When Cool Bob won his first race at the 57th time of asking at Ludlow in October 2015 he was duly retired from racing by his owner/trainers Matt and Nicky Sheppard.
Their son Stan Sheppard was on board the then 12-year-old, having ridden him in each of his previous 20 starts when he was rarely out of the frame but that all essential win proved so elusive!
A yard favourite, who had lived at the Sheppard’s yard in Herefordshire yard for six years, he was duly advertised on a racehorse rehoming Facebook page with warnings that he boxed walked, sweated up in the lorry and had proved to strong when hunting with the Ledbury.
But undeterred, Alexandra Hawkes from North Bratton Stud near Taunton, decided to acquire him and two weeks later they were out hunting with the Taunton Vale Foxhounds.
This has proved his absolute forte and he is nothing short of brilliant. “He hunts twice a week and when it’s a hunting morning, he’s out of his stable heading towards the lorry with half a bridle on. He always stands stock still at the meet and although he is very keen, he is very good, jumping all the hedges and fences,” said Alexandra.
That fact comes as no surprise given that in 57 races, he unseated his jockey just three times, fell only once in a beginners’ chase in Limerick in 2008, and pulling up four times.
He also dabbles at dressage, which he finds boring, and his idea of showjumping is to knock the poles to the ground, unless it’s a gate which reminds him of hunting, so he will jump it beautifully.
Cool Bob is also something of a coach and mentor at the busy stud where he lives, keeping the colts and stallions in check, and leading a three-year-old and a point-to-pointer, one on either side, around the lanes when he behaves beautifully.
Alexandra is a huge supporter of Retraining of Racehorses and next year hopes to take four horses to the ROR National Championship Show at Aintree including Cool Bob.