Al Shira’aa Derby line-up revealed

The entries are in for next week’s Al Shira’aa Hickstead Derby Meeting, with several strong contenders who are more than capable of keeping reigning champion William Funnell off the top spot.

Having won the Al Shira’aa Derby 12 months ago, William is returning with Billy Buckingham in the hope of securing back-to-back wins. If he can manage it, he will set a new record as the first rider to win the Hickstead Derby five times.

An historic Hickstead Derby performance from William Funnell with Cortaflex Mondriaan     Photo: John Periam 01243 584718

Billy Buckingham has shown a real affinity for Hickstead’s most famous class, having also finished sixth on his Hickstead Derby debut, and the pair will start as likely favourites for this year’s renewal.

One of the biggest rivals to Funnell’s record aim will be Ireland’s Shane Breen, who is based at Hickstead. Having won the Bunn Leisure Derby Trial and finished third in the Al Shira’aa Derby last summer.

Shane Breen ‘s past success with Cos I Can ( Photograph Samantha Lamb)

Shane seems to have found a real Derby star in Can Ya Makan. The pair furthered their credentials by finishing in the runner up spot in last month’s Hamburg’s Derby, and are certainly ones to watch at Hickstead.

There hasn’t been a female winner of the Hickstead Derby since 2011, but two lady riders have been getting increasingly close to winning. British team regular Holly Smith started her Hickstead Derby career with a third place in 2017, before going one better last year when she finished runner-up to William Funnell after a hard-fought jump-off. Her horse Quality Old Joker produced a perfect clear last summer, and could easily do the same next week.

Holly Smith and Quality Old Joker Photo: Julian Portch

Harriet Nuttall and her experienced Derby campaigner A Touch Imperious have finished second in the class three times and were third last summer. It’s surely only a matter of time before they finally take the title.

Another lady rider with a good chance is Irish event rider Esib Power, who has had a number of top 10 placings in the Derby with Doonaveeragh O One. Esib, the sister of Grand National and Cheltenham Gold Cup winning jockey Robbie Power, returns to Hickstead after a spell of good results in the showjumping arena.

James Whitaker is bidding to become the fourth member of his famous family to lift the Boomerang Trophy, following in the footsteps of his elder brother William and uncles John and Michael. He is riding Glenavadra Brilliant, the horse who gave William his victory back in 2016 before James took over the ride.

They finished fifth in this class last year, with just one fence down and a time fault, and further proved their affinity for Hickstead when winning the Queen Elizabeth II Cup in July.

Two other former winners are among the likely starters for Sunday afternoon’s showcase. Nigel Coupe returns with his 2017 champion Golvers Hill, another horse who arrives at Hickstead on the back of a strong performance in Hamburg.

It’s been nine years since Guy Williams secured his only Hickstead Derby win back in 2010, but if he qualifies for this year’s class he could be one to keep an eye on.

All the riders must qualify for the Al Shira’aa Derby in Friday’s Bunn Leisure Derby Trial, which often proves to be a useful indication of Derby form.

The other showcase class of this meeting is the Science Supplements Speed Derby, in which Britain’s Matthew Sampson will be aiming to become the first rider to win the class three times in a row since David Bowen and John Ledingham in the early 1990s.

Matt Sampson winning Hickstead Speed Derby in 2017: Photo Nigel Goddard

More than 80 riders have entered the international classes at this year’s Al Shira’aa Hickstead Derby Meeting. It’s one of the most international fields in years, with riders from Australia, France, Germany, Kuwait, the Netherlands, Portugal, South Africa, Sweden, United Arab Emirates and the USA, as well as the usual strong contingents from Great Britain and Ireland.

The Al Shira’aa Hickstead Derby Meeting runs from June 20-23 June. Tickets are on sale now from www.hickstead.co.uk.

Gemma wins Bolesworth International Grand Prix

SUSSEX event rider Gemma Tattersall continues to achieve outstanding results in eventing. She has just won the Cazenove Capital Eventing Grand Prix at the Equerry Bolesworth International Horse Show.

She competed with Santiago Bay, reaping £2,000 prize  money with an eight second margin over the showjumping and cross-country obstacles in show’s International Arena.

This top performance has earned her a place in the final at the Theraplate UK Liverpool International Horse Show later this year. She put in a memorable round, in which she tackled the final jump, a joker fence flawlessly and in impressive style.

This difficult fence had subtracted five seconds from many other competitors’ times when they failed to clear it.

Gemma Tattersall

Jay Halim and Abrisco finished second, with long-time leader Bill Levett taking third on Athleet V. The remaining two Liverpool places were filled by Emma Hyslop-Webb and Hannah Bate.

“It was a fantastic class,” said Gemma, who helped Britain to eventing team gold at the World Equestrian Games last September.

“It is my first time here at Bolesworth – I aim to be back for the young horse championship in August – and Santiago Bay is a very special horse. We have a great partnership. She always says yes to every question, and I had a fantastic time in there. She gave me a great ride.”

Santiago Bay

Gemma told reporters: “It is my first time here at Bolesworth – I aim to be back for the young horse championship in August – and Santiago Bay is a very special horse. We have a great partnership. She always says yes to every question, and I had a fantastic time in there. She gave me a great ride.”

 

 

 

New sponsor for British Riding Clubs championship

British Riding Clubs (BRC) is delighted to announce the securement of a new sponsor for the BRC Intermediate Winter Championships 2020 with HorseHage & Mollichaff  taking over the role.

“These championships will be taking place on Friday 24 to Sunday 26 April 2020, at Bury Farm Equestrian Village, Slapton, Buckinghamshire. We look forward to working with HorseHage & Mollichaff, producers of a range of high fibre forages, chaffs and complete feeds.

Past British Riding Club Champions ,Three Valleys Riding Club

“We are delighted to be able to support British Riding Clubs (BRC) through this sponsorship and recognise the importance of this organisation to the grass roots rider. We look forward to working with the team at BRC over the coming three years.” Said Chris Tar of HorseHage & Mollichaff.

The championship classes will be split over three two days, for teams and individuals, including both senior and junior riders.

Friday will include mixed junior and senior 100cm and 110cm show jumping and Novice to Advanced Medium level dressage.

Saturday will include senior 90cm show jumping and Prelim to Elementary level dressage. Sunday will include junior 90cm show jumping and Prelim to Elementary dressage.

The area qualifiers will get underway in October 2019 throughout the UK, with approximately 550 junior and senior riders qualifying for these championships. Further information on heights, course requirements and horse and rider eligibility can be found in the BRC Handbook.

“We are delighted to be working with HorseHage & Mollichaff for the next three years at BRC Intermnediate Winter Championships. These championships are now proving extremely popular with our members, with such a wide range of dressage and show jumping classes, appealing to riders competing at the higher levels.” Rachael Hollely-Thompson, BRC Manager.

Good Fontwell win for trainer Nick Gifford

BLACK Lightning fulfilled all promise when winning the opening handicap hurdle in wet conditions at Fontwell Park yesterday- providing Findon trainer Nick Gifford with a well deserved win.

The six-year-old gelding had shown promise in his early National Hunt Flat races, but  when running over hurdles he had previously been well beaten. By Whitmore’s Conn, he benefited from a change in headgear for his latest race- and also was reported to have had wind surgery.

Here he was ridden for the first time by Tabitha Worsley and the duo clearly established a good rapport with Black Lightning putting in a good performance under his new rider- comfortably beating 8-1 shot Ormskirk, trained by Johnny Farrelly.

Black Lightning, ridden by Tabitha Worsley, winning the opening race. Photo courtesy of Fontwell Park Racecourse photography.

Not only that but much-loved stablemate Brown Bear, also ridden by Tabitha Worsley and sent off at 5-1, put in a fine effort when he finished a good second in the Jack Parnell Handicap Chase over two miles five furlongs.

The Maiden Hurdle race saw jockey Bryony Frost add to her growing tally of race wins, when she partnered five-year-old bay mare Slaine, sent off at 4-1 and trained by Neil King, to a fluent five length victory over 14-1 shot Moans Cross, a five-year-old gelding trained by David Bridgwater. The evens favourite, Dancing In The Sky, sent off as evens favourite for trainer Dr Richard Newland, ridden by Sam Twiston-Davies, finished third.

Winning rider Bryony Frost :Photo courtesy of Fontwell Park Racecourse

The Mares Novice Hurdle Race, over two miles three furlongs, attracted nine runners – with 11-10 favourite Jaunty Soria,  ridden by Sam Twiston Davies, trained by Neil Mulholland winning by just under three lengths in what proved to be a competitive finish.

Runner up was  33-1 shot Fu Fu, trained by Robert Walford and ridden by James Best.  They in turn beat home Tara Niece, trained by Seamus Mullins, sent off at 17-2, by just a neck.

Trainer Johnny Farrelly made the trip from Somerset pay off when he sent out eight-year-old gelding Bermeo to win the three miles two furlongs handicap chase in good style, ridden by Tom Cannon.

A Fontwell Park date for the diary is the highly popular Ladies Evening at Fontwell Park will take place on Thursday August 22 this year. Gates open at 2.30pm with the first of seven races at 4.40pm and the last at 7.50pm.

 

 

 

 

Watch Hickstead action live on TV

DON`T miss a moment of the Al Shira’aa Hickstead Derby meeting. Viewers will be able to watch four days of action there from June 20-23, streamed live on ClipMyHorse.TV.

The popular streaming platform will be showing all the action from the Longines International Arena from Thursday onwards, including the Bunn Leisure Derby Trial, the Science Supplements Speed Derby and Sunday’s showcase event, the Al Shira’aa Derby.

Archway to the main Hickstead Photo courtesy of Hickstead

The feature classes will be shown as full-scale multi-camera productions, with commentary from Gareth Jenkins and international showjumper and experienced broadcaster James Fisher.

All classes and rounds from the Longines International Arena will be available to watch and download from ClipMyHorse.TV almost immediately, which will allow riders to purchase clips of their Hickstead performances.

The show will also be streamed live on Hickstead.TV and both platforms will be showing the live event as free to view.

Highlights of the Al Shira’aa Hickstead Derby Meeting, produced by  ClipMyHorse.TV will also be televised on Sky Sports and Horse & Country TV shortly after the event.

The Al Shira’aa Derby highlights will be shown on Sky Sports Arena HD at 6pm on Thursday June 26, with daily repeats until June30.

The highlights will be shown on Horse & Country TV on Friday July 5 at 8pm, and the channel will also show highlights of the Science Supplements Speed Derby, premiering on July 4 at 8pm.

For those who want to enjoy the action from a ringside seat, tickets for the Al Shira’aa Hickstead Derby Meeting (20-23 June) are on sale now from  www.hickstead.co.uk

Goodwood raceday raises £14,500

GOODWOOD’S Family Race Day proved popular once again when approximately 10,000 racegoers enjoyed an afternoon of activities on the South Downs and a significant sum of £14,500 was raised for charity.

The fixture was run in aid of the WellChild, whose work helps support seriously ill children and their families. Fundraising included the sale of race sponsorship, children’s fun activities, and donations from racegoers.

On a day when the Gordon and Lennox Enclosures became one, children and adults alike enjoyed a traditional funfair and an activity tent, where Paw Patrol’s popular puppies Chase and Skye made much-anticipated appearances throughout the day. The British Champions Series area gave racegoers a chance to have a go on a mechanical equicisor, while Golf at Goodwood provided education for young enthusiasts.

Exciting racing action at Goodwood at the weekend
Photo:John Simpson

Former Clerk of the Course Seamus Buckley was on hand to host mini-course walks, while ex-racehorse, Army Of Stars, was the centre of attention, having been brought along by the excellent team behind the Retraining of Racehorses organisation.

On the track, Shani put in a tenacious effort to win The Incubex WellChild Selling Stakes under P.J. McDonald before going under the hammer in an atmospheric winner’s enclosure, selling to local trainer John Bridger for £8,000.

The local theme continued when Nuits St George, trained in Pulborough by David Menuisier put in a superb front running performance in the R L Austen Diamond Handicap Stakes to win comfortably under Sean Levey. The quality of the win means he could be aimed at the prestigious Goodwood Festival if the ground is right.

Winner Nuits St George

Trainer David Menuisier commented afterwards: “Despite a rise in the weights he has won that nicely. Nuits St George is very ground dependant, so if there is some cut in the ground come the Qatar Goodwood Festival, we will look to go there.”

Pulborough trainer David Menuisier

WellChild Chief Executive Colin Dyer commented; “We are thrilled with the amount of support and money raised at Goodwood’s Family Race Day, it will go a long way to helping seriously ill children and supporting their families through some incredibly tough times.

“I would personally like to thank the Goodwood team; our sponsors Infiniti, R L Austen, The Bennington Family, IncubEx, and Ed Chamberlin for their invaluable support.”

Goodwood now looks forward to the second Three Friday Night act on June 14, when Gorgon City take to the decks. The chart-topping duo consisting of two North London producers Kye Gibbon and Matt Robson-Scott, look set to wow the crowd come Friday night.

 

 

 

 

 

Nicole Pavitt qualifies for HOYS

Nicole Pavitt  has won the British Horse Feeds Speedi-Beet HOYS Grade C Qualifier at the South of England Show

 A British Horse Feeds Speedi-Beet HOYS Grade C Qualifier took place at the popular South of England Show on Saturday. Seventy-two combinations came forward to take on Neil Theobald’s track with eyes firmly set on gaining one of the three qualifying tickets on offer for the British Horse Feeds Speedi-Beet HOYS Grade C Championship Final at Horse of the Year Show.

Nicole Pavitt and Southend at South of England show
Photo: Stephen Lawrence

The initial starters were reduced to twelve for the jump-off and it was Nicole Pavitt from Crawley, West Sussex who claimed the win with Matthew Pike’s Southend, an 11 year-old British bred gelding who has already gained tickets to the Senior Newcomers and Foxhunter Championships at Horse of the Year Show. They stopped the clock in 40.62 seconds, one of the quickest times of the class.

Close behind was Phillip Miller on Diana Cornish’s seven-year-old Belgian bred gelding Hot Pepper S; they crossed the finish line with a double clear in 41.11 seconds. Third place and the final qualifying ticket went to Taisie De Gruchy and Lauren De Gruchy’s Live the Life, an 8 year-old British bred whom Taisie has produced herself over the last three years. They posted a double clear in 42.57 seconds.

The Horse of the Year Show 2019 will take place from October 2-6 at Birmingham’s NEC.

RDA dressage qualifier at Hickstead

 

New sponsor for British Riding Clubs

British Riding Clubs (BRC)  has announced the securement of a new sponsor for the BRC Intermediate Winter Championships 2020 by HorseHage & Mollichaff.

These championships will be taking place on Friday 24 to Sunday 26 April 2020, at Bury Farm Equestrian Village, Slapton, Buckinghamshire. BRC looks forward to working with HorseHage & Mollichaff, producers of a range of high fibre forages, chaffs and complete feeds.

“We are delighted to be able to support British Riding Clubs (BRC) through this sponsorship and recognise the importance of this organisation to the grass roots rider. We look forward to working with the team at BRC over the coming three years.” Said Chris Tar of HorseHage & Mollichaff.

Show Jumping Champions Three Valleys Riding Club at a British Riding Clubs event  Photo courtesy of British Riding Clubs

The championship classes will be split over three two days, for teams and individuals, including both senior and junior riders.

Friday will include mixed junior and senior 100cm and 110cm show jumping and Novice to Advanced Medium level dressage.

Saturday will include senior 90cm show jumping and Prelim to Elementary level dressage.
Sunday will include junior 90cm show jumping and Prelim to Elementary dressage.

The area qualifiers will get underway in October 2019 throughout the UK, with approximately 550 junior and senior riders qualifying for these championships. Further information on heights, course requirements and horse and rider eligibility can be found in the BRC Handbook.

“We are delighted to be working with HorseHage & Mollichaff for the next three years at BRC Intermnediate Winter Championships. These championships are now proving extremely popular with our members, with such a wide range of dressage and show jumping classes, appealing to riders competing at the higher levels,” said Rachael Hollely-Thompson, BRC Manager.

Condition of head shaking in horses is discussed

In this month’s equine vet feature, head shaking is discussed by Dr Sarah Davidson, BVMS MRCVS  of  the Sussex Equine Hospital at Ashington.

Dr. Sarah. Davidson, BVMS, MRCVS of Sussex Equine Hospital. Ashington.

Head shaking in horses is a mysterious condition that can be incredibly frustrating to diagnose, manage and treat. There is a wide spectrum of severity, from a mild, occasional ‘tic’ to a persistent and sometimes violent shaking of the head.

Most commonly, head shaking occurs in a vertical direction, but can also manifest itself from side to side. Head shaking is involuntary and, while we do not understand a huge amount about the condition, we know it is a painful condition that can  justify euthanasia in its most severe form.

 Clinical presentation of head shaking is most often a downward jerking of the nose followed by tossing up of the head. Also sometimes apparent is rubbing of the nose and/ or face that suggests the horse is in pain.

This pain is believed to stem from trigeminal nerve hypersensitivity, although we commonly do not see any structural change to the nerve or surrounding tissue during investigation. 

The onset of trigeminal-mediated, sometimes called idiopathic head shaking, is most often sudden, but has been known to come on gradually and appears to affect horses between the ages of six and 12. Head shaking is usually more prevalent when the horse is working and less pronounced at rest, although some horses show no signs at all of the syndrome at rest.

It has also been noted that changes in season affect some horses with typical head shaking behaviour seen more frequently in spring and summer and it appears that insects, wind, pollen, dust and rain can all be triggers for the condition.

 Diagnosing head shaking is based on a number of factors. Observing the horse at rest and while being ridden is a key part of the investigation, it may also be deemed necessary to observe the horse in lots of different conditions: wet, dry, sunny, overcast, indoor, outdoor and so on.

This can help to highlight whether there is a trigger for the condition. Ruling out other conditions that may affect the head is also very important. Eye irritation, inner and outer ear disease, dental pain and guttural pouch or sinus abnormalities may all cause your horse to display behaviour that could be perceived as head shaking.

These investigations take the form of radiography, endoscopy, detailed ear, eye and dental examinations and. if these fail to highlight a cause. your horse may be referred for a CT or MRI scan. If you suspect your horse is a head shaker and you have the opportunity to video the behavior, this can help greatly with the investigation as, in mild cases, your vet may be unlucky enough to examine your horse on a ‘good’ day.

Following a thorough investigation, if no abnormalities have been detected, a diagnosis of trigeminal-mediated head shaking will often be made. This can be categorised further based on seasonality, intermittency and severity (a grade one being mild up to a grade five when the horse is distressed and uncontrollable).

 As with many things in veterinary medicine that have a variety of treatment options, it usually means that no one treatment is reliably successful. Finding the trigger, which often centres around some form of nasal stimulation, can be the most important part of treatment in a lot of horses.

This is where nose nets and face masks come into play. It is thought that a nose net or face mask alters the airflow pattern, temperature of the air or particle content meeting the nasal passages and helps to control symptoms.

Other treatment options include tinted contact lenses which combat head shaking in horses that are light sensitive, antihistamine drugs such as hydroxyzine and cyproheptadine (although side-effects of lethargy and anorexia occasionally outweigh the benefits), gabapentin to treat generalised neuropathic pain and dexamethasone to reduce inflammation.

Supplementing magnesium is also discussed as a treatment option and is thought to work by reducing the threshold for nerve firing and hence decrease the hypersensitivity to external triggers. A treatment called PENS (percutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) has recently been developed by the University of Bristol and this involves repeated nerve stimulation under standing sedation, which results in periods of remission of increasing duration and/or resolution of clinical signs. In 39 per cent of cases, it has been documented that horses have been able to return to previous levels of work following PENS treatment.

 Response to treatment is very variable and notably not always successful. Treatment may involve multiple trials of different options and in some severe cases more than one treatment at any one time with each being withdrawn individually to determine which is improving clinical signs.

Head shaking is a condition that is often managed rather than cured and has been known to be progressive in some cases. Unfortunately, in up to half of cases, it is not possible to find a treatment or effective management protocol and it is important to remember that unlike in previous years when we suspected it was a behavioural condition, we now know it is attributed to pain.

If a horse has severe, or persistent head shaking and no treatment improves clinical signs, welfare of that horse is paramount and euthanasia should be strongly considered.