Flat jockey Jim Crowley is on target to beat his excellent strike rate of 2012

Jockey Jim Crowley continued his fine form with a treble at Salisbury yesterday. The Pulborough-based rider,enjoyed his best year in 2012, with 148 winners, including all-weather, and £1,218, 596 prize money.

Jockey Jim Crowley

Jockey Jim Crowley

He is already on the 98 winner-mark for 2013, with another four months yet to go. His Salisbury  victories included two for Richard Hannor with Arranger and Go For Broke, plus 33-1 shot Lazer Blazer for trainer Jeremy Gask.

He has three rides at Sandown today ( Saturday) with Joe Packet for Jonathan Portman in the opener;  the interesting Whispering Warrior for David Simcock in the Class 2 handicap, is partnering Kaafel for Peter Hedger in the final race.

Four more rides follow on Sunday at his local  track at Brighton, where he has a good record, starting  with Flashy Queen, trained buy Joseph Tuite, followed by  Jan de Heem for his boss Ralph Beckett in the London to Gatwick Moscow, then Renoir Lady for Joseph Tuite, in the five furlong  handicap, and Gabrial’s Gift trained by David Simcock in the bonus race.

As a jockey who started out as a National Hunt rider before turning to the flat, he has never looked back after the switch and rides consistently successfully and well on the Flat,

 

Competitive racing at Fontwell Park’s summer meeting- and Lawney Hill scores cross-country double

 

Young followers for jockeys at Fontwell Park's summer afternoon raceday

Young followers for jockeys at Fontwell Park’s summer afternoon raceday

Despite some small fields because of firm ground, racegoers at Fontwell Park enjoyed some highly competitive racing yesterday, when there were some unexpected results and hard-fought finishes.

There were only 39 runners across the seven races, and the fact that the Placepot for the day paid out  £4,906.00 for a £1 stake showed that favourites didn’t have it all their own way.

With excellent weather it was a great day out for all the family and there was a betting upset in the opening mares’ novice hurdle. Champion jockey Tony McCoy finished last in the four runner field on board the Jim Best-trained favourite, Money Money Money.

Trainer Jamie Snowden won the race with 20-1 shot Lucy’s Girl, after a fine ride from jockey Tom O’Brien, beating Hopstrings, sent out by Charlie Brooks. Local horse Shantou Breeze, trained by Michael Madgwick, had won over fences recently, and finished third in this hurdle race.

 

Lucy's Girll following her win in the opener

Lucy’s Girl following her win in the opener,. with jockey Tom O’ Brien and trainer Jamie Snowden right

Tom O’ Brien has a strike rate of more than 70 per cent when riding for the Lambourn trainer at Fontwell Park, so the big price was a bonus for supporters. The horse’s trainer, and owner Mr John H W Finch, hope to build on this win by the six-year-old former point-to-pointer.

Oxfordshire trainer Lawney Hill continued her run of winners at the Sussex track when Safe Investment took the Overland Travel Handicap Steeplechase overturning favourite Alderbook Lad.

Safe Investment with jockey David Bass and connextions following his chase win

Safe Investment with jockey David Bass and connections following his chase win

It was the opening leg of a cross-country double for Lawney, who was at Stratford saddling up Font, which got the better of the favourite there.  Lawney’s husband Alan saddled up Safe Investment, which was ridden by David Bass at Fontwell.

He said: ” We are expecting Font to win,and thought this horse would be second or third, so the victory here was a bonus. I’ve left my son combining on the farm while I came here. Safe Investment had won over hurdles and it was a good win today.”

Tony McCoy finally came away from the meeting with a double, started with Bold Raider, trained by Jonjo O’ Neill in the Novice Handicap Hurdle race and completed with odds-on favourite Sugar Hiccup in the last race.

Local trainer Gerry Enright sent out Dr Ric, and the eight-year-old finished third in the Novice Handicap Hurdle of the day His Lewes-based runner had won well over fences recently on firm ground, which he loves, but Gerry explained: “The handicapper put him up 16lb for that win, which we felt was outrageous and doesn’t give him a chance.”

Trainer Caroline Keevil had a boost when 9-5 shot Cinevator won the Beginners’ Steeple Chase by a comfortable six lengths.  The  six-year-old had three previous hurdle wins to his credit and this was a good performance over fences with Ian Popham on board.

Caroline Keevil with Cinevator

Caroline Keevil with Cinevator

Caroline lost her best horse, Marshal Zhukov, in a freak accident in the field this year, when he broke a leg.

She said: “We were devastated. It was an enormous blow for a yard like ours and we loved him so much. Cinevator’s  win is a boost for us and we have other horses, such as Larks Wing, in the pipeline, but nothing will compensate for the loss of Marshal Zhukov.”

 

 

Britain’s horse crisis continues, warns World Horse Welfare

World Horse Welfare has called for action to stem a growing horse crisis in Britain. It has warned that a growing number of  irresponsible owners are dumping equines on good grazing and on land owned by other people.

Horses are being dumped on grassland all over the country. Photo by Steve Mason

Horses are being dumped on grassland all over the country. Photo by Steve Mason

A spokesman for the charity said: ” The reality is that these horses are left to deteriorate without proper care and they will die unless someone intervenes.”

In reality different horse rescue groups and charities take in some of the abandoned equines, but cannot cope with all of them.

” Charities cannot cope with mass numbers like those that are currently being abandoned all over the UK right now. We need help to put a stop to this,” said Field Officer for WHW, Alana Chapman.

She had earlier found a mare dumped in a field of more than 100 horses in Kent with a dead foal still trapped in her birth canal. It was impossible to save the life of the mare, which had to be destroyed.

“Stories like this are distressing but we need to highlight the enormous problems being faced by charities like ourselves,” she said.

Recently the Welsh Government vowed to take legislative action to prevent fly-grazing, which has such horrific consequences. But so far English authorities have seen no reason to take any action despite persistent warnings from equine charities that the problem is escalating.

To read full details about the situation, how you can help, and field officer Alana  Chapman’s full report see: www.worldhorsewelfare.org

 

 

 

 

Top class riding school ‘disappointed’ by lack of applications for apprenticeships so far this year

A TOP class riding establishment in West Sussex has been disappointed by the interest in apprenticeships so far this year by school leavers. Award-winning Lavant House Stables near Chichester currently has two apprentice vacancies but so far has seen noticeably less applicants than in previous years.

The full team with Lucy at the back with her dog

The full team with Lucy at the back with her dog

Owner Lucy Thomson said: “Since the success of the 2012 Equestrian Olympic and Paralympic teams we have seen a big increase in the numbers of both adults and children wanting to ride.  It is disappointing to see an underwhelming response to our top class apprentice scheme when it is hugely valuable for future employability within this fast growing industry.”

The benefits of apprenticeships as a viable option to further education for young people from  Lavant House has been well proven in the past. They also offer the opportunity to work for a real employer, earning a salary, whilst gaining real qualifications, workplace skills and experience. Employers believe that qualified apprentices are more employable than those with other qualifications. Also the majority stay in employment with two-thirds remaining with their original employer.

General Manager at Lavant House Stables, Amanda Kruger BHSI believes the apprenticeship scheme there is a great stepping stone into full time employment.

She said:”Our apprentices become valued members of our team and are promoted within the business or move on to their ideal jobs at another establishment. We find motivated, hard-working and exceptional young people to start with and help them to gain great vocational and practical skills to an extremely high industry standard.”

Lavant House Stables has run a professional and successful programme for many years for 16 to 18-year-olds, working with the renowned Haddon Training under full government funding. Apprentices work towards NVQ Levels 1 and 2, equivalent to five GCSE’s at Grade C and above. Also provided is training towards  the highly regarded British Horse Society Riding, Horse Knowledge and Care qualifications.

This training involves two to four riding sessions and two stable management sessions per week, building a portfolio over the year documenting their learning and achievements and functional skills.

Lavant House Stables, approved by the British Horse Society, caters for both adults and children, who can enjoy horse riding lessons, activities and events all the year round. It also has its own pony club and an excellent range of horses and ponies.
For more information see http://lhstables.co.uk

Fire Ship wins a Group 3 race in France scoring the biggest victory of his career

West Sussex racehorse, Fire Ship, notched up the biggest victory of his career yet, when winning the Group 3 Prix Quincey Barriere at Deauville at the weekend.

Fire Ship, Neil Callan up, being led in following his French win PHOTO BY JOHN GILMORE john.gilmore@wanadoo.fr

Fire Ship, Neil Callan up, being led in following his French win
PHOTO BY RACING PHOTOGRAPHER JOHN GILMORE :john.gilmore@wanadoo.fr

The Irish bred gelding, originally bought by Peter Winkworth and now owned by him in conjunction with the IGP Partnership, is trained by William Knight at Angmering Park.This was the horse’s seventh win and he has earned more than £100,000 in prize money.

Peter Winkworth explained: “He likes give in the ground and it couldn’t have been better. We all took a helicopter over to Deauville and when  we landed it was pouring with rain. He couldn’t have had a better jockey than Neil Callan.

“Fire Ship is normally tucked in behind, but Neil warned us that the French horses always go at a slower pace and he decided to lead all the way. Although the winning margin was quite small – a short neck- he judged it perfectly and was never going to be beaten. I’d asked him in the weighing room before the race what he thought our chances were, and he replied:’ Well we haven’t  come here just to smell the air!,”he added.

The odds on the horse in the UK were 9-1 but on the French system were 16.8 because the horse was not trained at one of the familiar headquarters stables in England.

Peter had always regarded Fire Ship as a Group horse and added: “I’ve owned horses and previously trained them for many years, but he is the first Flat horse to win seven races for me. I’ve had ones that have won six before, but he is special and has more to come. He is only a seven-year-old and we may consider another Group race in France the day before the Arc for his next run.”

Peter Winkworth (third left) and members of IGP Partnership, owners of Fireship

Peter Winkworth (third left) and members of IGP Partnership, owners of Fire Ship

Peter previously had an impressive training operation at Robins Farm Racing Stables, Chiddingfold, before retiring as a merchant banker and selling the yard, which is  now the base for Olly Stevens. Fire Ship was one horse he retained and now shares the ownership with the small members’ group, IGP Partnership.

Fire Ship has thrived with William Knight, who is based at Lower Coombe Stables, in Angmering Park, where he has full use the outstanding facilities owned by Lady Herries.

TrainerWillaim Knight

TrainerWillaim Knight

His string is in fine form and last week sent out Beacon Lady to win the Amateur Derby at Epsom, making it her fourth win on the trot- with the other three at Brighton.  This horse clearly like downland courses and has been shrewdly place in her races by her trainer.

Aussie Reigns will be winning again soon

Aussie Reigns will be winning again soon

Stablemate Aussie Reigns, a three-year-old, was unlucky not to win at Goodwood’s Bank Holiday meeting, when beaten into second place by only a neck in a ten furlong race. He has two victories over eight furlongs to his credit earlier in the season, and also won as a juvenile, and is sure to get his head in front again soon.

British show jumping is riding on a high with fine performances in European Championships

British Show Jumping is again leading the world field, following on from Olympic medal success in 2012 to winning team gold at the European Show Jumping Championships last week in Denmark.

The last time Britain won a European gold medal was in Rotterdam in 1989

Victorious British team

Victorious British team: Photo British Show Jumping Association

The British squad of Ben Maher (Cella), William Funnell (Billy Congo), Michael Whitaker (Viking V) and Scott Brash (Hello Sanctos) also put in such outstanding performances that three of them-Whitaker, Brash and Maher were high enough in points to go forward  to the individual medal event over the weekend.

Michael Whitaker with his own Viking V was in 18th place after the team event, whilst Scott Brash with Lady Kirkham’s and Lord & Lady Harris’s Hello Sanctos was in 10th.  Ben Maher, who had led from the opening day aboard Jane Clark’s grey mare Cella, was in pole position , having jumped flawlessly through each round.

At the weekend just Frenchman Roger Yves-Bost were left to fight it out for the gold medal, with Scott Brash having secured bronze position. Maher put in another clear round and zero penalty. Roger Yves-Bost followed with the same- but put in a faster time, leaving both British riders to take silver and bronze on the podium.

It was a tremendous British performance, bringing home team gold and two major individual medals. 53-year-old Whitaker was competing in his 10th European Championships.

“It is an unbelievable achievement. I am absolutely delighted – they all rode unbelievably,” said Great Britain team manager Rob Hoekstra.

“It was a different kind of tension from London. We were in front here, which we weren’t in London, and everyone is trying to catch up with you in that situation.”

 

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The road to the World Equestrian Games begins at Burghley

Wendy Nix previews the forthcoming Burghley Horse trials here. All images:Kingswood Associates

The trophy they all want to win..... Photo Kingswood Associates

The trophy they all want to win…..
Photo Kingswood Associates

World Equestrian Games starts at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials which take place from Thursday September 5 to Sunday September 8. Around 86 horses have been entered, representing 11 different nations to give this event a truly international flavour.

Fresh from riding for Britain at the European Championships will be William Fox-Pitt, Tina Cook, Pippa Funnell, Tom McEwan and Izzy Taylor. Sussex rider Clare Lewis will be among the runners on her ‘jumping machine’ Sidnificant. The pair put up their best 4* performance ever at Burghley last year, finishing in 15th place after two superb days of jumping.

Among his choice of rides will be William’s 2011 Burghley winner, Parklane Hawk. William, who holds the most number of wins at this historic venue (six) will be all out to increase his record and beat top New Zealand pair, Andrew Nicholson who won here in 2012 on Avebury and this year’s Badminton winner, Jock Paget.

Having stumped both William and Andrew’s dreams of winning the Rolex Grand Slam last May, Jock will be keen to add the second leg of the triple-title series to his name before heading to Kentucky to complete the Slam.

 

BTEvent Director Elizabeth Inman and course designer Mark Phillips at the Discovery Valley Ohoto Kingswood Associates

BTEvent Director Elizabeth Inman and course designer Mark Phillips at the Discovery Valley Ohoto Kingswood Associates

But before all that, the riders will have to get to grips with Mark Phillips’ cross-country course which, this year, will be throwing up some surprises and guarantee the need for total concentration from both rider and horse. To begin, there are two jumping elements in the first 100 yards before an easy gallop down to the third, a brand new picnic table and bench. Up to here, there will be two-way traffic as riders heading for home will be on a track adjacent to those setting off.

The first combination comes in the main arena and then the really serious stuff starts down at Fence 5, the Discovery Valley, being jumped from left to right, followed by a circuit up to the Leaf Pit and a return to the Discovery Valley to jump Fence 8, another combination. Mark calculates that spectators will be watching riders every two minutes through this part of the course – a brave move that will see the two sets of jump stewards concentrating every bit as much as the competitors.

 

Lion Bridge Photo Kingswood Associates

Lion Bridge
Photo Kingswood Associates

The road to next year’s World Equestrian Games starts at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials which take place from Thursday September 5 to Sunday September 8. Around 86 horses have been entered, representing 11 different nations to give this event a truly international flavour. Fresh from riding for Britain at the European Championships will be William Fox-Pitt, Tina Cook, Pippa Funnell, Tom McEwan and Izzy Taylor. Local rider Clare Lewis will be among the runners on her ‘jumping machine’ Sidnificant. The pair put up their best 4* performance ever at Burghley last year, finishing in 15th place after two superb days of jumping.

Among his choice of rides will be William’s 2011 Burghley winner, Parklane Hawk. William, who holds the most number of wins at this historic venue (six) will be all out to increase his record and beat top New Zealand pair, Andrew Nicholson who won here in 2012 on Avebury and this year’s Badminton winner, Jock Paget. Having stumped both William and Andrew’s dreams of winning the Rolex Grand Slam last May, Jock will be keen to add the second leg of the triple-title series to his name before heading to Kentucky to complete the Slam.

But before all that, the riders will have to get to grips with Mark Phillips’ cross-country course which, this year, will be throwing up some surprises and guarantee the need for total concentration from both rider and horse. To begin, there are two jumping elements in the first 100 yards before an easy gallop down to the third, a brand new picnic table and bench. Up to here, there will be two-way traffic as riders heading for home will be on a track adjacent to those setting off.

The first combination comes in the main arena and then the really serious stuff starts down at Fence 5, the Discovery Valley, being jumped from left to right, followed by a circuit up to the Leaf Pit and a return to the Discovery Valley to jump Fence 8, another combination. Mark calculates that spectators will be watching riders every two minutes through this part of the course – a brave move that will see the two sets of jump stewards concentrating every bit as much as the competitors.

Further out on the course Mark has made adjustments to old favourites with new technical difficulties, freshened up others and added easy-option elements for tiring horses. After the lake combination towards the end of the course riders will turn right and head to a new complex which takes them back into water and directly under the magnificent Lion Bridge with Burghley House in the background before the final fences and home. And then, of course, there’s the show jumping; Clare Lewis was one of only four clear rounds inside the time in 2012.

Winning Burghley has never been easy and this year’s victor will be worthy of their crown, whoever it is

The venue isn’t just famous for the horse trials; back in 1961 when it all started at Burghley there were just 66 trade stands. In 2013 there will be over 50 in the Food Hall alone and around 300 altogether – a real shopaholic’s paradise. National Hunt supporters will be delighted to see retired chasers Kauto Star and Neptune Collonges parading in the Main Arena on Sunday. Kauto, winner of no less than five King George VI Chases and two Cheltenham Gold Cups will be ridden by his new jockey, eventer Laura Collett. No doubt Laura will receive her own warm applause as she makes a return to the saddle after a horrendous rotational fall earlier this year. The grey Neptune Collonges won punters’ hearts when topping an illustrious career with the Grand National crown in 2012. He will be ridden by owner John Hales’ daughter, Lisa. Both horses have taken well to their new discipline of dressage since retiring from the race-track.

Another ‘horse’ that has delighted audiences across the nation is Joey, the War Horse puppet. Joey will be making appearances at the Celebrity Talk area – probably upstaging the human stars! Burghley has always put on a great show; this year looks to be no exception.

For more information visit: http://www.burghley-horse.co.uk and www.burghley-horse.co.uk

 

 

 

Kauto Star and Neptune Collonges to parade at Burghley Horse Trials

Plenty of action  promised Photo:Burghley Horse Trials

Plenty of action promised
Photo:Burghley Horse Trials

The world’s best event horses will have two major rivals for the crowd’s affection on the final day of The Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials (5-8 September).

Two of the greatest National Hunt racehorses of all time – both trained by former champion trainer Paul Nicholls – will parade under saddle on Sunday.

Kauto Star is one of the most popular horses ever to have set foot on a racecourse. His record of five King George VI Chases at Kempton Park on Boxing Day is unlikely to be beaten, and his two Cheltenham Gold Cup victories will live long in the memories of racing fans. He will be ridden by Laura Collett, with whom he has been enjoying learning a new discipline, dressage, as well as hacking out and popping the odd jump.

Kauto Star Photo: Johnson Images

Kauto Star
Photo: Johnson Images

He will be joined by Neptune Collonges, whose highly successful career as a steeplechaser was crowned by an emotional win in the 2012 Grand National at Aintree. Lisa Hales, in whose father John’s yellow colours he ran, has been competing him in the dressage arena and will ride him at Land Rover Burghley.

“We are thrilled that two such famous horses are paying their first visits to Land Rover Burghley,” said Event Director, Elizabeth Inman. “They are both such perfect examples of how racehorses can enjoy a fulfilling second career after their racing days are over, and are bound to be a very popular attraction. We are also delighted that Laura Collett is sufficiently recovered from her fall at Tweseldown last month to ride Kauto Star.”

They are not the only veterans of the turf on display on Sunday.  Land Rover Burghley held a very popular qualifier for the SEIB Racehorse to Riding Horse Championship in 2012, and once again the main ring will host these heroes enjoying a new life as they try to qualify for the Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) in October.

 

Penitent heads nine runners for Greene King Supreme Stakes at Goodwood on Sunday

Penitent returns from a two-month break in the £60,000 Group Three Greene King Supreme Stakes (4.30pm) over seven furlongs on the final day of Goodwood’s August Bank Holiday meeting, Sunday, August 25.The seven-year-old was last seen coming home a creditable eighth behind Declaration Of War in the Group One Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot in June.

In form trainer David O' Meara

In form trainer David O’ Meara

David O’Meara’s charge developed into a high-class performer last season, annexing a pair of Group Two contests and chasing home Gordon Lord Byron in the Group One Prix de la Foret at Longchamp in October.

O’Meara reported: “Ideally, we could do with a drop of rain but Penitent is in good order. He was second in the Foret over seven furlongs last year so the trip will be fine and he is versatile so the track shouldn’t be a problem either. He doesn’t have a penalty and hopefully this is a good opportunity for him.”

His eight opponents include the 2011 victor Libranno,one of two representatives for Richard Hannon, Irish raider Custom Cut and the Marcus Tregoning-trained, who was third in the Group Two bet365 Lennox Stakes at Glorious Goodwood on July 30.

Hughie Morrison saddles talented six-year-old Pastoral Player, while Godolphin will be represented by French Group Three scorer Lockwood. The line-up is completed by Listed winners Professor and Well Acquainted, and the Michael Attwater-trained Bronze Prince.

Today, Saturday’s seven-race programme also features the £40,000 Group Three Whiteley Clinic Prestige Stakes (2.20pm) and the £100,000 Betfair Cash Our Heritage Handicap (2.55pm), both over seven furlongs.

Bell is aiming impressive Valen at Group Three at Goodwood on Saturday

IMPRESSIVE maiden scorer Valen will step up in trip and class for the £40,000 Group Three Whiteley Clinic Prestige Stakes (2.20pm) over seven furlongs on the second day of Goodwood’s August Bank Holiday meeting, tomorrow, Saturday, August 24.

Glorious Goodwood -top horses will draw the crowds Photo courtesy of Charles Scott

Top class racing at Gooodwood over Bank Holiday weekend
Photo courtesy of Charles Scott

The daughter of Acclamation was an encouraging fifth in a competitive six-furlong maiden at Glorious Goodwood on July 31, and showed the benefit of that experience with an effortless three-length success over the same trip at Ffos Las on August 14. Trainer Michael Bell revealed: “Valen came out of Ffos Las fine and is an intended runner in the Whiteley Clinic Prestige Stakes.

“She’s had an easy week and we will just keep her ticking over between now and the weekend. She ran a very nice race from a bad draw at Goodwood under hands and heels and then won impressively at Ffos Las with a horse who was second in a Newmarket maiden back in third.

“Saturday’s race looks like a suitable opportunity and the step up to seven furlongs will be to her advantage. She is on an upward curve and hopefully she will give a very good account of herself. She has a plenty of scope and I think she is still a bit on the weak side, so she will furnish up nicely over the winter.”

Valen could clash with Ed Dunlop’s impressive course and distance scorer Amazing Maria, Ascot maiden winner Lilyfire, from the stable of Roger Charlton, and Listed runner-up  Qawaassem,  trained by Charlie Hills.

The seven-race card also features the £100,000 Betfair Celebration Mile (3.30pm, 14 confirmations), in which Afsare will bid to follow up his facile success in last week’s Sovereign Stakes, while the exciting Cape Peron  could attempt to atone for a narrow defeat at Glorious Goodwood in the £100,000 Betfair Cash Out Heritage Handicap at 2.55pm .