The Racecourse Pony Racing season gets under way at Exeter


Exciting action in pony racing:Photo courtesy of The Pony Racing Authority

Exciting action in pony racing: Photo courtesy of The Pony Racing Authority

The 2013 Charles Owen Pony Racing Series gets under way at Exeter Racecourse this Tuesday, April 2. This year there are 25 Racecourse Fixtures – staging 50 pony races – with the Finals to be held at York Racecourse on Sunday, September 8.

Charles Owen are once again sponsoring this fantastic series and the Pony Racing Authority is extremely grateful for their continued support. Charles Owen have been sponsoring Pony Racing since 2005 and their commitment and investment in the sport has provided so many opportunities for young jockeys.

The Charles Owen series is the crème de la crème of pony racing and has been the spring board for many of our young and talented jockeys including recent Cheltenham Festival winning jockeys Sam Twiston-Davies, Brendan Powell and Harry Derham.

RaceTech will again be sponsoring the best turned out awards and new for this year will be providing a prize for the Best Novice Rider of the month.

The Prince family has also kindly agreed to once again sponsor the Rose Bengal Scholarship and Leading Rider Awards. This provides opportunities for both the best and those that have tried the hardest to improve their skills and be rewarded for their efforts.

More than 30 pony races have already taken place in 2013 at various Point-to-Points around the country, with over 100 more Point-to-Point Pony Races scheduled to take place before June.

This next two months racecourse fixtures are: Kelso, Monday April 8; Chepstow, Friday April 12; Kempton, Saturday April 13; Stratford, Sunday SApril 21; Sedgefield, Thursday May 2; Ffos Las, Monday May 6; Aintree, Friday May 17; Newmarket, Saturday May 18; Towcester, Friday May 24 (evening); Uttoxeter, Sunday May 26.

They continue through the summer to the final at York on Sunday September 8.

Since Felix de Giles, the winner of The Finals back in 2004, more than 100 young riders have progressed through Pony Racing and now hold a professional or amateur jockeys’ licence with the BHA.

There have been Champion Amateur Riders and it is surely only a matter of times until there is a Champion Jockey that has graduated through Pony Racing.

It is also interesting to note that since 2007, 40 per cent of riders from Pony Racing now work in racing yards proving that Pony Racing sows the seed for a love of the sport that people chose to follow as a career.

Horse owners have been asked for opinions as equine passport system is reviewed


Passports and Medications

Call to revise current horse passport regulations

Following the commitment from Owen Paterson, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on the need to vastly improve the horse passport system in the UK, horse owners are being asked for their views on the current horse passport regulations.

World Horse Welfare’s Chief Executive, Roly Owers said: “In light of the horse meat crisis, and with Defra now reviewing the whole system of horse passports, we can start to take some of the vital steps needed to restrict unnecessary movements of horses across borders and improve tracability. We have a real opportunity to implement practical change to the whole system of equine identification in the UK and must make sure we do everything we can to make it count.”.

Equine Sector Council for Health and Welfare is surveying various groups of stakeholders on their understanding of the current horse passport regulations.

To help inform where the passport system needs improvement various stakeholders in the passport system will be offered the chance to take a survey containing some core questions consistent across all surveys, with other questions individually tailored to specific groups including horse owners, vets, passport issuing organisations and the meat trade.

Under EU law, all horses must be issued with passports which record whether they have received medication which would make them unsafe to eat.

However, there has been mounting evidence that the UK’s current unwieldy passport system, with 75+ authorised issuing organisations providing varying standards of documentation, was easily open to fraud and abuse.

Please fill out the horse owners’ survey to play your part in improving the horse passport system in the UK, so vital work can be done to stop the suffering of horses and better link horses to owners:

Fill it out at:

Closing date of the survey is on April 19th 2013.

Moorcroft Racing Welfare Centre receives vital help from sponsored ride

Manager Mary Henley-Smith. Katharine Meller of sponsored ride committee and Moorcroft head girl Lianne Bird

Manager Mary Henley-Smith. Katharine Meller of sponsored ride committee and Moorcroft head girl Lianne Bird with Ravenclaw, previously trained  by Emma Lavelle

AN annual sponsored ride, organised by members of the Surrey Union Hunt, has raised vital money to support Moorcroft Racing Welfare Centre at Slinfold, near Horsham.

The Surrey Hills Sponsored Ride at Stylemans in autumn resulted in a cheque for £2,500 being handed over to centre manager Mary Henley-Smith last week.

The 10 mile pleasure ride with optional jumps was across tracks and farmlands with optional jumps in the Surrey Hills. Previous beneficiaries of the annual event have included the Air Ambulance service and Headway brain injury charity.

Committee members Ann Metson, Katharine Meller and Jane Williams visited Moorcroft last week to present a cheque to Mary and to see for themselves the vital work done by this outstanding centre.

Moorcroft’s mission  is to re-school and rehabilitate former racehorses that have been gifted to it so that these horses can have a real chance at a second career.

Mary explained: ” We are one of four centres in the country and although we all receive some funding from Retraining of Racehorses, this has been cut this year, and we rely even more on donations and fundraising to continue our vital work.

“It takes a minimum of six months to retrain a former racehorse so that it can go on to a new home and this year we have struggled to cover costs because of the huge increase in cost of feed and bedding. It has been a particularly tough, long winter.”

Ann, Katharine and Jane met one former John Best-trained mare, Jupiters Princess, who has been successfully retrained and is about to go to an outstanding new home at Storrington.

They also saw former Emma Lavelle-trained Ravenclaw, a ten-year-old gelding who had competed in hurdle races and over fences, with one win and four places to his credit, and who is coming progressing well with his retraining.

The Surrey Hills Sponsored Ride supports its chosen charities for two seasons, so that this year’s event, on October 6 2013, will again bring some vital fundings to this worthy cause.
For more information about Moorcroft, its work, and how you can help, see

Richard has a talented double handful for the end of season

Tatenen (left_ and Tataniano with Richard Rowe

Tatenen (left) and Tataniano with Richard Rowe   Photo by Jeannie Knight

EXCELLENT performances at the Cheltenham Festival by two horses trained in West Sussex by Richard Rowe at Ashleigh House Racing Stables, Sullington, have earned them a tilt at major races at the end of the current National Hunt season.

Tatenen is heading for the Grand National and Tataniano will be entered for the Grade Two Celebration Chase at Sandown- previously the Whitbread Gold Cup.

Both horses are owned by the Stewart family and were sent from a large busy stable to the West Sussex yard where they have benefited from personalised attention and the variety of downland routes immediately on their doorstep.

All horses trained by Richard benefit not only from varied terrain and individual treatment but also have regular massage and physiotherapy to ensure they are in good trim.

"Tataniano came to me only a few weeks before Cheltenham and was already entered in the Queen Mother Champion Chase. He had already made great progress with me before Cheltenham, but with another month he would have been even better," he said.

As it was, the horse jumped fluently to finish fifth at 100-1 with Andrew Thornton on board in the Queen Mother Champion Chase behind the outstanding Sprinter Sacre..

"He will improve further and I hope he will run at Sandown on the last day of the current National Hunt season," added Richard.

Tatenen (nine) came to Richard two-and-a-half years ago and has won two successive Victor Chandler Chases at Ascot. He ran in the Grand National last year but was unlucky to be hampered at the Canal Turn in a melee of horses.

He too has blossomed at the downland base and was unlucky at Cheltenham this month, where he was vastly underated as a 50-1 shot and finished sixth of 23 in the Grand Annual Chase- despite being seriously hampered twice and having a shoe ripped off during the race.

 As well as the Grand National, he holds an entry in the Bet365 Gold Cup Chase Grade 3 at Sandown.

“We can go for miles along the South Downs immediately from the stables, using different routes and all the horses love it,” said Richard.


Watergate Photo Jeannie Knight

Watergate          Photo Jeannie Knight

"We have had a fairly quiet season this time because of the extremely wet weather and Watergate is one who will be out again before the end of the season, hopefully on different ground. Last time at Fontwell, a ridiculously fast pace was set and he couldn't quicken up in closing stages on the ground," he explained.

He has a promising horse for the future in Grace and Fortune, a six-year-old mare who has performed consistently on heavy ground in novice hurdles this season.

” She will be even better when she goes chasing and will progress further,” he said.

Another winner over jumps has been Current Climate while Marble Walk, owned locally by Winterfield Farm Ltd, Pulborough, has been consistently placed hurdling. The eight-year-old is expected to win when going chasing.

The yard also has several flat horses for the coming months.

“I don’t believe in keeping National Hunt horses going all the year round. They need a break and I keep to the traditional end of the season. My Flat runners come into their own in the interim period, ” he said.

His two sons Luke and Richard Junior are both involved in racing. Richard is currently based in Newmarket and Luke is attached to Amanda Perrett’s yard at Pulborough and has ridden several winners there.

Quality runners at Fontwell Park rewarded racegoers who defied bitter weather


FONTWELL Park racegoers, who braved  bitter conditions last week saw trainer Venetia Williams complete a double to put her within reach of beating her best tally of 89 winners in a season.

Both horses were odds-on favourites, which she said had put her under pressure at the meeting.SONY DSCBut, pictured above right with Jupiter Rex and connections, she had no need for her fears, with Sustainability 1-5 favourite scoring his second win over fences with Aidan Coleman in the saddle.

Her second runner, Jupiter Rex, already with five wins under his belt this season, had been shrewdly placed by his trainer to win the ‘Hands and Heels’ Handicap Hurdle, sponsored by the Platinum Lace Gentlemen’s Club. Brighton.

There he carried less weight than he would have done in an ordinary hurdle race and conditional jockey Micheal Nolan impressed with an assured ride- his first ride for the trainer.

The double took the Herefordshire trainer up to 83wins  and there could be several victories more to come from Jupiter Rex with provisional plans to run him in another hurdle, then a chase  before the end of the season.

After his win she joked: ” I travelled down here with his owners and if he had not won, I might have had to get the bus for the long journey home!”

Trainer Lawney Hill made the journey to Fontwell from her Oxford base with seven-year-old mare Cool Cascade, to take on Sustainability in the Novice Steeplechase.

Cool  Cascade ridden  by David Bass, trained by Lawney Hill

Cool Cascade ridden by David Bass, trained by Lawney Hill

Cool Cascade, well ridden by David Bass, was making her debut over the larger obstacles and the seven-year-old Alderbook mare finished a good second at 20-1, delighting her connections.

Lawney Hill always does well with her runners at Fontwell Park and rates it as her ‘lucky course’. Cool Cascade had joined her in February, with little form, other than one small win, to her credit.

She said: ” Cool Cascade had been running in large competitive fields in hurdle races and didn’t enjoy it. I decided to switch her to fences and she loved it today, running extremely well.

“We are delighted with her second in this race, and being an Alderbook mare she should have more to offer at this level. The main thing is that she clearly enjoyed it today and jumped well throughout.”

Trainer Lawney Hill, with a happy Cool Cascade, discusses the race with David Bass

Trainer Lawney Hill, with a happy Cool Cascade, discusses the race with David Bass

At Fontwell earlier in March the trainer had sent out Billy Twyford to win a handicap hurdle, beating fancied runners from top yards.

Racegoers have come to expect the unexpected from Princely Hero trained by Chris Gordon at Winchester. The nine-year-old Royal Applause gelding tends to drop himself out of most races and yet scrape into a place, or the rare win from an impossible position.

At Fontwell he was remote from the remainder of the field until he decided to run under Tom Cannon, making up unbelievable ground to finish second to favourite Bounds and Leaps, trained by Michael Scudamore, son of Peter Scudamore and brother of Tom Scudamore, who was in the saddle.

Mrs Marilyn Scudamore left, with Bounds and Leaps, ridden by son Tom

Mrs Marilyn Scudamore left, with Bounds and Leaps, ridden by Tom Scudamore

Mrs Marilyn Scudamore, breeder of the horse,  quipped: “Not only did I breed Bounds and Leaps, but I also bred the trainer and jockey!”.

Horsham trainer Gary Moore has an interesting prospect in French-bred Via Sundown, which finished second to Charlie Longsdon’s well-fancied Loudmouth in the novice hurdle race.

Ridden by Jamie Moore, Via Sundown was making his debut in this country, having won on the Flat in France and being placed in a hurdle and two chases there. He looked a quality horse for the future.

All photos by Jeannie Knight


Parham was latest point to point weather casualty in the South East- fingers crossed for second fixture

 Parham's popular Crawley and Horsham Hunt fixture had to be cancelled

Parham’s popular Crawley and Horsham Hunt fixture had to be cancelled

The cancellation of the highly popular Crawley and Horsham Hunt point to point fixture at Parham on Saturday, due to a waterlogged course, was a huge disappointment for everyone concerned.

It became the third fixture in as many weeks to fall foul of the weather, with Godstone and Penshurst having been abandoned in the previous weeks.

Everyone hopes that the weather will have settled  by Saturday April 27 when the Chiddingfold, Leconfield and Cowdray Hunt returns to Parham for its point to point meeting.

Meanwhile the Crawley and Horsham Hunt has been busy outside the racing front, holding a recent Eventers’ Challenge at Stone Hall, Balcombe, by kind permission of Mr and Mrs R Greenwood.

This was a new event for the Hunt’s calendar and attracted a good entry from hunt and event horses alike.

Results: 80cm class – 1 Emelie Fitzgerald and Missy; 2 Ella Heron and Teddy Dazzler; 3 Penny Middleton-Burns and Penny’s Pebbles; 4 Romy Jackson and Leicestershire Lad; 5 Katie Finnerty and Hazy’s Boy; 6 Rosie Thompson and Dante Citizen. 90cm class – Natasha Goldman and Snowdon Ozzie; 2 Molly Russell and Hunters Peak; 3 Ella Heron and Teddy Dazzler; 4 Penny Middleton- Burn and Penny’s Pebbles; 5 Grace Durkan and Harleys Party; 6 Katie Finnerty and Hazy’s Boy. 100cm class – 1 Grace Durkan and Archie; 2 Natasha Goldsmith and Snowdon Ozzie; 3 Isabella Soames and Podge; 4 Artie Martin and Dylan; 5 Audrey Watson and Archie; 6 Grant Laing and Riley.

The next hunt event will be the annual sponsored ride, which this year takes place on Sunday April 7 at Eastlands, Warninglid, by kind permission of the Slade family and Mr and Mrs Gordon Tregear.

It offers the chance through fields and woodlands at Eastlands and the adjoining South Lodge Estate, not normally open to the publlic.

There will be options to ride a five or 10 mile course with more than 20 well-built cross-country jumps. The jumps are optional and the course will be well marked and flagged.

Schedules are available from Mrs Bridget Lyne. Apply either to or send a stamped addressed envelope to Pond Tail Farmhouse, Warninglid, West Sussex RH17 5TJ.

More than £100,000 prize money at Plumpton’s Easter Racing Festival

Plenty of Easter action at Plumpton

Plenty of Easter action at Plumpton

Plumpton Racecourse is preparing for its biggest racemeeting of the year- the two-day totepool Easter Racing Festival on Easter Sunday, March 31, and Easter Monday, April 1.

The feature of the meeting is a new race, the Sussex Handicap Hurdle on Easter Sunday, a Class 2 Open Handicap and Plumpton’s  most valuable race of the year worth £25,000.

Totepool will be offering a Best Turned Out award of £100 for every race, and the Conditional Jockeys Handicap Hurdle on Easter Sunday will benefit from additional funding of £5,000 as it is the nominated Sunday Bonus race.

The Sunday Bonus Race scheme, developed in conjunction with the Horseman’s Group and Racecourse Association has the objective of improving competitiveness and field sizes in selected Sunday races.

The two-day Easter Festival is Plumpton’s most popular racemeeting, with bumper crowds expected on both days. On Easter Sunday, Peppa Pig will be making personal appearances at intervals during the day and there is a Children’s Easter Bonnet competition, while Rastamouse is visiting on Easter Monday.

Accompanied children under 18 have free entry. With admission prizes starting from £10 for adults and plenty of entertainment including a traditional funfair in the centre of the course, Easter Egg Giveaway and face painting, it’s a great value day out for all the family.

Colin Brown will also be on hand to guide racegoers through the day’s racing with a Tipster Talk at 1.45pm and helpful advice and interviews from the paddock.

Many racegoers enjoy bringing their own picnics into the centre of the course, or you can book a table in advance for a three-course lunch in the Marquee restaurant.

More details on 01273 890383 or at

Win a share in a racehorse with all expenses paid for the whole season

Offer not to be missed

Win a share in a racehorse thanks to Brighton Racecourse and Heart of the South Racing

Brighton Racecourse has teamed up with Heart of the South Racing to offer racegoers the chance to win a share in a racehorse.

The horse in question is Interakt, a six-year old Brighton specialist trained by Lambourn-based Joe Tuite. The mare is already  a winner of five races, three of them at Brighton.She races over five to seven furlongs and acts on any going so there are plenty of fun days out to be had with her.

Interakt in winning form

Interakt in winning form

This competition is free to enter and the prize includes a share in this racehorse for the 2013 flat season, all expenses paid; a 5 per cent share of any prize money won plus all the benefits of racehorse ownership.

These include watching your horse on the gallops, meeting the trainer, inside information about the chances, plus owners badges everytime the horse runs, and access to the Owners area at the track, and hopefully the Winners Enclosure.

To enter simply go to:

Heart of the South Racing is a well established and highly successful group with horses in training with Gary Moore, Joe Tuite, Sir Henry Cecil, Marco Botti  and Philip Hide.

It started 2013 in flying style, with two winners in January and stable star Fruity O’Rooney, trained by Gary Moore at Horsham, has been flying the flag at the highest level, performing well. Its latest purchase is a two-year-old colt by Zamindar, in training with Philip Hide at Findon.

Heart of the South Racing is a market leader in racehorse ownership. It offers shares for sale in carefully selected horses that are perfect for partnerships and syndicates. It enjoyed a record season in 2011 with 12 winners and last season had its first double at Brighton Racecourse.

Brighton racecourse has 22 fixtures planned for the coming season. For details see

Coombelands pre-season event defies rain with parade of top quality racehorses


Best Kept, juvenile colt by Champion three-year-old sprinter, Sakhee's Secret, paraded at the event.

Best Kept, juvenile colt by Champion three-year-old sprinter, Sakhee’s Secret, paraded at the event.

A CHANCE to see top quality racehorses at close quarters was offered by Pulborough trainer Amanda Perrett when Coombelands Stables held a pre-season owners’ morning yesterday.

Almost 50 of the impressive 60-strong string were in action in different lots during the morning, with three groups of owners and visitors able to see them at close quarters, as well as cantering on a covered  circular track before going out on the gallops.

The gallops at Coombelands are particularly impressive, including a round track, six furlong gallop, valley gallop, an American bend, turf gallop, winter grass gallop and interesting walk home once the horses have worked.

Despite incessant rain, all three sessions were well-subscribed, with everyone  enjoying the opportunity to see quality horses in action.

Since Amanda took over the licence from her father, Guy, in 1996, she has sent out around 600 winners at home and abroad, including an excellent 17 Group victories. As well as winning the Prix du Moulin Group One and the Prix de la Foret Group One at Longchamp, Amanda has trained winners of major handicaps, including the Tote Ebor, Chester Cup, Northumberland Plate and King Geoorge V Handicap.

Her husband Mark has been an important member of the Coombelands team since he joined Guy in 1979 and he not only rode on the Flat but also partnered more than 900 winners as a National Hunt jockey.

Horses belonging to the Harwood Racing Club, as well as syndicate horses in which there are shares available, were amongst those on view, and there was excellent marquee hospitality before and after each session.


Signed Up, four-year-old colt, expected to come into his own this season

Signed Up, four-year-old colt, expected to come into his own this season


Those on view included Blue Surf,  a four-year-old gelding, who impressed last season with three good wins and four places to his credit.  He is a progressive sort, who has the making of a Group horse this year.

There was chance to see Saborido, an outstanding stayer, with nine wins and seven places under his belt- and who will target long distance races again in the coming months.  Also, Roxy Flyer, a six-year-old mare with impeccable credentials, with three wins and 12 places at Pattern and Listed level, will be aimed at black type races again this year.

One three-year-old to catch the eye was Knights Parade, who won a nursery and was placed twice last season. He handles soft ground, which could be a useful asset this year, and will be aimed at ten-furlong races initially.  Owned by Recitation Partnership, there are shares still available in him with the prospect of a promising return.

Amongst the juveniles was a striking two-year-old colt by Exceed and Excel,  Excedo Praecedo, which has impeccable credentials. This colt comes from a sire which was Champion sprinter in Australia in 2003 and 2004, winning seven races from five to seven furlongs, including the Dubai Racing Club Invitation Cup and the Newmarket Handicap Group 1.

The 2012-2014 Harwoods Racing Club is aimed at bringing top class but affordable racing to the fingertips of local enthusiasts supervised by racing manager, former local and Hong Kong trainer, David Oughton.

Harwoods Star and Harwoods Volante, aged three and two respectively, which run under the club banner were put through their paces.

They are being trained by Amanda for two seasons. At the end of the 2014 season they will be sold and the owners will receive a share of the proceeds and any prize money won.  For full details of membership opportunities contact 01798 873011 or email

Chance to ride round a special Burghley track and raise money for charity


Ride round BurghleyPhoto courtesy of Burghley Horse Trials

Ride round Burghley
Photo : Burghley Horse Trials

Dreams can come true because the UK’s most exclusive sponsored ride is back, giving the opportunity to ride round Burghley and raise money for charity at the same time.

The Burghley Sponsored Ride, supported by EQUEST®, EQUEST PRAMOX®, will take place on Sunday September 8, over a special 12km track on the world-famous Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials course and across the breathtaking landscape of the surrounding parkland.

The Burghley Sponsored Ride has become a legend among leisure riders. It presents a one-off chance to follow in the hoof prints of Olympic three day event heroes and heroines such as William-Fox-Pitt and Mary King.

Although even the bravest of sponsored riders still won’t be allowed to jump any fences, everyone will be able to get up close to some of Burghley’s famous cross country landmarks such as the Dairy Mound and Trout Hatchery to see how huge they really look from the back of a horse. They will also be able to explore tracks and grasslands of the beautiful Burghley estate.

Alex Mundy is one of more than 300 people who enjoyed the ride in 2011. She can’t wait to saddle up for it again this year.

She said: “We thoroughly enjoyed the ride in 2011 as a family and the boys came away more enthused than ever about riding, eventing and Burghley.”

Her youngest son, Harry, who was five when they first did the ride in 2011 said: “I loved riding down the Avenue of Champions and seeing the big jumps that William Fox-Pitt had jumped and wishing I could jump smaller versions of them with my pony Lance. I’m looking forward going a bit faster on my new pony Harvest this year.”

The ride is open to anyone aged five years and upwards, for a minimum donation of £30 per rider. Thanks to the generosity of Burghley Sponsored Ride’s sponsors 100 per cent of the money raised will be donated to equine and local charities, including World Horse Welfare and the British Horse Society and Mark Davies Injured Riders fund.

Every rider urged to seek as many sponsors as possible beyond the minimum entry fee in order raise as much money as possible for these very worthy charities.

Everyone completing the course will receive a special rosette and sponsors’ goody bag and there also is also a chance to win some fabulous Burghley-branded gear for being one of the top three fund raisers.

There will be an on-site photographer and refreshments available. Participants will also have access to the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials at pedestrian rates, where they can enjoy the fabulous shopping and the show jumping phase of the event (grandstand tickets must be purchased separately).

Local volunteers from Stamford ex-Tablers will be providing marshalling to get everyone safely round the ride. Stabling and accommodation are available for participants making the journey from further afield.

For further details, answers to frequently asked questions to download an application form visit or email