Dawn Wilkins reports from the ROR National Championship show at Aintree over the bank holiday weekend she attended with her ex race horse Dessie. A four day event this year, with the showing classes runnning on both the Saturday and Sunday. With over 200 ex racehorses competing and with the delights of Bank holiday traffic, Dawn and the team experienced a 6.5 hour drive on the Friday, but Aintree was really welcoming and they had the lovely surprise on arrival, that Dessie had been allocated the stable used by Red Rum, Ballabriggs and Amberleigh House when they won the National. ROR and Aintree work hard to create a championship atmosphere and Dawn had great fun riding down the horse walk in front of the stands to the arena. Not quite so much fun for her support team (husband Kevin) as it is about a third of a mile each way for him to walk. On the plus side there is a Toby Carvery right by the entrance to Aintree so the excuse of it not being worth cooking in the lorry, resulted in a weekend off from washing up and cooking, so we’ll worth going all that way. On the serious side, Dessie competed in two classes for horses to have won over £70,000 racing, being placed second and third, in very good company as those in the top places have both shown at HOYS. The pair also secured a strong sixth in a huge amateur class, as well as being placed in the Saturday evening championship which rewarded them the opportunity to then join the parade in the “Always a Star Parade” on the Sunday, meeting the race horse, Lord Gyllene who won the National the year of the bomb scare. He looked fabulous for being 28 now. To round the weekend, the pair did the glamour stakes – this is where the horse is the accessory, hence Dawn wearing a dress, a wedding hat and sandals (which makes for interesting walking on a surface, with hooves about), whilst Dessie was sporting a red ribbon in his tail and red diamantes in his mane. It was judged by Jilly Cooper and won by someone with the most fabulous hat decorated with racehorses (what else).