger: The Czech Sensation Set to Conquer British Jump Racing
Bohemian horse running through the dirt. Midjourney

Introducing Roger: The Czech Sensation Set to Conquer British Jump Racing

As Roger prepares to make his highly anticipated British debut at Stratford on Monday, his story unveils a fascinating journey of transformation and ambition. Narrated by Ross Millar himself, this tale sheds light on the remarkable evolution of a Czech horse poised to make waves in the world of British jump racing.

For over three decades, my mornings have been devoted to the routine task of tending to horses. Amidst the familiar rhythm of mucking out stables, my mind often wanders, indulging in contemplation and speculation. Recently, my musings have revolved around the untapped potential of harnessing the valuable weight allowances granted to four-year-olds in jump racing.

It struck me that there exists a prevalent misconception regarding the ability of horses transitioning from the flat to tackle fences. Yet, upon closer examination, it becomes evident that many successful National Hunt stallions boast a background in flat racing. Take, for instance, Tiger Roll, a celebrated Grand National champion with a flat racing pedigree.

Drawing from my experience in three-day eventing, where horses of diverse breeds excel in jumping disciplines, I conceived a plan to capitalize on this untapped potential. The key ingredients? Athleticism and a trainable mind. Armed with this philosophy, I embarked on a mission to acquire a promising three-year-old from the flat, intent on imparting the necessary skills for a successful transition to jump racing.

With meticulous attention to detail and a wealth of expertise gleaned from my equestrian background, I set about instilling in Roger a comprehensive understanding of the art of jumping. From mastering the mechanics of their bodies to cultivating a sharp intellect, every aspect of Roger's training was meticulously tailored to prepare him for the rigors of jump racing.

Now, as Roger prepares to embark on his British racing journey, fuelled by determination and skill, we stand poised to witness the culmination of months of dedication and preparation. With each stride, Roger epitomizes the potential for greatness that lies within every horse, irrespective of their background.

As the curtain rises on Roger's debut, we anticipate an exciting chapter in his burgeoning career—a testament to the power of ambition, perseverance, and the enduring bond between horse and rider.

Horse racing. Source: Midjourney
Horse racing. Midjourney

This Is How He Started

Roger's journey began unexpectedly, catching the discerning eye of Ross in the bustling paddock of Bratislava. Initially, Ross's plan revolved around procuring a promising prospect from the renowned Horses In Training sales in the UK or Ireland. However, setbacks and budget constraints prompted a recalibration of strategy.

Undeterred by adversity, Ross embarked on a daring detour, delving into uncharted territory to uncover hidden gems. Drawing upon his extensive experience training competition riders across Europe, particularly in the Czech Republic, Ross stumbled upon a revelation—a horse transitioning from racing to sport with remarkable potential.

Inspired by this serendipitous encounter, Ross embarked on a quest to unearth talent in unlikely places. With a keen eye and a discerning gaze, he scoured Czech racing circuits, seeking out individuals with both physical prowess and mental fortitude—a combination essential for success in the demanding world of jump racing.

And then, amidst the throngs of competitors, Roger emerged—a striking figure with an imposing presence and an undeniable allure. Despite modest performances in his early outings, Roger's undeniable potential shone through, capturing Ross's imagination with his commanding stride and unwavering determination.

With each stride, Roger's journey unfolds, a testament to the power of perseverance and the enduring bond between horse and rider. As he prepares to make his mark on the British racing scene, Roger stands as a testament to the unyielding spirit of determination and the boundless potential that lies within every unexpected discovery.

In my assessment, Roger's pedigree spoke volumes about his potential beyond the mile distance. His sire, Elvstroem, boasted remarkable versatility, triumphing in Group races spanning 7 furlongs to a mile and a half, with a notable fourth-place finish in the prestigious Melbourne Cup over 2 miles. This lineage suggested Roger's innate ability to excel over longer distances—a trait reinforced by the background of his dam, Pure Paradise.

Pure Paradise, hailing from Germany, may not have dazzled on the Flat, but her pedigree hinted at untapped potential. Her most promising performance came over extended distances, echoing the stamina and endurance inherent in her lineage. Moreover, her family tree boasted a lineage of 12-furlong performers, with her half-sister, Peggy, achieving notable success in French fences.

How He’s Going

With negotiations complete and Roman Vitek's invaluable assistance, Roger officially joined my ranks. Roman, a former Champion Trainer in the Czech Republic turned esteemed equine physiotherapist, facilitated the acquisition process, ensuring a smooth transition for Roger into his new home.

Under the expert care of Nikol Ecerova, an accomplished event rider and one of my esteemed clients, Roger found himself in capable hands. Nikol's yard, nestled just outside Prague, provided the perfect setting for Roger's development. During my bi-monthly coaching clinics, I assumed the role of Roger's primary trainer, guiding him through the intricacies of his training regimen.

Our approach was twofold—focusing on both physical conditioning and mental well-being. Through tailored dressage exercises, we honed Roger's balance and suppleness, laying the foundation for his future success on the track. Additionally, we incorporated pole work to refine his jumping technique, prioritizing precision and agility over sheer scope.

Yet, Roger's journey wasn't solely about physical development. Coming from a background marked by impatience and mistrust, Roger harboured reservations towards human interaction. Through patient and nurturing care, we endeavoured to cultivate his confidence and social demeanour, fostering a sense of trust and camaraderie between horse and handler.

Horse caring. Source: Midjourney
Horse caring. Midjourney

How Roger Prepared For His Debut

Roger's journey towards his debut at Stratford involved more than just physical training—it was a holistic approach aimed at ensuring his overall well-being and readiness for the challenges ahead. Under the expert care of Roman Vitek, Roger underwent a comprehensive health assessment, including regular physiotherapy sessions to address any muscular imbalances or discomfort. Additionally, his dental health received much-needed attention, with his teeth expertly remodelled to eliminate sharp edges—a common source of discomfort for horses during training and racing. With his feet attended to by the farrier, Roger was primed and ready for the next phase of his journey.

As Roger's story gained traction, a community of supporters rallied behind him, forming the All The Allowances Syndicate—a diverse group of individuals brought together by a shared passion for Roger's remarkable journey. From friends and acquaintances to newfound allies inspired by his story, the syndicate stood as a testament to Roger's enduring appeal and the power of collective support.

After completing his initial training stint under Nikol's guidance, Roger embarked on a transcontinental journey to join his new trainer, Richard Hobson, near the renowned racing hub of Cheltenham. The decision to entrust Roger's training to Richard was guided by a profound sense of admiration for his track record of success and commitment to the well-being of his equine charges. Richard's hands-on approach and genuine enthusiasm for Roger's unconventional path resonated deeply with Roger's team, setting the stage for a fruitful partnership.

Under Richard's care, Roger flourished, blossoming into a confident and charismatic athlete. Surrounded by a dedicated team at RH Bloodstock, including Richard, Shirley, Jess, and Harriet, Roger embraced his daily routine with gusto, relishing every opportunity to train and learn. With Shirley taking the reins for his daily rides and Richard guiding him over hurdles, Roger's progression was nothing short of remarkable.

The culmination of Roger's journey thus far is marked by Roman's poignant observation—a testament to the transformative power of love and respect in nurturing Roger's confidence and self-assurance. As the All The Allowances Syndicate prepares for their maiden voyage to Stratford, they do so with anticipation and excitement, buoyed by the shared belief that Roger's greatest triumphs are yet to come. Indeed, Roger's journey is a testament to the unwavering spirit of determination and camaraderie that defines the world of horse racing.

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