Plumpton Racing to restart

Competitive racing at Plumpton

RACING is about to restart at Plumpton following an announcement today saying: “It feels like we have gone from feast to famine at the course. We had a gluttony of fixtures in March and April to having to wait a month for our finals.

“However it is finally here and we have 69 runners over eight races ( there was a division in the 3m handicap hurdle) and taking place on groudnd described as Good, Good to Firm in places. We are due a fair bit of rain on Saturday morning so we hope this will ease the going a tad. We will have to wait and see what we get- the for4ecast is 8-11mm approximately

“We’ve been watering since March and recorded only 4.5mm of rain in April, the lowest rainfall in April we have had since our records began in 1997. For perspective, the average for April is 61mm and in 2012 we had 149.5mm!!

We’ve averaged 55 runners a fixture (not including Sunday’s 69 decs), which is great going as in just 2016/17 it was an average of 47 so has steadily been climbing and so all credit to the groundstaff team for this!

“The 2020/21 season will have welcomed an aggregate attendance of 2,077 people thus far, and only two days with any paying spectators – both in December 2020. Again for perspective, the 2018/19 season welcomed 33,561 with just one abandonment  (2019/20 had two abandonments and then we lost 5 fixtures to COVID so isn’t comparable).

“It has been incredibly odd and not something we ever wish to repeat, so we very much hope to have you with us and restriction free for Sunday 19th September 2021.

“Unfortunately though, Sunday will mark the end of Mark Cornford’s tenure here as Clerk of the Course . He’s been a Plumpton employee here for over 40 years and a darn good one – liked and respected by colleagues, professionals and racegoers alike for the entire time.

“He will be sorely missed but will always be welcome and we plan to honour his tenure in September when we can do so more appropriately. Our new Clerk Marcus Waters has been with us for the entirety of the 2020/21 season and so he will be well ready for September and hopefully you’ll get a chance to meet him at a stable visit before the 2021/22 season.”

“Speaking of the 2021/22 season, we of course haven’t forgotten about you and/or getting you back and sorting the seasonal membership but with the full restrictions yet to be released and no sign of the 2022 fixture list being confirmed we can’t advise exactly what dates we have nor what reciprocals we can offer.

“Our sincere apologies for any inconvenience, but we certainly haven’t forgotten and will sort this as soon as we possibly can for you.

I”n the meantime, enjoy Sunday’s racing from afar and lets hope that this is the last one without you for a long, long time!”

Very Best Wishes,

Dan, Holly & Team

Hickstead’s Royal International Horse Show to run in reduced format in 2021

The organisers at the All England Jumping Course, Hickstead, have made the difficult decision to run the Royal International Horse Show under a new format for this season, due to the ongoing Covid situation and restrictions on international travel.

The July fixture would normally play host to five-star international classes including the Longines King George V Gold Cup and the feature event, the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ of Great Britain, along with crowds of up to 50,000 across the six days.

For this year only, the Royal International Horse Show (20-25 July) will run as a two-star international event, with showjumping classes aimed at British-based riders.

The national classes at this show, such as the British Showjumping Winter Finals, will remain part of the fixture, and the Science Supplements BHS Queen Elizabeth II Cup moves to the premier position of Sunday afternoon to form the feature class of the show.

Showing classes will run as normal, with a range of different sections and classes concluding in Sunday’s supreme championships.

“We had so hoped to return to normality for this season, but the on-going uncertainty combined with restrictions on travel made it impossible to run the Royal International in its usual format,” said Hickstead Director Lizzie Bunn.

“Having already made the decision to run the Al Shira’aa Hickstead Derby Meeting as a national show, it’s so disappointing to also have to cancel our showcase classes from our July fixture – however the cost implications of staging a five-star international event under restricted conditions made it unviable.

In addition, we normally welcome athletes from the leading showjumping nations around the world to compete at this event, but this was not going to be possible without seriously affecting all the other rings and classes.”

It is hoped that some crowds will be allowed by the time of the show, but details of public attendance and ticketing will be announced nearer the time. There will be a selection of tradestands in attendance, while some hospitality options will be available. Visit www.hickstead.co.uk for more information. 
HICKSTEAD’S FAMOUS DERBY BANK IS A KEY ATTRACTION FOR SPECTATORS
Hickstead’s famous Derby Ban k is a key attraction at the showground
Photo courtesy of Hickstead

Watch out for full information about this prestigious fixture at Hickstead nearer the date.

Greatest Honour to miss Kentucky Derby

Greatest Honour is to take a 60-day rest and will miss the Kentucky Derby. The news comes following diagnostic testing earlier in the week. The horse, by Tapit (USA) out of Tiffany’s Honour (USA) , trained by Claude Iii Mcgaughey.

Following the results of diagnostic testing earlier this week, the thoroughbred will not run in the Kentucky Derby.

Greatest Honour will miss Kentucky Derby this week following diagnostgic testing

 Courtlandt Farm’s homebred Greatest Honour will go on 60-day rest following diagnostic testing earlier this week.

Over Easter weekend, trainer Shug McGaughey felt Greatest Honour was not moving as well as he had been going into the Florida Derby. Out of an abundance of caution, McGaughey advised that diagnostic testing be performed on the colt.

Those findings were forwarded to Dr. Lawrence Bramlage, a leading equine surgeon in Lexington, Kentucky. Based on the findings, Dr. Bramlage was of the opinion that Greatest Honour would benefit significantly from a 60-day rest period. At that time, Greatest Honour should be ready to start back under tack and hopefully prepare for a fall campaign.

Greatest Honour placed third in the Curlin G1 Stakes Florida Derby on March 27, snapping his three-race winning streak. The three-year-old bay colt was set to compete in the Kentucky Derby on May 1.

About Courtlandt Farm
Located in Ocala, FL, Courtlandt Farm is a 370-acre horse racing operation owned by Don and Donna Adam of Bryan, TX.

RETURN OF FLAT RACING

THE return of flat turf racing is just around the corner as the season gets underway at Doncaster Racecourse, this Saturday with the Unibet Lincoln weekend.

The first fixture at Brighton Racecourse takes place behind closed doors on Saturday April 17. Tune in on Sky Sports Racing to watch all the action live. 

Birghton is also very pleased to be able to welcome back spectators to experience the thrill of hooves thundering along the turf.

A spokesperson said : “We now have tickets on sale for all of our fixtures taking place between May 17- September 30. Tickets have been very popular, be sure to get yours before they’re all gone.”

Exciting racing action returns to Brighton. Photo: Brighton Racecourse

A statement from the Jockey Club said: “On February 22nd 2021 the Government announced plans to help the country out of its National Lockdown. As part of these plans racing fixtures staged from May 17 2021 will be able to welcome up to 4,000 spectators, if the Government’s tests are met for moving into Phase 3 of lifting lockdown restrictions.”

Similarly, if the Government’s tests and criteria are met, then indoor conferences and events of up to 1,000 people will also be possible from May 17. The Government will provide further guidance nearer the time.

The Government also announced that events staged from June 21 2021 will be able to operate at pre-pandemic capacities, if the Government’s tests are met for moving into Phase 4 of lifting lockdown restrictions.

FLAT RACING TO RETURN TO BRIGHTON IN APRIL

Brighton racecourse has announced that the return of flat turf racing is just around the corner as the season gets underway at its sister track, Doncaster Racecourse, this Saturday with the UNIBET Lincoln weekend.

The first fixture at Brighton Racecourse takes place behind closed doors on Saturday April 17. Be sure to tune in on Sky Sports Racing to watch all the action live. Then racing returns for the public from May 17.

Top Flat Racing returns to Brighton Photo courtesy of Brighton Racecoure

A spokesperson said: “We now have tickets on sale for all of our fixtures taking place between May 17- September 30. Tickets have been very popular, be sure to get yours before they’re all gone!”

Richest horse owners in the world…

NEW research has looked into net worths of horse-owners to reveal who’s the richest in the paddock…
Top 10 Richest Horse Owners

RankOwner NameNet Worth
1Alain Wertheimer£24,714,592,500
1Gerard Wertheimer£24,714,592,500
3Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan£12,906,810,000
4Kirsten Rowsing£10,182,039,000
5Mohammed Bin Rashad Al Maktoum£10,038,630,000
6John Malone£5,372,737,000
7Anthony Oppenheimer£3,656,929,500
8Aiywatt Srivaddhanprabha£2,653,066,500
9Bradley Wayne Hughes£2,220,731,500
10John Magnier£2,212,179,590
10Susan Magnier£2,212,179,590

Two brothers share the top spot on this list with an estimated fortune of just under £25 billion. Alain and Gerard Wertheimer co-own fashion house Chanel and have seen success from champion racehorses such as Kotashaan.

The Weirtheimer brothers Alain and Gerard


The rich list is full of royalty from around the world, with members of the ruling households of Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Great Britain and Qatar all featuring.
Top 10 most valuable horses below:

RankHorse NameInflation Adjusted Price
1Fusaichi Pegasus£97,398,384.00
2Shareef Dancer£89,502,732.00
3Seattle Dancer£22,341,463.00
4Snaafi Dancer£18,821,425.00
5Green Monkey£17,756,622.00
6Imperial Falcon£14,583,013.00
7Annihilator£13,640,000.00
8Ajdal£12,787,075.00
9Jareer£12,571,563.00
10Laa Etaab£11,925,025.00

Top 5 highest paying horse races

RankRace/Race Meeting NameTotal Prize FundCountry
1Saudi Cup£14,379,100.00Saudi Arabia
2Dubai World Cup£8,627,460.00UAE
3The Everest£7,764,714.00Australia
4Royal Ascot£7,300,000.00UK
5Breeders Cup Classic£5,032,685.00USA

The upcoming Cheltenham Festival (starting on Tuesday 16th March) is further down on this list, ranking in 20th position with a total prize fund of £625,000.

British Showjumping acts fast on European outbreak of Herpes Virus

CURRENTLY, there is a Europe-wide alert of increased risk of disease associated with Equine Herpes Virus (EHV-1), which originated in Valencia (ESP) and has already resulted in related outbreaks in at least three other countries in Europe.

In response, British Showjumping is putting in place the following measures for all horses returning from France, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, Italy, Austria, Poland, Netherlands, Germany and Slovakia from 1st March 2021:

  1. All horses  returning to the UK from France, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, Italy, Austria, Poland, Netherlands, Germany and Slovakia should be isolated from others which may attend British Showjumping  competitions and training events. Further we strongly advise that they are separated from all other horses.  The same also applies to horses which have transited through the above countries on their return to the UK.
     
  2. To be considered isolated, the isolated horses must be kept in a building that is physically separated from other horse buildings by a public highway or equivalent.
     
  3. Isolated horses must be attended to by separate staff and riders who are not in contact with horses on other (non-isolated) premises.
     
  4. To minimise risk of disease spread within an isolation premises, biosecurity measures on the property must include
     
    1. hand-sanitising facilities so that staff can clean their hands between handling each individual animal
    2. foot dips outside every stable
    3. separate coveralls outside each stable that are changed between caring for different horses
    4. separate tack, equipment, feed bowls for each horse
    5. facilities for disinfection of mucking out equipment must be in place
       
  5. British Showjumping expect their members’ local veterinary surgeon to verify these standards are in place on the isolation premises.
     
  6. All horses on the premises, including those which have NOT travelled in Europe recently, must have close clinical monitoring with twice daily temperature recording. Temperature records should be kept and made available for review by the members’ local veterinary surgeon.
     
  7. All horses on the premises including those which have not travelled in Europe recently will be excluded from participation in British Showjumping’s competitions and training events and all other BEF Member Body competitions and activities.
     
  8. The excluded status will apply until:
     a)  Either: All horses on the premises have been free of clinical signs for at  least 28 days   from the day the last horse(s) returning from areas of Europe defined above arrived on the isolation premises.
      b)  Or: Laboratory data confirming that all horses on the premises are free from disease is provided to British Showjumping. These laboratory data  must include: 
           i)    Paired serology (to measure antibodies against EHV) with two  samples taken a minimum of 10 days apart, using the complement fixation test (CFT) which is available at Rossdales Laboratory.
           ii)   And, a pair of nasopharyngeal swabs taken at the same time as the serology samples.
           iii)   For the purpose of interpretation of these data, day 0 is defined as the day the returning horses arrived at the isolation premises.
           iv)  Samples must be submitted to  Rossdales Laboratory. Veterinary surgeons should contact the laboratory (via  laboratory@rossdales.com or by telephone 01638- 663017,   Emergency (24hrs) 01638 663150 for advice on shipping of and processing schedules for samples and to request supplies such as  suitable nasopharyngeal  swabs and transport media.

      9.  The above requirements for laboratory data to clear excluded status will apply to  both horses which are unvaccinated and those that have received vaccines at any previous time and interpretation of laboratory data will be informed by vaccination history that should also be provided at the time of sample submission.

    10.  Samples must be accompanied by a submission form available at  Rossdales      Laboratory.
 

The Loch Lomond Whiskies National Spirit Hurdle at Fontwell Park tomorrow, Sunday, February 28

THE National Spirit Hurdle is the most valuable and prestigious race in Fontwell Park’s racing calendar, and always promises a thrilling day. Named after the winner of the champion hurdle in the 1940’s, this race continues to attract some of the finest racing talent in the country.

This year it takes place this Sunday, February 28 and the Grade 2 £50,000 National Spirit Hurdle has a new sponsor- Loch Lomond Whiskies– an independent distiller and blender of some of the rarest scotch whiskies in the world. The company also produce a range of popular vodkas and gins. 

Unfortunately, Coronavirus has meant that this year, Lomond Whiskies National Spirit Hurdle will have to be held behind closed doors. The race has always attracted a quality field of runners and recent winners include Vision Des Flos, Old Guard, Camping Ground and Lil Rockerfeller.

Champagne PIAFF is expertly blended by 6th generation wine makers Épernay and can be ordered direct from their cellar to your door. www.champagnepiaff.com

Eleven times champion trainer Paul Nicholls has won the race three times including with Celestial Halo ten years ago.

Celestial Halo, trained by Paul Nicholls on the way to victory Photo by John Simpson

This year Paul Nicholls has entered the highly regarded McFabulous, winner of the Grade 2 Unibet Persian War Novices’ Hurdle at Chepstow last October.  Also entered is the 2019 Grade One Betfair Fighting Fifth Hurdle winner, Cornerstone Lad from the Micky Hammond yard and the Harry Fry trained If The Cap Fits, successful in the Grade One Liverpool Hurdle at Aintree in 2019. 

There are eight entries in total for the big race :  Ballyandy, Brewin’upastorm,  Call Me Lord, Cornerstone Lad, If The Cap Fits, McFabulous, and Molly Ollys Wishes and Reserve Tank.

It is 20 years since dual Stayers’ Hurdle winner, Baracouda, won the National Spirit Hurdle for owner JP McManus and trainer Francois Doumen. 

The seven race card starts at 2.10pm and is live on Sky Sports Racing.

Frustrating time for horse racing says Plumpton

Dan, Holly and the team at Plumpton have been reflecting on the lack of positivity regards to racing generally and feel the timings of lifting restrictions have been poorly placed.

They said: “For example, the Grand National is run on Saturday April 10 but the betting shops don’t open until Monday April 12 which will cost the industry a huge amount of levy from bookmaker payments which help fund the sport.

“Similarly, crowds in full may be allowed from Monday June 21, but Royal Ascot is run between June 15-19 and we are not sure if moving such large events would be possible, but it would be hugely beneficial if they could.

They added: “Similarly, we were disappointed with the announcements from our own perspective, as our funding now faces some restrictions and as it stands it doesn’t look like we will have any crowd before September.

Racing action could be back at Plumpton later this year Photo: Jeannie Knight

“Our last fixture of the 2020/21 season is Sunday May 8, but it doesn’t look like crowds will be allowed before Monday May 18 -and so that is quite frustrating!”

Dan said:” I am just exploring whether we can move any of our April or May fixtures to different dates (to allow attendance!) and if we can have a crowd as a “pilot” but to be frank with you all, it looks unlikely.

“This will no doubt be very frustrating for you to hear and it likely brings to a conclusion a long and strange season. Once I hear about the fixtures mentioned above, I will get back in touch and I’ll also provide options on the membership details for 2021/22 where it looks like full attendance will be allowed….we hope. There will of course be options regarding your money held here and again, I’ll re-iterate my thanks to you all for the support and understanding.”

In more positive news, last weekends racing was particularly enjoyable and also successful and Plumpton’s “home team” trainers. One of Plumpton’s favourite teams (The Moores) had a super day at Wincanton, with Goshen romping home in the Kingwell and firmly back into the picture for the Champion Hurdle.

“We’ll be in touch with you again ASAP, and our apologies that we can’t get you back with us sooner but we hope in your own lives there can now be some more to look forward too.

“Meanwhile the Grand National is run on Saturday April 10 but the betting shops don’t open until Monday 12  which will cost the industry a huge amount of levy (bookmaker payments which help fund the sport) and similarly, crowds in full may be allowed from Monday June 21 but Royal Ascot is run between June 15 and 19. I’m not sure if moving such large events is possible, but you never know and it could be hugely beneficial if they could.”

Expect top class jump racing at Plumpton when racing resumes. Photo: Jeannie Knight

“Similarly, we were disappointed with the announcements from our own perspective, as our funding now faces some restrictions and as it stands it doesn’t look like we will have any crowd before September. Our last fixture of the 2020/21 season is Sunday May 9 and as it stands, it doesn’t look like crowds will be allowed before Monday May 17- and so that is quite frustrating!

” I am just exploring whether we can move any of our April or May fixtures to different dates (to allow attendance!) and if we can have a crowd as a “pilot” but to be frank with you all, it looks unlikely.

“Once I hear about the fixtures mentioned above, I will get back in touch and I’ll also provide options on the membership details for 2021/22 where it looks like full attendance will be allowed….we hope. There will of course be options regarding your money held here and again, I’ll re-iterate my thanks to you all for the support and understanding.”

“In more positive news, the weekends racing was particularly enjoyable and also successful for Plumpton and its “home team” trainers. One of our favourite teams (The Moore’s) had a super day at Wincanton, with Goshen romping home in the Kingwell and firmly back into the picture for the Champion Hurdle.

“Chris Gordon’s Annual Invictus has been a winner with us twice this season (and you saw one of them live on December 14 as this horse flew home in the Betfair Hurdle to finish fourth.

“Andy Irvine (Zoe Davison’s husband) had a first winner at Market Rasen with Blarney Bateleur at 28/1. Some of our past winners also developed into “Saturday horses” too in Thibault (2nd at 80/1!) at Ascot, The Two Amigos following up his Welsh National runner-up achievement with a  fine 3rd in the Grand National trial at Haydock,.

“First Lord de Cuet bolted up at Wincanton and Gellino Bello followed up his fine December win here with a third in the listed bumper at Newbury on Sunday. It’s great to see that good horses are still coming here and progressing on nicely.

“We’ll be in touch with you again ASAP, and our apologies that we can’t get you back with us sooner but I hope in your own lives there can now be some more to look forward too.”

Best Wishes,

Dan, Holly & Team at Plumpton

Three RDA volunteers have won prestigious award

THREE long standing volunteers have been selected as recipients of this year’s Riding for the Disabled Association Presidents’ Award – the most prestigious award presented by the RDA for exceptional dedication to this charity. What is more exceptional is that two are from the same Group.

Bridgyd Richards from Fairwarp and Sally Grainger (Bidborough) are both from Eridge RDA (which meets in normal times at Chelwood Gate) and Jo Lee is from Epsom RDA. It is hoped that all three will be able to receive their awards in person from the RDA President, HRH Princess Anne, at a prestigious event as soon as circumstances allow.

BRIDGYD RICHARDS OF ERIDGE RDA is pictured below with Ockey

Bridgyd is a stalwart of Eridge RDA and has been for 46 years, having joined soon after the Group’s inception. She has been a committee member and trustee ever since – a record of volunteer service unequalled in the Group.  Indefatigable in attendance at committee meetings, riding sessions and fundraisers, she has shown a life-long commitment and loyalty to the riders.  She is the Group’s memory-keeper and an unflagging proponent of the charitable aims for which the group was founded so many years ago.

Bridgyd has never missed the Monday session despite the years of milking and caring for her prize Jersey herd of cows until her retirement and now, despite hip problems, she still attends to keep records of each session.

“I am so thrilled to have received this award as it was so unexpected. I have had a wonderful time, visiting many other groups and competing three times at the RDA Pony of the Year at Wembley – even coming second” says Bridgyd. “It’s been a great ride and still is!”

Her many years of experience with disabled children has stood the Group in good stead. Bridgyd simply is Eridge RDA.

SALLY GRAINGER, ERIDGE RDA

Sally has given a lifetime of service to Eridge RDA and has remained quiet, unassuming and constant throughout. She started as a teenager over 40 years ago and has always been a firm favourite with the riders with her reassuring and friendly manner. 

Sally Grainger of Eridge RDA

Sally has been the Group’s Secretary, a pony keeper, a pony transporter, an occasional rider’s chauffeur, a Christmas Lunch Chef, a weekly volunteer, a keeper of confidences for parents, volunteers and trustees. She has supported the Group in at least five moves, secured and overseen healthy finances, seen many riders progress from tots to young adults and shy volunteers become confidant instructors.

“I was really surprised but absolutely delighted to have been given such an amazing award” says Sally. “It has been a privilege to have been able to help and I have met so many inspiring young people, their parents and carers and have learned from them all”.

Sally is certainly a rock of the Eridge Group which would be lost without her and would not have flourished in the way it has.

JO LEE, EPSOM RDA

Jo Lee began with Epsom RDA in 1989 as part of her Duke of Edinburgh Award and in the three decades journeying from teenage volunteer to Trustee and Group Coach, Jo has made an outstanding contribution to the Group and is very much at its heart.

As well as coaching disabled riders on her regular Wednesday evening riding sessions, Jo has responsibility for overseeing the care of the charities’ herd of 10 horses. In addition, she is always prepared to step up and lead on a myriad of other activities to help the Group including organising the in-house riders’ championships, tackling the logistics of volunteers, riders and ponies travelling to Regional Championships and National Championships as well as fundraising and making sure the yard is kept in an orderly fashion.

Jo said “When I first arrived at Epsom RDA as a teenager I never for one moment imagined that Epsom RDA would become such an important part of mine and my family’s life. I am delighted to have been recognised in this way, but I am mindful that I am one individual representing the wider Epsom RDA community.”

About Riding for the Disabled (RDA) in the South East:

In the South East we have 35 groups across Surrey, Sussex and Kent with over 2,000 riders of all ages. They come to enjoy the experience of riding, carriage driving, show jumping, dressage endurance and western style, with opportunities to learn a new skill, enter competitions or even take a holiday.

This can bring a new dimension to necessarily restricted lives, encourage independence and does much to improve a wide range of medical conditions. We have the commitment of more than 1,000 volunteers who regularly and cheerfully give up their free time. Its instructors work closely with physiotherapists and other health professionals to encourage every individual to aim for attainable goals – some modest, others far more ambitious.