Polo Gold Cup will feature top parachute team

COWDRAY Park Polo Club is delighted to be welcoming the UK’s premier military parachute display team, The RAF Falcons, to the Jaeger-LeCoultre Gold Cup Final on Sunday 17th July when they will be continuing their display season in spectacular style by jumping into West Sussex at the 2016 Final of the Polo Jaeger-LeCoultre Gold Cup for the British Open Polo Championship.

With the international stars of the game in action in the incomparable setting of Cowdray Park’s famous ‘Lawns’, the event draws in polo aficionados from all over the globe, and the RAF Falcons Parachute Display Team is likely to be a thrilling and popular addition to the afternoon’s entertainment.

Veuve Clicquot Polo Gold Cup

Veuve Clicquot Polo Gold Cup

The RAF Falcons are the military’s premier parachute display team based at RAF Brize Norton, Oxfordshire, and consists of 15 members, including 10 display jumpers. In October they introduced 4 new enthusiastic team members for the 2016 Display season.

The RAF Falcons Parachute Display Team has been conducting highly professional and challenging descents from up to 12000ft for over 50 years.  They descend from the skies at speeds of up to 120 mph.  With skill and professionalism, they fly a close proximity, non-contact canopy stack formation.

The Parachute Jumping Instructors (PJIs) and engineering personnel on the team have been specifically selected for their roles.  Team members are drawn from the wider cadre of RAF Physical Training Instructors and Training Officers and Survival Equipment Fitters, who are dedicated to delivering the UK military parachuting capability. For both day and night, parachutists are all qualified to jump 25,000ft and down to a minimum of 600ft, relying on the Service’s advanced, covert aerial equipment.

Expect exciting polo action at Cowdray Park

Expect exciting polo action at Cowdray Park will have added attraction of parachute team

Corporal Alistair Donald, who hails from Midhurst and is in his first year with the team, said:  “It is a very steep learning curve initially, but I feel proud to represent the Royal Air Force whilst jumping into West Sussex for the Jaeger-LeCoultre Gold Cup Final 2016, under the red, white and blue canopy!”


British equestrian teams for Rio announced

The British Olympic Association has announced the 12 athletes that will compete for Team GB across the three equestrian disciplines of eventing, dressage and jumping at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

Three-time Olympic medallist William Fox-Pitt with Chilli Morning ( seen below) will feature in the eventing team along with Kitty King riding Ceylor L A N and Izzy Taylor on Allercombe Ellie. Gemma Tattersall rounds off the team on Chico Bella P or Quicklook V, with all three athletes receiving their first Olympic call-up.

William Fox-Pitt selected for Rio 2016

In the dressage team, reigning World, European and Olympic Champion Charlotte Dujardin ( pictured below) will compete on Valegro joined by fellow 2012 Olympic team gold medallist Carl Hester with Nip Tuck.

The dressage team will be completed by 2015 European team silver medallist Fiona Bigwood on Atterupgaards Orthilia and Spencer Wilton on Super Nova II – both of whom make their Olympic Games debuts.

Charlotte Dujardin selected for Rio 2016

There is also plenty of Olympic Games pedigree in the jumping team, with London 2012 gold medallists Nick Skelton and Ben Maher returning on Big Star and Tic Tac respectively – Rio 2016 being Skelton’s seventh Games, and his second on Big Star.

Los Angeles 1984 jumping team silver medallist John Whitaker, who’s set to feature in his sixth Olympic Games, will compete on Ornellaia while younger brother Michael, who heads to his fifth Olympic Games – who also won silver at LA 1984 – will compete aboard Cassionato.


Today’s announcement brings the number of selected athletes to 246 from 20 sports.

The selected athletes are:


William Fox-Pitt (47), based Dorset, with Christopher Stone’s Chilli Morning; Kitty King (33), based Wiltshire, with Diana Bown, Jacqueline Owen and Samantha Wilson’s Ceylor L A N, Gemma Tattersall (31), based West Sussex, with either Christopher Stone’s Chico Bella P or The Pebbles Syndicate’s Quicklook V; Isabelle (Izzy) Taylorn(33), based Oxfordshire, with Susan Holroyd and Frances Carter’s Allercombe Ellie. Travelling Reserve: Pippa Funnell MBE, (47), based Surrey, with the late Carol Toliver’s Billy The Biz’

Dressage: Fiona Bigwood (40), based West Sussex, with Penny Bigwood and Neils and Lis Dahl’s Atterupgaards Orthilia;
Charlotte Dujardin OBE (30), based Gloucestershire, with Rowena Luard, Anne Barrott and Carl Hester’s Valegro; Carl Hester MBE, age 49, based Gloucestershire, with Jane De La Mare and his own Nip Tuck; Spencer Wilton, age 43, based Reading, with Jennifer Goodman and his own Super Nova II
Travelling Reserve: Lara Griffith, age 27, based Gloucestershire, with Dr Wilfried and Ursula Bechtolsheimer’s Rubin Al Asad.
Show Jumping:
Ben Maher MBE, age 33, based Hertfordshire, with Jane Forbes Clark and his own Tic Tac; Nick Skelton OBE, age 58, based Warwickshire, with Beverley Widdowson’s Big Star; John Whitaker MBE, age 60, based West Yorkshire, with Team Harmony Management Co Ltd’s Ornellaia; Michael Whitaker, age 56, based Nottinghamshire, with Beverley Widdowson’s Cassionato. Travelling reserve: Jessica Mendoza, age 20, hometown Wiltshire, with Sarah Mendoza’s Spirit

– See more at: https://www.teamgb.com/news/meet-the-team-12-equestrian-riders-selected-for-rio-2016#sthash.99BiT2uK.dpuf

Goodwood’s May Festival starts today

GOODWOOD’S May Festival begins today, Thursday, when there wll be Listed races with more than  £450,000 prize money on offer. There will be a chance to see some exciting horses make their mark at this stunning track.

The May Festival acts as a precursor to the Qatar Goodwood Festival and an opportunity to see top horses back in acion, as well as noteworthy rising stars.

The opening Thursday highlight is the Listed Height of Fashion Stakes (won in 2010 by Oaks winner Snow Fairy), which provides an insight into the fillies to look out for over the season. The stunning back-drop of the South Downs is a permanent feature as a further six races provide more excitement and spectacle.

The first race at 1.50pm is the NJS GROUP EBF NOVICE STAKES with five runners, including Hugo Palmer’s Afandem to be ridden by Ryan Moore. Mark Johnston has William Buick booked to ride the well bred Yalta and other trainers represented in the race are Ralph Beckett ( Pleaseletmewin), Repton ( Richard Hannon) and Brian Meehan ( Son Castello).

The main race of the day is the Veolia Height of Fashion Stakes, a Listed Race for fillies, at 4pm. The field is headed by Dessertoflife, a winner last season, trained by Mark Johnson and ridden by Joe Fanning, and likely to be a 10-1 shot.

Desert of Life Photo courtesy of John Siimpson

Desertoflife Photo courtesy of John Simpson

Skiffle ( Charlie Appelby and William Buick) and The Black Princess ( John Gosden and Frankie Dettori) were ante post favourites yesterday both at 3-1, with The Black Princess having won as a juvenile on the all-weather last season.

Gates open at 11.30am, with the first race of seven races setting off at aproximately 1.50pm, with the last at 5.05pm. Gates will close an hour after the last race. Some good racing is promised throughout the day and some exciting racing is set to follow on Friday and Saturday.

Ticket prices for May Festival start from £20 for the Thursday and Friday (Lennox Enclosure closed) and £10 on the Saturday (Lennox Enclosure open). Accompanied under 18s receive complimentary admission.

Pulborough horse takes Group Three at Newbury

PULBOROUGH trainer Amanda Perrett enjoyed an outstanding win at the weekend when sending out Astronereus to victory in the Group Three I Rayyan Stakes at Newbury over a mile and a half.


Astronereus was sent off as the outsider of the five runners at 14-1 but sped past Ayrad in the closing stages to take the race with Pat Dobbs on board. He was having his first race since his lack lustre performance in the Ebor last year.

Astronereus trained by Amanda Perrett  Photo John Simpson

Astronereus trained by Amanda Perrett Photo John Simpson

Pat Dobbs praised the team at Coombelands Stables for getting Astonereus over problems at the end of last season.

He said: ” He is a horse that needs fast ground and he’s a little fragile leg-wise but they’ve sorted it out for this year. They’ve always thought a lot of him and he has a lot of options.”

Astronereus is owned by John Connolly and Odile Griffith, and Connolly said: “We were thinking he was a two-mile horse, something like the Goodwood Cup, and my heart is still set on going back to the Melbourne Cup but the ground might be a worry out there.”

A step back up in trip is likely for Astronereus next, and his trainer told journalists after the race: “I was hoping he’d run well, but to come and win is fantastic. He could go to Sandown for the Henry II or to France for the Prix Vicomtesse Vigier if we decide to step up in trip.”

Amanda Perrett’s Glaring aimed at Yorkshire Cup

PULBOROUGH trainer Amanda Perrett is hoping that Glaring will show himself to be a leading candidate for staying honours this season in the 1m6f Betway Yorkshire Cup at York tomorrow, Friday.

The race is the first in the Long Distance category of this year’s QIPCO British Champions Series. The five-year-old French import is among six final entries  revealed for the £160,000 feature, which has been a Group 2 event since 1971.

Trainer Amanda Perrett

Trainer Amanda Perrett

Glaring raced prominently for a long way on his British debut in the two-mile Longines Sagaro Stakes at Ascot last month but faded in the closing stages in a race won by Mizzou.

Clever Cookie, Flying Officer (third) and Suegioo (fourth) finished ahead of him on that occasion and are set to re-oppose but Perrett will be disappointed if, at the very least, Glaring, who will be ridden by Stobart Champion Flat Jockey, Silvestre De Sousa, does not finish much closer to them.

“He travelled really well at Ascot but lack of a run found him out in the final furlong and a half,” the Pulborough-based trainer said. “He’s a big, stuffy horse who’s quite lazy at home and, with that under his belt, hopefully he will be more competitive with the horses who beat him.

“I’m not 100 per cent sure dropping back in trip is the right thing to do because he’s a powerful galloper but he’s come out of that Ascot race really well and a galloping track like York will suit him down to the ground.”

York Racecourse Photo: John Simpson

York Racecourse
Photo: John Simpson

The going at York is good, good to firm in places after 5.3mm of rain fell from 1pm on Tuesday to 9.45am on Wednesday, but, with dry weather forecast over the next two days it is expected to be on the quick side by Friday’s off-time at 4.05pm.

“Good ground would probably be perfect for Glaring but I’m sure there will be a good covering of grass,” Perrett said. “I don’t think the ground will worry or hinder him.”

Glaring ran ten times in France for Andre Fabre, when owned by Prince Khalid Abdullah, before being purchased by Perrett at Tattersalls in October for 50,000 guineas.

“He had not run for a bit, but he was recommended to me and his form reads really well,” said Perrett, who saddled Bulwark to finish third in the 2007 Yorkshire Cup at 40-1. “He’s an imposing individual with plenty of ability and he has a lovely long stride on him. He was a very competitive Group runner in France last year, being placed on several occasions over a variety of trips.”

Glaring now carries the colours of George Materna, who has enjoyed success with another of the yard’s stayers, Eye Of The Storm. His new recruit could become a regular in QIPCO British Champions Series, with a tilt at the Qatar Goodwood Cup on July 28 definitely on his agenda.

“George loves to have a Goodwood Cup runner; that race has always been his passion,” Perrett said. “I would imagine Glaring will gallop all day and, before that, he could run at Royal Ascot in either the Gold Cup or Queen Alexandra Stakes, which should be right up his street.”



Visit to Gary Moore’s stables

THE British Horse Society, West Sussex committee, is organising a visit to Cisswood Racing Stables, the base of trainer Gary Moore.
The visit, by kind invitation of Gary and Jayne Moore will take place on Wednesday June 29, when there will be an opportunity to watch horses on the gallops and visit the stables afterwards.

Jayne and Gary Mooree with Nebula Photo: Jeannie Knight

Jayne and Gary Moore with Nebula, one of their many winners from Cisswood Racing Stables
Photo: Jeannie Knight

Cisswood Racing Stables are situated in Sandygate Lane, Lower Beeding, near Horsham, West Sussex RH13 6LR.
Numbers will be limited but the cost is just £10 per person with proceeds from the events to be shared between the British Horse Society West Sussex funds and local charity Moorcroft Racehorse Welfare Centre, based at Slinfold, which does such an outstanding job in regtraining ex-racehorses so they can go on to a life outside racing.

For a booking form contact either mail@sheilawoodward.plus.com or ring 07801 599518.

Cowdray’s new polo season opens soon

COWDRAY Park’s 2016 polo season opens on Saturday April 23 with match play commencing in the 8 goal Barrett Cup and the 12 goal Tyro Cup.

With a massive 485 matches played in 2015, in order to satisfy increasing demand the Polo Club is introducing two new tournaments in 2016.  The Petworth 12 goal trophy will be played between June 4 and 12 and the Heyshott 6 goal Cup will be played from June 21 to July 3.

Ranked alongside the Argentine and USA Opens, there will be four weeks of thrilling high goal action in the British Open Polo Championship for the Jaeger-LeCoultre Gold Cup when spectators can expect to see the majority of  the world’s 10 goal players in action on Cowdray’s world-class pitches.

Exciting polo action soon atb Cowdray Park Photo:Clive Bennett Photography 20150712

Exciting polo action soon at Cowdray Park
Photo:Clive Bennett Photography 20150712

The Gold Cup was launched in 1956 by the late John Cowdray, 3rd Viscount, and thirteen teams are predicted to be competing in the Diamond Jubilee year of the most coveted trophy in polo, including, for the first time since 2009, a Cowdray team.

The Hon Charles and Lila Pearson are proud to be entering Cowdray Vikings led by their son George, grandson of John Cowdray, who is a talented young 2-goal player and currently a student at Oxford University.

The 2016 Jaeger-LeCoultre Gold Cup tournament starts on June 21  with the King Power side of ‘Top’ Srivaddhanaprabha returning to defend the title of British Open Champions which they won in 2015.

Hon Lila Pearson presenting Midhurst Town Cup to winning team Photo: Clive Bennett

Hon Lila Pearson presenting Midhurst Town Cup to winning team last season
Photo: Clive Bennett

Highlights of the tournament include The Midhurst Town Cup taking place on Sunday  June 26 with entry at just £5 per person, under 12s free. The historic local Cup will be contested as the principal match of the afternoon.  The following weekend sees the popular Argentine Ambassadors Cup being played on Sunday July 3 also at just £5 for adult entry.

The Semi Finals of the Jaeger-LeCoultre Gold Cup will be played on Wednesday July 13 and the high octane Final will take place on Sunday July 17.

The British Ladies Open Championship runs during the final week of the Jaeger-LeCoultre Gold Cup with its Final on July 16, the Saturday of Gold Cup weekend.
Six tournaments in the highly popular HPA Series, which are open to all-comers and attract large entries, are spread over the season and a full range of domestic tournaments at low and medium goal level complete the calendar with the season closing on 18th September.

The total list of fixtures  and details of membership of Cowdray Park POlo Club is available at www.cowdraypolo.co.uk


WHW concerns re foal numbers

World Horse Welfare research to find the number of foals born in the UK has revealed that it is almost impossible to quantify just how many join our horse population each year.

As part of its campaign to raise awareness of the world’s ‘invisible horses’, World Horse Welfare contacted 66 equine passport issuing organisations (PIO’s) in the UK to request data on the number of foals recorded by them in 2014. Data received from the 38 PIOs who responded, combined with an estimate on the others who did not respond, would suggest a total of around 25,000 foals were born and recorded in 2014.

Whilst EU legislation requires all horses and ponies to have a valid passport and corresponding microchip by the time they reach six months of age or by December 31 in the year of birth, thousands of foals and youngsters may slip through the net every year as owners may not have them identified and a passport issued.

World Horse Welfare Chief Executive, Roly Owers said:“Our best estimate, based on data received is that something around 25,000 foals were born and recorded with a PIO in 2014.   Based on a total UK equine population of 800,000 the true number is likely to be around 40,000, with thousands of foals born every year that are unrecorded and therefore invisible.

Thousamds of foals are unrecorded each year Photo: World Horse Welfare

Thousamds of foals are unrecorded each year
Photo: World Horse Welfare

“This may be a crude estimation but is based on evidence from both World Horse Welfare and a number of other charities and organisations This failure to apply for a passport in time is not only contrary to current EU regulations but it puts these animals at a much higher risk because they are effectively invisible and not on anyone’s radar.

“Whilst a percentage of them may go on to have careers in sport or become leisure animals loved and pampered by their owners, we know that many are just as likely to face an uncertain future because there are simply not enough homes for the number of horses we are producing each year in the UK.

“Our latest figures show there are more than 4,000 horses at risk in the UK and thousands more already in the care of charities, many of whom are struggling with limited capacity and stretched resources. World Horse Welfare alone took in over 100 horses in just 40 days before Christmas which represents almost one third of the charity’s maximum stocking level.

“Foals born into this market landscape may struggle to find homes.  Those that are on a PIO database are likely to be much better off because their owners are taking responsibility for them by getting them identified but it’s the foals that are not identified who are a greater concern to us.

“They are invisible to the system, and cannot be linked to anyone responsible for their care. In addition no vet can administer a medicinal product to a horse or pony unless it has a passport so this adds to the problems that these animals may face if they become ill.”

World Horse Welfare has named 2016 the year to highlight the world’s invisible horses who often suffer in silence as people either cannot or choose not to see them. The year-long campaign will highlight the plight of these horses, making them ‘visible’ so they can receive the care and protection they so desperately need with the first quarter of the year aimed at highlighting the number of foals born into uncertain futures and the wide-reaching impact this has on horse welfare.

See more about WHW at:http://www.worldhorsewelfare.org/our-pledge-to-supporters



Changes to Olympic eventing

Changes to Olympic eventing have been under discussion  and the British Equestrian Federation, on behalf of British Eventing (BE), has recently submitted a reply to an International Equestrian Federation (FEI) Proposal concerning the future of eventing at the Olympic Games.

BE pulled together a wide range of eventing experts, including competition organisers, riders and owners, to form a working group and lead discussion from a British standpoint. Drawing on a vast wealth of experience the group addressed proposed changes relating to format and presentation of the three phases of the eventing competition, based on Olympic Agenda 2020 recommendations.

The working group also embraced opportunities around engagement as the sport strives to uphold a forward-thinking approach to reaching and exciting new, and particularly younger, audiences to boost popularity and exposure worldwide.

Dressage rider Carl Hester competing at the Olympics Photo: Georges Souvier

Dressage rider Carl Hester competing at the Olympics Photo: Georges Souvier

Following the FEI suggestion to allow a maximum of three horse/rider combinations per nation with a reserve, BE proposes keeping a four rider team for each nation with no reserve rider. BE recommendation is for four combinations to compete in the first two phases (Dressage and Cross Country) and, if appropriate, all four to present for the second Horse Inspection.

Based on the current FEI rule whereby at the Olympic Games only a maximum of three riders can qualify for the second round of the show jumping phase (which decides the Individual medals), BE recommends that only three combinations should progress to the show jumping phase in the first instance. Nations would declare which three riders from each team would move forward to the final phase after the second Horse Inspection.

BE felt that this would lower the risk of teams not completing and remove the need for creating a complicated scoring system.

Name change:

Based on Eventing being part of the sport of ‘Equestrian’ at the Olympic Games along with the use of the word ‘Triathlon’ which is defined as ‘an athletic contest consisting of three different events’, BE felt the FEI’s proposed name change from Eventing to Equestrian Triathlon best described the sport and supports a future change of name.

But in order to maintain the inclusion of Eventing in the Olympic programme it says it is extremely important for  to be easily understood and enjoyable for viewers in Rio 2016. Taking this into consideration BE agrees with the FEI’s recommendation to complete all of the dressage competition in one day, along with continuing the current format of one day for both the cross country and show jumping phases.

BE felt much more excitement could be provided by running the cross country in reverse order of dressage results, making the scheduling and reporting of ‘top contenders’ and medal hopefuls easier to broadcast and for consumers to follow. BE also agrees with the FEI suggestion of generating more excitement in the show jumping phase by having each nation’s team members in the arena at the same time along with the team competition being the final event – followed by the medal presentation.