Ashley sets a great example with his Irish horse, Cowboy


Ashley jumping at Windsor with Cowboy

Ashley jumping at Windsor with Cowboy: Courtesy ESPhotography

Midhurst Rother College student Ashley Baker (15) has been celebrating an excellent show jumping success at Royal Windsor recently. He finished fourth in a very tough junior speed class, the British Riding Club Top Score, on his Irish horse, Cowboy, against some extremely nifty and sure-footed ponies.

From the village of Rogate,  Ashleyhas been riding since he was three-years-old, and is now a Year 10 student at Midhurst Rother College.

Cowboy has been in the Baker household for two-and-a-half years. He was bought as a 10-year-old  from the hunting field, but with no show jumping experience.

Ashley’s mother, Katrina, said: ” He took to the sport straight away and gelled with Ashley immediately. We knew they had something special when not long after Cowboy came to us they qualified for the BSJA Championships in Wales.”

In order to gain a coveted place at the Royal Windsor Horse Show, Ashley and Cowboy won two West Sussex qualifiers. Their place in the Top Score event on the day put them through to the championships.”

Ashley said: “It was nerve-wracking as the championship was against the clock with a joker, with some very spritely ponies as competition. We were first to go too, so the whole thing was quite intense. Cowboy jumped his socks off for a clear, so we stayed in the lead for quite a while, but the final result of fourth place was better than I could ever have hoped for.”

Ashley, whose inspiration is Australian eventer Peter Gillies, with whom he has trained for the last two years, says he thought the experience as whole was ‘fantastic’ and although his head has not been turned away from studies and intended career in the veterinary world, he was thrilled to be walking the course alongside international stars such as Guy Williams and the Funnells, and to competing in such a prestigious international environment.

He regularly represents the school,where he is head prefect, in National Schools equestrian events and also competes for Cowdray Pony Club and Wey Riding Club. In addition he mucks out three horses before school and exercises at least one when he gets home.

He has already spent time at Liphook Veterinary Hospital for work experience and this summer will shadow a farrier- a great example in determination

Amateur rider Conor Shoemark announces intention to turn professional at action-packed Fontwell Park meeting


Connor Shoemark

Conor Shoemark

Talented amateur rider Conor Shoemark announced that he would shortly be turning professional after he finished second with Upton Mead to Tony McCoy,  who won the handicap chase over two miles six furlongs at Fontwell Park yesterday, Tuesday, with Jonjo O’Neill’s 1-4 shot Full of Joy.

Shoemark and Upton Mead just failed to catch Full of Joy on the run in. Upton Mead is trained by Kevin Tork, based at Leigh, near Gatwick. The young rider, aged 19 has partnered the six-year-old 13 times in all, including all four wins and several places.

Shoemark’s father and grandfather were both accomplished jockeys is considered a bright prospect himself and is based with Fergal O’Brien at Stow-on-the Wold. He has ridden 10 winners and 18 places during his career as an amateur.

Upton Mead- to have a have a well-earned holiday

Upton Mead- to have  a well-earned holiday

Kevin Tork bought the horse for only £500 and sent him out for his spectacular debut win with Shoemark in the saddle last autumn. He revealed that Upton Mead enjoys being turned out in the field at home between races, but said he will give the horse a long holiday now.

A former point to point rider himself, he specialises in buying cheap horses and bringing them on to win- with Zukov another of his past successes.

Alan King had won the opening Novices Hurdle Race at Fontwell Park with 7-4 favourite Jojabean, ridden by Daryl Jacob. The victory came at the expense of 9-1 shot Ya Hafed, trained by Sheena West at Lewes, which was a valiant second under Leighton Aspell

But there was a major upset in the Novices’ Steeplechase, when Suerte Al Salto trained by Chris Gordon at Winchester overturned the Paul Nicholls-trained Prospect Wells.


Suerte Al Salto with jockey Tom Cannon and owner David Henery

Suerte Al Salto with jockey Tom Cannon and owner David Henery

The combination of Gordon and jockey Tom Cannon swung into familiar winning action to take the race. Suerte Al Salto, owned by David Henery, was making his chase debut in impressive style.

An even bigger shock came in the Handicap Hurdle race over two and a quarter miles when Catherine Boxall, an amateur rider with a 7lb claim, went clear on Windpfeil, trained by Jo Ewell at Lambourn to a 28-1 victory.

Peter Bowen made the trip from Haverford West pay off with Quel Ballistic, an impressive 10-1 winner of the Novice Chase over three-and-a-quarter miles, with Richard Johnson in the saddle.  The Kayf Tara gelding had unseated his rider several times before joining Bowen this season, where he completed his first  race in a while on his debut outing for his new handler almost a month ago..


Quel Ballistic and Richard Johnson

Quel Ballistic and Richard Johnson

The change has clearly done him good for he had the measure of  Colin Tizzard’s well-fancied Dimpsy Time, and Inner Steel, trained by Lydia Richards near Chichester gained third place under a fine ride by Leighton Aspell.

The Conditional Jockeys’ Hurdle Race of the day was won by 9-2 shot Nicky Nutjob ridden by Ciaran McKee and trained by John O’Shea. The top combination of trainer John Ferguson and jockey Denis O’ Regan won the National Hunt Flat Race with the impressive 2-1 runner, Father Edward.


Three trainers share the lead at Goodwood following recent meeting- and evening meetings are set for success

Great fixtures promised at Goodwood

Great fixtures promised at Goodwood

PULBOROUGH  trainer Amanda Perrett enjoyed a 100 per cent record at the May Festival, saddling three runners and gaining three victories thanks to Saucy Minx, Arch Villain and Head Of Steam

Two other trainers also have had three winners at Goodwood this year – Sir Michael Stoute and the leading trainer at the track, Richard Hannon, whose double on Friday was completed by Magic City, part-owned by Sir Alex Ferguson, in the seven-furlong Reheat Handicap.

The excellent racing and good weather delivered a large crowd on Saturday, though the weather was not as kind on the first two days.The total attendance at the May Festival came to 23,000, which was up to expectations.

Adam Waterworth, Goodwood Racecourse’s Managing Director, reflected: “But for the disappointing weather on the first two days, the May Festival would have attracted 25,000 racegoers. We were still pretty pleased with the attendance over the three days.”

Meanwhile he first of Goodwood Racecourse’s Three Friday Nights – this Friday, May 31 – is a sell-out. Rudimental, headlining the event after racing, are performing at Goodwood for the first time.

These evenings feature horseracing followed by a DJ set performed by top artists. A quick change transforms the parade ring from being horse-focused to a huge dance floor under the stars, complete with laser show.

The first of the six races on Friday is at 6.05pm (the gates open at 4.30pm). The Gordon’s Amateur Riders’ Handicap is run over nine furlongs and has attracted 23 entries.

Simon Walker, champion Flat male amateur for the eighth time in 2012, is likely to partner Wordismybond for trainer Peter Makin or Bloodsweatandtears for local handler William Knight. The 40-year-old has enjoyed three winners at Goodwood so far during his riding career.

The feature event is the £14,000 British Stallions Supporting British Racing EBF Fillies’ Handicap (7.45pm). There are 21 entries for the six-furlong dash. This race is followed by the 12-furlong Levy Restaurants Handicap (8.15pm & 15 entries) and the concluding TFN Fillies’ Maiden (8.45pm & 29 entries) at a mile.

Though Rudimental are sold out, Friday Nights continue on June 14 with Groove Armada’s Andy Cato, who has chosen the day to release an 18-track collection entitled, ‘Time and Places’ – an audio reminder of the history of the past 20 years of British dance music culture, and June 21 with Trevor Nelson whose collection album held the number one spot for five weeks in the UK.

Tickets are available at the moment from but booking in advance is strongly advised to avoid disappointment.



New Perseverence award for riding club thanks to local farrier

A West Sussex farrier has been busy creating a magnificent trophy to be presented by a local riding club as a Perseverance Award.
The new riding club trophy created by local farrier, in the centre surrounded by different stages of construction

The new riding club trophy, created by farrier Wayne Woods, in the centre surrounded by different stages of construction. Photos by Nikki Bolesworth

Wayne Woods is based at Harelquin Forge and Stud, Eartham, near Arundel and is a regular sponsor of Arundel Riding Club events. He kindly offered to make a copper show to be mounted and used as the trophy.

Club committee member Nikki Bolesworth went along to see how the trophy was made.

She said: “This was an interesting day as I watched Wayne make the shoe from scratch and captured the whole process on camera for the club. I was really pleased that I’d been asked to watch the process from a length of copper to then a shiny copper shoe.
“The skills involved in making a shoe from scratch really show Wayne’s dedication to keeping the local equines feet in tip top condition.

“Wayne has sponsored our championship classes at our Festival of the Hunter show on July 28. This show is a new addition to our calendar  of events.”
The busy and friendly club also has working hunter and both ridden and in hand showing too giving its members and local riders much more to choose from and fun days competing .
Nikki added: “We have introduced lots of new exciting qualifiers to our shows this year .We have added showing qualifiers for Equifest and Balanced horse feeds and Show jumping qualifiers for Cricklands championships at the David Broome event centre in Wales.  We are really grateful to Wayne for giving up his time to support Arundel Riding Club.
For more information about the club see:

Jockey Leighton Aspell rides a Fontwell Park double and Daryl Jacob replaces Walsh as stable jockey to Paul Nicholls


Only one favourite won at Fontwell Park’s meeting yesterday, where a good crowd enjoyed some hotly contested races.

Local jockey Leighton Aspell rode a double, when partnering 10-1 shot Marcus Antonious to victory  and followed up with a well-judged victory on board Brendan Powell’s Morestead at 7-1 in the two mile two furlongs handicap chase.This win came at the expense of locally-trained  horse and prolific runner Upton Mead, a close second this time.

Leighton Aspell

Leighton Aspell

Surprisingly Calypso Bay trained by Jonjo O’ Neill and ridden by Tony McCoy was a 4-1 shot when taking the Maiden Hurdle.

The Paul Nicholls-trained Saint Roque took the 32 Red Casino Handicap Hurdle as 2-1 favourite, with Daryl Jacob on board, winning by a massive 14 lengths.

The win coincided with the announcement that Daryl Jacob has replaced Ruby Walsh as stable jockey, after Walsh announced that he is to concentrate on riding in Ireland, because the constant journeys to England had become exhausting.  He will ride for Nicholls when available.

There is a Half Term Family Fun Raceday this Wednesday at Fontwell Park, May 29  The first of seven quality jump races is at 2.10pm and the last race at 5.25pm. Gates open at 12noon .

It is a great day out too for all the family with a variety of children’s entertainment including a Pet’s Corner & bouncy castles.

Sussex Wildlife Trust will also be here with their mobile van is the children’s activities. Youngsters can engage in a wide range of wildlife friendly games, quizzes, and colouring and at certain events take part in mini beats hunts. They can also discover fascinating facts about the natural world from our nature table which displays wildlife skulls, crab shells, birds nest and more.. Plus, Sussex Cricket will be here with some coaching skills to try.

Moorcroft Racehorse Welfare Centre to stage Introduction to Grounding session

AN Introduction to Grounding is the theme for a session being held at Moorcroft  Racing Welfare Centre, at Huntgrove Stud, Slinfold, on Saturday June 8, taken by manager Mary Henley-Smith and Sue Newport.

A previous deomstration at Moorcroft Photo by Mark Beaumont

A previous deomstration at Moorcroft
Photo by Mark Beaumont

Sue is a volunteer who used energy therapy to enhance the abilities of former racehorses horses at the centre to heal trauma in their bodies on a physical, mental and emotional level.

Horse owners who look for a better relationship or help with their horse’s behavioural problems can look to a vast array of thing to achieve this.

Mary said: “Sometimes the help is short-lived, expensive or simply does not work for a combination of things. This is because we mostly look for outside help when we could first look at ourselves and put in place a good foundation too work from.”

The simplest and most useful skill is to develop what is called ‘grounding’. This enables owners to work more intuitively, from feelings and not so much from the head; to be softer and yet more toned in body and clearer in bid language, all of which the horse understands.

She added: “The introduction is a mixture of theory and simple practical exercises. Our aim is to give owners a felt sense and understanding of why and what they are aiming for and to give the tools to develop the skill.”

Anyone who wants to know more should go along to this grounding demonstration and will not go away empty-handed. There is no cost, but a donation would be appreciated. For more information contact 07929 666408  or

New Monty Roberts’ technique courses are planned in Sussex

Chris during a demonstration the techniques

Chris during a demonstration the techniques

NEW Monty Roberts’ Technique courses in Sussex are planned. Whispering Equus is to hold two courses teaching the techniques of world renowned horse whisperer Monty Roberts’ this summer at Plumpton College.  They will be hosted and taught by Chris Morris, a certified Monty Roberts’ instructor.

The first is a two day Monty Roberts Horse Psychology course.  This course is an excellent way to deepen your understanding of the way horses think.  It is a great foundation for the Join Up® and Long Lining courses. The Horse Psychology course will be held on July 11 and 12 at Plumpton College, East Sussex.

On August 6th-9th  a four day Monty Roberts Join Up® course will take place offering the  chance to go along and learn the method of Join Up®.  This will comprise a mixture of classroom and hands on horse learning over four days, in the beautiful South Downs countryside at Pleasant Rise Equestrian Centre, Alfriston, East Sussex.

Both of these courses form modules towards the highly popular Monty Roberts Preliminary Certificate of Horsemanship.

Whispering Equus provides McTimoney manipulation and rehabilitation therapy for all animals and  behaviour therapy for horses.   It also provides courses to teach owners and horse lovers the techniques of Monty Roberts, world renowned horse whisperer and pioneer of non-violent training techniques.   Both Anna Blunden and Chris Morris of Whispering Equus are fully qualified and insured.

Full details of the Monty Roberts courses and the full range of other courses can be found at or email .

Aiming for the Champion Apprentice title this season is a young jockey who has already made his mark in a short time

One young jockey with his eyes firmly set on winning the Champion Apprentice title has already made a big impression with his style and ability.


Apprentice jockey Michael JM Murphy

Apprentice jockey Michael JM Murphy

Michael J M Murphy is 20 years old, with a riding weight of just 8stone 2lbs. Since he arrived in the country from his native Ireland he has clocked up 43 winners in less than a year and has certainly caught the eye with his enthusiasm and ability.

He doesn’t come from an orthodox racing background and is the first in his family to enter the racing world.

“None of my family had been involved with horses and it was just by chance that I had the opportunity to ride,” he told me.

Back in Wexford he belonged to a youth club as a teenager and  with other members went riding once a week for six weeks. The bug had bitten and he was so keen to continue that he got a job in a riding school.

Michael J M Murphy

Michael J M Murphy

“Then I applied and was accepted at the Racing Academy in Ireland and was determined to become a jockey. It was very difficult to find openings in Ireland and I began to look around to see what was available in England,” he added.


He heard that trainer Alan Jarvis, who is based in Twyford, Buckinghamshire, was looking for an apprentice and wrote to him.

“I was lucky enough to be taken on by him and I had my first ride for Mr Jarvis on Mativia Bay at Nottingham on June 6 last year- and it was my first winner.

“It was really weird because it was the sixth of the sixth month and I was number 6 and the horse was drawn in stall six!” he recalled

From that point he hasn’t looked back and rode three winners at Glorious Goodwood last year, two for Alan Jarvis- Lady Gibraltar and Annie’s Fortune- and one for Mark Johnston, Landaman.


Michael on board the Alan-Jarvis trained Swift Bounty at Goodwood

Michael on board the Alan-Jarvis trained Swift Bounty at Goodwood

 His target for this season is to be Champion Apprentice. And looking at his statistics for both seasons, he could well achieve it.

A £1 level stake on all his rides this season, where he has ahd 30 winners, would have reaped more than £52 profit. His strike rate at Goodwood is 67 per cent and he has won at  courses all over the country.

Michael is in demand by other trainers and his latest victories include a win for trainer Tony Newcombe  at Salisbury on Thursday night where he rode 11-2 shot Dunhoy to victory.

Elik wins Goodwood’s Height of Fashion stakes in style


Elik, trained by Sir Michael Stoute and ridden by Ryan Moore, was an impressive winner of the Height of Fashion Stakes on the opening day of Goodwood’s three-day May meeting, after grinding down long-time leader Heading North.

The Dalakhani filly, a 3-1 shot,  who had finished fourth in the Cheshire Oaks 15 days previously,took the feature event in style, have both Sir Michael Stoute and Ryan Moore their first victory in this Listed race in its history.

The win came on a day with persistent heavy downpours at Goodwood and Ryan Moore said the filly would benefit from better ground. Elik had been slowly away at Chester and had been unlucky not to do better that day.

Given real top of the ground she will have a fine chance in the a Classic race.

Kiyoshi had impressive in winning the opening maiden fillies stakes yesterday. Trained for Qatar Racing by Charles Hills and ridden by Jamie Spencer, the filly had won at Newmarket earlier in the season over five furlongs and was totally in command over the extra furlong.


Kayoshi connections discuss the win with jockey Jamie Spencer and trainer Charlie Hills

Kayoshi connections discuss the win with jockey Jamie Spencer and trainer Charlie Hills

Trainer Mark Johnston maintained his formidable Goodwood record with King of the Danes taking the Winner Plant UK Stakes under an assured ride by Franny Norton.  His wife Deirdre had flown down from Middleham, after riding out to saddle up the horse.
“He’s in the handicap system now and we will take it one step at a time from his current rating of 77,”she said.
Johnston had seven winners at Glorious Goodwood last year and she added:” Glorious Goodwood is our Royal Ascot and our mid season family holiday. We bring our parents and children here.”
King of the Danes with Franny Norton up

King of the Danes with Franny Norton up

There was not time for Ryan Moore to celebrate Elik’s win at Goodwood, for he headed straight off to Sandown’s evening meeting to partner Amanda Perrett’s  three-year-old gelding, Lion Beacon, to victory in a handicap race.

The horse, owned by Mrs Alexandra J Chandris, was scoring his second win of the season and completed a cross-country double for his trainer, who  sent out 8-1 shot Head of Steam, partnered by Pat Dobbs to win the Wright Joinery Company Stakes Handicap at Goodwood.

Head of Steam with owner George Materna ans jockey Pat Dobbs

Head of Steam with owner George Materna and jockey Pat Dobbs

After the excellent performance by Head of Steam, owner George Materna said he hoped the horse might be aimed at an Ascot Handicap or come back to Glorious Goodwood.

The trip from Malton paid off for trainer Brian Ellison with Palazzo Bianco. The Shirocco gelding had joined him from John Gosden, where he had drawn a blank last season. But he had finished fourth and fifth for his new yard this season and with apprentice Robert Tart on board he won the Hippo Stakes Handicap.

Robert Tart and Palazzo Bianco

Robert Tart and Palazzo Bianco

The final race of the day went to 10-1 shot Night Trade, trained by Ronald Harris in Chepstow with Eddie Linehan on board.

The three day meeting continues today ( Friday) and tomorrow.






Queen Elizabeth II Cup winner gives jumping display for students

WELL-known show jumper Daniel Moseley visited Chichester College’s Brinsbury campus recently when an enthusiastic audience were thrilled to see him give a demonstration using a number of his own horses, as well as Katie, one of the college’s horses.

Daniel demonstrating show jumping techniques for students

Daniel demonstrating show jumping techniques for students

Last year Daniel became the youngest male rider to take home the famous Queen Elizabeth II Cup title at the age of 21. He represented Great Britain in his first Senior Nations Cup in Sopot, Poland, at the age of 20, going on to be a member of the under 21 European Championship team in Jardy, France.

His first big prestigious international triumph was the International 3* Grand Prix in Spain, which attracted some of the world’s best riders. Last year, he was crowned National Gents Champion and was also a member of the British Nations Cup team in Lisbon.

In a demonstration lasting for  90 minutes, he showed students just how well he could ride each horse, navigating jumps, turns and changes with skill and prowess.

Open to students, staff and the general public, the interactive display drew quite a crowd.  The demonstration ended with an interesting talk from Daniel, about his successful show jumping career, followed by an interactive question and answer session.

This was Daniel’s first demonstration to such an enthused crowd, which was eager to watch and pick up tips and advice wherever possible.

He said: “As it was my first individual demonstration, I was a bit nervous to start with but once I got into it, I really enjoyed it. I think it was exciting for the students to see me ride Katie as they can relate to her. I tried to explain to them what her weaknesses were and what they could do to improve them when they ride her themselves.”

The Brinsbury campus Equine facilities are a British Horse Society (BHS) approved training and examination centre, near to Pulborough in West Sussex. They are available to the public to hire and comprise of an indoor schooling arena, two outdoor arenas and a classroom. The college also caters for pony club camps and can hire out stabling and rooms for accommodation.