Jockey Leighton Aspell wins Hennessy Gold Cup

Jumps jockey Leighton Aspell (38) earned another well-deserved big win on board Oliver Sherwood’s Many Clouds to win the Hennessy Gold Cup Grade 3 Handicap over three miles two furlongs at Newbury on Saturday.

This rider, who turned his back on race riding six years ago to be assistant to Flat trainer John Dunlop, after no longer enjoying race riding, has certainly scaled the heights since he returned to the saddle.

Jockey Leighton Aspell

Jockey Leighton Aspell     Photo:Jeannie Knight

Last season was his best ever in terms of winners and his returning enthusiasm for race riding culminated in his unforgettable win on board Pineau De Re to win the Crabbie’s Grand National.

He has been steadily clocking up wins this season and he earned another well-deserved big victory on board Oliver Sherwood’s Many Clouds to win the Hennessy Gold Cup Grade 3 Handicap over three miles two furlongs at Newbury on Saturday.

It was also a special moment for Oliver Sherwood, being his first win in the race since Arctic Call in 1990. And it was undoubtedly the brilliant ride given to the horse by the 38-year-old rider that was a major contributory factor, when the horse appeared to be struggling when turning from home.

Leighton Aspell and Many Clouds   Photo: John Simpson Photo John Simpson

Leighton Aspell and Many Clouds Photo:
Photo John Simpson

The seven-year-old, which had never won previously beyond two-and-a-half miles, responded to his rider to go by Merry King and fended off a challenge from Venetia William’s Houblon Des Obeaux which was second at 50-1.

Leighton Aspell paid tribute to the team spirit in Oliver Sherwood’s yard, saying: “We all put a lot of work in and it is good to get the opportunity to ride these big winners. It has been a wonderful year. I was sitting on him for a long time and was conscious not to get to the front too soon as it was a new trip.”

Back in action today, he will be  riding Oliver Sherwood’s grey Morning Reggie in a Limited Handicap Chase at Leicester and will be on local ground at Plumpton, tomorrow, Monday.

Tomorrow at Plumpton, he has been booked by trainer Lucy Wadham for two rides- on board Mistral Reine in a mares’ handicap hurdle and Whispering Speed in the National Hunt Flat Race.

Richard Rowe’s West Sussex stable hits form

West Sussex trainer Richard Rowe has started to hit form with new and younger horses in his string.  While stable star Tatenenen, owned by the Stewart family, is currently being fine-tuned for a tilt at the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup Grade 3 handicap chase at Cheltenham on December 13,  some newer names are beginning to taste success.

Aiming for Cheltenham in December: Tatenen with Sullingtont rainer Richard Rowe.  Photo : Jeannie Knight

Aiming for Cheltenham in December: Tatenen with Sullington trainer Richard Rowe.                Photo : Jeannie Knight

At a jumps meeting at Lingfield Park last week, Strange Bird won a novice handicap chase in the mud in no uncertain style, partnered by local jockey Leighton Aspell. This nine-year-old bay mare joined Ashley House Stables, on the edge of the downs at Sullington in February this year.

She scored an early victory at Plumpton for the popular owners’ group, Richard Rowe Racing Partnership, last season and has continued to thrive. Owners in the group share the successes of all three partnership horses- giving plenty of racing enjoyment across the board.

Richard said: “She is 16.3hh and seems as long as she is tall. Chasing is certainly her game and she won extremely well at Lingfield for the group. She should go on to win more.”

Richard Rowe with Grace and Fortune (left)  Strange Bird Photo:Jeannie Knight

Richard Rowe with Grace and Fortune (left) Strange Bird Photo:Jeannie Knight

Richard had two runners at Lingfield Park that day when Grace And Fortune was second in a hotly contested mares maiden hurdle, beaten only three lengths by an odds-on favourite trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies.

Like Strange Bird, seven-year-old Grace and Fortune is a Richard Rowe Racing Partnership horse. This  bay mare has plenty of options for the future, and after such a good run at Lingfield, may well return to that track for its next jumps meeting on Saturday December 13 to run in the handicap hurdle race.

Meanwhile this tough mare has schooled well over fences and chases will definitely be an option for her in the future, giving long-term appeal for anyone joining the owners’ group. Three horses run under this banner, with group members enjoying shares in all three horses at a highly competitive price.

Whatagoa, third Richard Rowe Racing Partnership horse. Photo: Jeannie Knight

The third partnership horses is Whatagoa, a seven-year-old mare who should come into her own this season. She finished a close third at 80-1 in a 15-runner handicap hurdle at Plumpton in May beaten by only by three lengths. Whatagoa has benefited from a good summer break and will be back in action soon.

Apart from these good value partnership horses,  Alteranthela , a ten-year-old Alderbook gelding owned by Tim Clowes, made his seasonal reappearance at Fontwell Park last week and was going well until making a mistake three out in a handicap chase, finishing fourth. This horse loves soft and heavy ground and will thrive on current going.

Alteranthela, Leighton Aspell up, at Fontwell

Alteranthela, Leighton Aspell up, at Fontwell

At Fontwell Park last week, Like Sully, a six-year-old brown gelding owned by Pulborough-based Winterfield Farms, put in a good effort on heavy ground in his first hurdle race. Winterfield Farms are long-time owners with Richard and this gelding had been point-to-pointing before they bought him.

He had run in two National Hunt Flat races for experience and was a picture in the paddock, winning Best Turned Out horse award. He weakened only in the final stages of the race and should go on to improve for this experience.

Meanwhile Tatenenen, like his stablemates, continues to thrive at the Sullington base, which is unaffected by floods and heavy ground in the area. The yard is based on the edge of the South Downs with a network of more than 100 bridleways close at hand. There are no roads or traffic near the yard and the string can use different downland routes. This not only keeps the horses fit but also interested in life , with this immense variety of surroundings and some excellent gallops put to good use.

Like all horses in the string,Tatenen has thrived on this rich variety and rewarded Richard with some outstanding wins over the years- ranging from regular wins in the Bet Victor Chase at Ascot in January, winning the Fulke Walwyn Trophy at Newbury and earning excellent place money in Grade and Listed races at Cheltenham.

To find out more about enjoying the benefits of a partnership horse, contact:  01903 742871; 07831 345636 or email


Death of racehorse trainer Lady Herries

Lady Herries, eldest daughter of the 16th Duke of Norfolk, has died aged 76, following a recent illness. She was the 14th Lady Herries of Terregles, the eldest of four sisters, and lived at Angmering Park, near Arundel, from where she trained racehorses with great success, both on the Flat and over jumps.

Married to the late England cricket star,  Sir Colin Cowdrey, later Lord Cowdrey, who died in 2000, she leaves three sisters: Lady Mary Mumford, Lady Sarah Clutton and the Most Honourable Jane, Marchioness of Lothian.

Renowned as an excellent judge of horses and breeding, her first major success as a racehorse trainer was with the grey Sheriff’s Star, bred and owned by her late mother, Lavinia, Duchess of Norfolk, which won the Coronation Cup at Epsom in 1998. She also enjoyed another prestigious training success when Taufan’s Melody won the 1998 Caulfield Cup in Australia.

Celtic Swing with work rider Photo Jeannie Knight

Celtic Swing with work rider  Bob Mason at the press day
Photo Jeannie Knight

But the horse she trained, which really captured the hearts of the public, was Celtic Swing, bred by her mother and owned by Peter Savill. As a juvenile, he won the Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster in 1994 in unprecedented style, beating the Aiden O’ Brien-trained Annus Mirabilis by 12 lengths. On his second start as a two-year-old, he beat the highly reputed Singspiel at Ascot by an easy eight lengths.

The following year, with Celtic Swing  heading for the 2,000 Guineas,  Sir Colin Cowdrey persuaded his wife, who despite all this success was a shy and retiring person, that Angmering Park should be open to racing journalists and cameramen, to see the talented Celtic Swing.

This outstanding colt was accompanied by regular work rider Bob Mason. Sir Colin Cowdrey’s daughter-in-law, top lady amateur jockey Maxine Cowdrey, who married his son Graham, was also there.

Lady Herries at the press day at Angmering Park with  her husband, Sir Colin Cowdrey, later Lord Cowdrey, and amateur lady rider Maxine Cowdrey

Lady Herries at the press day at Angmering Park with her husband, Sir Colin Cowdrey, later Lord Cowdrey, and amateur lady rider Maxine Cowdrey Photo: Jeannie Knight

In the 2,000 Guineas, Celtic Swing was beaten a head by Pennekamp, but went on to win the French Derby, running at Chantilly in preference to Epsom.  Owner Peter Savill paid tribute to Lady Herries, saying: “She trained two Group One winners for me, in itself a fine achievement. She was a wonderful lady and I spent many happy days with her and Colin Cowdrey.

“Celtic Swing was obviously an outstanding horse, but I am sure he wouldn’t have achieved all he did without her. He didn’t have the best conformation and she nursed him along, looking after his best interests. I had utmost faith in her as a trainer.”

Trainer William Knight, based at Lower Coombe Stables at Angmering Park said she had been ill for a while but described her as ‘ a very kind and generous lady’, saying she was a very shrewd trainer who loved her horses and all her animals.

Few people knew that another of her passions was rescuing, and rehoming donkeys from Greece on the 11,000 acre estate, She  ensured that they were able to enjoy grassland by day and slept in a heated stable with a plentiful supply of fresh hay at night, and had the best possible veterinary attention when needed.

Two years ago there were nine of them, after a white-nosed donkey named Fotis, and a companion named Christoforos joined an existing seven, having made the five-day journey to their new home on a special equine vehicle.

She was a very special lady indeed- extremely modest and a private person, much loved, highly respected, and a talented racehorse trainer.

The funeral will be private but there will be a Memorial Service in Arundel Cathedral on December 16 at noon.

Doubles for trainers and jockeys at Fontwell Park

Wiltshire trainer Neil Mullholland  made the trip to Fontwell Park yesterday pay off with a double initiated by 2-1 shot Southfield Royale ridden by champion jockey AP McCoy in the opening Novice Hurdle race.

Tony McCoy brings Southfield Royale into the winner’s spot Photo:Jeannie Knight

It was completed when the progressive Ballydague Lady was an easy winner of the conditional jockey’s handicap steeplechase, ridden by Martin McIntyre. It continued this trainer’s fine run of form, putting him on the 30 winner mark for the season.

Somchine, trained by Seamus Mullins at Amesbury and ridden by Andrew Thornton, took the Novices Handicap Steeplechase comfortably after a patient training preparation, with Andrew Thornton in the saddle.

” It takes such a long time to make a successful chaser. It is something you can’t rush and it makes a big difference to give a horse time and experience. It means having a lot of patience,”  said Seamus Mullins

Trainer Seamus Mullins (right) with Somchine, owners and jockey Andrew Thornton

Trainer Seamus Mullins (right) with Somchine, owners and jockey Andrew Thornton Photo: Jeannie Knight

Jockey Tom Cannon was in the spotlight, demonstrating his skills in the saddle in rides for Hampshire trainer Chris Gordon. He won the Handicap Hurdle Race on Lightentertainment , owned by the Notoverbig Partnership, coming with a late run to win by three-and-a–half lengths.

Tom Cannon with Lightentertainment and owners  Photo:Jeannie Knight

Tom Cannon with Lightentertainment and owners Photo:Jeannie Knight

He was out with the washing, on board Promised Wings in the Nigel Marton Memorial Handicap Steeplechase, with the horse trailing at the back at the field, but persistent riding  got him back in touch, eating up ground in the closing stages.

Volio  Vincente, ridden by James Best, was a good winner of the  Handicap Hurdle Race for trainer Carroll Gray of Bridgwater, whose wife Christine saddled up at Fontwell. The couple have moved into alternative stables after their Bridgwater premises were wrecked by devastating flooding around a year ago.

“We are in a lovely spot now with eight boxes and this horse did well for us today. All being well, he will run at Plumpton on Monday,” she said.

Volio Vincente with        Gray, jockey James Best and members of optimumracing

Volio Vincente with Christine, jockey James Best and members of optimumracing

A seven-year-old, the winner had taken the same race a year ago and was well ridden by James Best. He is owned by optimumracing, and shares are still available in this racing group, and anyone interested can see him and make contact with the group at Plumpton.

A three horse race on the card, the three mile three furlong handicap hurdle race, turned into a crawl, with American Life, Sweet Boy Vic and Orvita, barely getting out of a walk for the first circuit, none of them prepared to make the running. It was only in the closing stages that the pace hotted up and good riding by Tom Cannon enabled Chris Gordon’s Sweet Boy Vic to win the race by six lengths from American Life.

Sweet Boy  Vic and Tom Cannon after their victory

Sweet Boy Vic and Tom Cannon after their victory Photo: Jeannie Knight

Plenty of statistics came to the fore afterwards, with the the time of the race said to be slower than the fastest Grand National…..But it meant also a double for Tom Cannon and Chris Gordon.

Jockey James Best went on to secure a double of his own by winning the National Hunt Flat race for Kevin Bishop, also of Bridgwater, on board Somerset Jem.

The next Fontwell Park meeting is on December 9 with a Festive Jumpers competition to win a free membership for Fontwell Park for 2015. Last year saw plenty of colourful knitwear worn for this contest.

Then there will be the traditional Boxing Day meeting, with large screen viewing of the King George V1 feature race at Kempton Park, plus plenty of entertainment for children.



Heavy ground will test Fontwell Park runners

Heavy ground will test runners at Fontwell Park’s meeting today (Wednesday) when local trainer Richard Rowe, based at Sullington, sends previous heavy ground course and distance winner Alteranthela to contest the Nigel Martin Memorial handicap chase over three miles and two furlongs.

Trainer Richard Rowe

His stables enjoyed an excellent winner yesterday at Lingfield Park yesterday when nine-year-old mare Strange Bird, owned by the Richard Rowe Racing Partnership scored her first win, ridden by Leighton Aspell.

Runners for this good value racing partnership are obviously in good form, for another horse in the group, seven-year-old bay mare, Grace and Fortune, finished second at 10-1 in the Mares Maiden Hurdle race.

Fontwell runner Alteranthela is proven on heavy ground, but the 10-year-old is having his first run since May. But he too will the advantage of Leighton Aspell in the saddle, and has only four other runners to beat in this race.

In the opening Novice Hurdle race over two miles four furlongs, the pick of the field looks to be Coologue, trained by Charlie Longsdon with Noel Fehily in the saddle. Although Tony McCoy is booked to ride Neil Mulholland’s, Southfield Royale, this runner’s only previous outings was a win in a National Hunt Flat race.

Jockey Noel Fehily

Jockey Noel Fehily

Trainer Kevin Bishop won with Withy Mills at the last meeting at Fontwell and as a course and distance winner with James Best in the saddle, has to be respected on this ground. But this gutsy mare again comes up against Home For Tea, trained byTom Symonds and ridden  by Felix De Giles, a combination not beaten by far last time.

Evan Williams and jockey Paul Maloney could take the two mile four furlong handicap hurdle with MaketheMostofnow, which has a low weight and form on heavy ground.


Botti hoping Glendisar will continue stable’s good form

Newmarket handler Marco Botti is hoping that Grendisar  can continue his impressive start to the All-Weather season with victory in the £40,000 Listed Wild Flower Stakes  over a mile and a half on polytrack at Kempton Park tomorrow, November 26 at 6.45pm.

Competitive racing on the all-weather Photo: Kempton Park Racecourse

Competitive racing on the all-weather
Photo: Kempton Park Racecourse

The four-year-old colt belied a 201-day absence to post a neck victory over the same course and distance in the Listed Betdaq 50% Commission Refund Floodlit Stakes on November 5.

Martin Harley, who partnered Grendisar to that victory, rides the son of Invincible Spirit again. Grendisar enjoyed a progressive campaign during the inaugural All-Weather Championships last season, winning a pair of handicaps over 12 furlongs at Kempton Park and Lingfield Park and going down by a neck over the same distance in the All-Weather Championships Apprentice Handicap on Good Friday.

Botti reported yesterday: “Grendisar came out his victory in the Floodlit Stakes well and seems in good form. I thought that he won cosily that day considering it was his first run after a break.

Trainer Marco Botti Photo John Simpson

Trainer Marco Botti
Photo John Simpson

“He loves the track and the surface and, while his 2lb penalty makes it tougher, winning again is not impossible. He goes back to Kempton with a good chance.

“We have felt that he is one of those horses who would keep improving and his form on the All-Weather has always been consistent. He has been an unlucky loser on a couple of occasions, going down by a short-head and a neck, but he is a tough horse.

“I think eventually we will drop him back to a mile and a quarter and see how he handles it, with the Winter Derby and Easter Classic in mind. We tried racing him over two miles and he didn’t stay, so he would have to go the 10-furlong route for the Good Friday championships.”

Wednesday sees a field of 10 for the Wild Flower Stakes, which also features Floodlit Stakes runner-up Fire Fighting  (Mark Johnston/Joe Fanning), Group Three winnerHarris Tweed (William Haggas/George Baker) plus Rawaki (Andrew Balding/Thomas Brown) and Livias Dream  (Ed Walker/Luke Morris), who have both finished second in Listed company.

Kalaatah (Saeed bin Suroor/James Doyle) is unbeaten in two starts, both over a mile and a half on Polytrack, while French raider Billabong (Pascal Bary FR/Cristian Demuro) is a prolific winner in his native Morocco.



Godolphin qualifies two for championships at Lingfield Park

Four Seasons and Super Kid provided Godolphin with a one/two in the first Fast-Track Qualifier for the Three-Year-Old All-Weather Championships category, the seven-furlong 32Red Conditions Stakes, at Lingfield Park at the weekend.

Four Seasons, a two-year old colt by Dubawi, gained an automatic place in the £150,000 Three-Year-Old Championships over a mile back at Lingfield Park on Good Friday, April 3. Trainer Charlie Appleby revealed afterwards: “Four Seasons will go straight to the final. He will have a break now. A step-up in trip will suit him. Lingfield Park is a quick track and he got there in the end today.”

A Dubawi two-year-old colt, Four Seasons gained an automatic place in the £150,000 Three-Year-Old Championships over a mile back at Lingfield Park on Good Friday, April 3.

Trainer Charlie Appleby revealed afterwards: “Four Seasons will go straight to the final. He will have a break now. A step-up in trip will suit him. Lingfield Park is a quick track and he got there in the end today.”

The evens favourite has won both his races on Polytrack, defying top-weight in great style in at Kempton Park nursery on November 5.


Jockey Adam Kirby Photo Jeannie Knight

Jockey Adam Kirby
Photo Jeannie Knight

Partnered by Adam Kirby, Four Seasons was held up in second last place of the seven runners before making up some ground on the leader on the outside.

Then 11/4 chance Super Kid, trained by Saeed bin Suroor and ridden by James Doyle, went for home first and led with well over a furlong to race but Four Seasons came with a strong late run to go past to score by a length in 1m 23.15s. Super Kid held on to second by a neck from Qatar Road (Marco Botti/Martin Harley).

Kirby commented: “Four Seasons was a little bit fresh early. We jumped off and they went a nice pace. I took him back once and then again just to get cover. It wasn’t ideal.He didn’t take the last turn at all well but, once I got him levelled up, he was always going to get there.”

Jockey James Doyle   Photo Jeannie Knight

Jockey James Doyle was on  board Super Kid
Photo Jeannie Knight

Horses qualify for the seven championship contests on the £1.1-million All-Weather Championships Finals Day (Good Friday, April 3, 2015) by winning a specified “Fast Track Qualifier” or running in a minimum of three races at Britain’s five All-Weather tracks, Lingfield Park, Southwell and Wolverhampton, owned by ARC, The Jockey Club’s Kempton Park and Chelmsford City, between October 30 and March 30.

Alternatively, one of the three qualifying runs can come at Dubai’s Meydan Racecourse (dirt) or on the All-Weather surfaces at Ireland’s Dundalk and the French tracks of Cagnes Sur Mer, Chantilly and Deauville.


Trainer hopes Sire De Grugy will be back for Cheltenham 2015

Trainer Gary Moore’s star horse, Sire De Grugy, which won the Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham in March, is now out for the remainder of 2014, following a scan on his pelvis. He had won six out of seven races last season in brilliant style, partnered by Jamie Moore.

He will now by-pass the Tingle Creek Chase at Sandon early in December, where he had been due to meet Sprinter Sacre. The eight-year-old gelding, who is always ridden out by the trainer’s son, jockey Jamie Moore, had been found to be lame in his box a fews days previously.

Sire De Grugy with Jamie Moore  Photo: Jeannie Knight

Sire De Grugy with Jamie Moore Photo: Jeannie Knight

Gary’s wife, Jayne, explained: ” He had been perfectly sound when he came back in, and the injury was discovered later. We think he did it when rolling in his box, and then he went sound again. But we ordered a scan as a precaution to find out if there was an underlying problem.

“Jamie was really upset about and couldn’t understand it since the horse had been sound after exercise.”

The scan last Wednesday has revealed some heat in the horse’s hip, but Gary Moore hopes that the horse will still be able to defend his crown at Cheltenham next year. The popular chestnut had been due to make his debut of the season at Cheltenham in the Schloer Chase, but was ruled out of the race three days before when he was found to be lame.

Sire De Grugy thrilled crowds at Plumpton last year when he was worked on the track by Jamie Moore.  Photo: Jeannie Knight

Sire De Grugy thrilled crowds at Plumpton last year when he was worked on the track by Jamie Moore. Photo: Jeannie Knight

Following the scan he has been confined initially to exercise on a horse-walker as a precaution, though no stress fracture or fracture of the pelvis was found on the scan.

Gary Moore told reporters: ” He did have a hot area showing up in his hip, which is strange. That’s the only significant thing that they could find, and it is a mystery. But the way forward is for him to be back on the walker for a month and then we will rescan in a month’s time. He won’t run again this year, but hopefully he will be back in the New Year, fingers crossed.”

Owner speaks out about funding loss for retraining of ex-racehorses

RACEHORSE owner Susan Willett has expressed dismay and incomprehension  about shock plans by Retraining of Racehorses (RoR)  affecting funding for four long-established sponsored centres dedicated to retraining racehorses, including Moorcroft in West Sussex.

She has spoken out following  revelation of a new pilot scheme, which will be based at World Horse Welfare’s rescue and rehoming centre in Norfolk. Currently, racehorses which need retraining before they can be rehomed are sent directly to four charities in the country, which do expert and invaluable work to transform them into equines with a future outside racing.

Former racehorses Spirit Son and Charles Street Lad, happy in racing retirement, have a fulfilling role after racing thanks to Greatwood

Former racehorses Spirit Son and Charles Street Lad, happy in racing retirement, have a fulfilling role after racing thanks to Greatwood     Photo courtesy of Greatwood

This enables them to go on to lead happy and active lives as either competition horses in other spheres, or simpy as riding horses with caring new owners.
But RoR chief executive Di Arbuthnot said at the recent conference: “What RoR was lacking was an even geographical spread of locations equipped and resourced to deal with former racehorses. We hope this pilot scheme will in time open the door for RoR to work with all of World Horse Welfare’s rescue and rehoming centres. Racehorse owners and trainers have got to become accountable for the future of horses when they leave racing.”

In a telephone comment Mrs Arbuthnot added: “We cannot continue to fund retraining of retired racehorses in the current way.  Owners and trainers have to be responsible for their horses’ future outside racing and must fund their retraining.They have to be made accountable and pay for the retraining, otherwise it is like throwing your granny out on the street when she is too old. Because of that we cannot continue the current funding scheme.”

Until now, the four charities, which are Moorcroft at Slinfold, near Horsham, Greatwood at Marlborough in Wiltshire, Heroes at Wantage, Oxfordshire and Thoroughbred Rehabilitation Centre at Halton in Lancashire, have received quarterly part-funding every year from the charity, which they have supplemented by their own  fundraising efforts.

The RoR charity was originally set up in 2000. Under their contracts, the centres have now received a year’s notice and the funding will cease at the end of 2015. They have been told that any horses sent to them directly by trainers or owners after that date will not receive any funding from the charity.

Ravenclaw on his arrival from racing at Moorcroft

Ravenclaw on his arrival from racing at Moorcroft Photo Mary Henley-Smith

Mrs Willett, and her husband Graham, currently have a highly successful horse, Beau Lake, in training with Lewes trainer Suzy Smith, and their previous horse, Ravenclaw, has been successfully rehomed, now aged 11, thanks to the expert work overseen at Moorcroft under highly qualified manager Mary Henley-Smith.

Ravenclaw, eight months later, having been retrained

Ravenclaw a year later, cantering on a long rein, following careful retraining at Moorcroft: Photo Mark Beaumont

Mrs Willett was so concerned about the announced plans that she has spoken out saying:”I read with dismay and incomprehension that Retraining of Racehorses (ROR) are reducing the funds they give to the four sponsored centres dedicated to retraining racehorses. I am struggling to understand how they think this is going to improve the lives of the horses after their racing careers are over.

“The charity statement also shows a remarkable ignorance  about the majority of racehorse owners.  There are of course the tremendously wealthy few who could afford to pay for their horses to properly retrained- but anyone who has ever done any sort of  fundraising knows that it is often the less well off who are the most generous.

“In my experience many of these very wealthy owners, with a few notable exceptions, have so many horses that they never develop a real relationship with them and as a consequence don’t seem to care what happpens to them once they cannot race anymore. I believe that the majority of owners now are ordinary people who own horses in syndicates, as this is the only way they could afford to be involved.  As costs rise this is becoming ever more the case as the briefest glance at any race card would show.

“I can only see this move being detrimental to the welfare of the horses.  What will owners and trainers do?  Some of the smaller trainers are only just keeping their heads above water anyway.  Will it mean they let horses go straight to people without the knowledge, ability or skill to successfully retrain them?  Sadly I think the answer is yes.

“What will owners like me and my husband do?  I will never forget the anxiety we went through until we found Moorcroft nor the relief and gratitude when they agreed to help us. This move can only mean that the centres are asked to take more horses further down the line which have been given additional problems through the unwitting ignorance of people who take them on with the best of intentions. I have personal experience of Moorcroft and Greatwood and think it is shameful that such centres of excellence are being diminished in this way.”

A statement from Mary Henley-Smith, manager at Moorcroft, said: “There is a huge need for our expertise and experience, as is shown by my current waiting list of caring owners who wish to give their ex-racehorse a good future. We will go on because of them.”

Lingfield Park boosts charity efforts with big fair

Winning from a day at the races has taken on a whole new meaning for charities throughout the region, as Lingfield Park reveals it has boosted good causes in the region by almost £30,000 this year alone.

The Surrey course has given away more than £20,000 worth of ‘spend’ at the Resort as it fulfils its pledge to help as many local causes as possible. On top of that it has raised at least £10,000 for charities through its staff activities and other collections.

Executive director Andrew Perkins said it was impossible to calculate the full value because of the number of bucket collection fundraising during racing at one of Europe’s busiest racecourses.

Shire Horses at Lingfield's Armed Forces charity day this year

Shire Horses at Lingfield’s Armed Forces charity day this year

“As a local business we are passionate about helping as many local causes as we can,’ he explained. ‘Whether this is achieved by holding a specific charity race day – such as our Armed Forces Day every year which raises money for the Royal British Legion – or through us donating prizes for raffles and auctions, we are delighted to help.

‘”All of our 105 full-time staff – and up to 500 casuals in the summer – are local, and many are directly involved in charities through their own personal lives. We all know how tough it is for charities to raise the money they need, so we are pleased to be able to help – and delighted that our generous customers are as equally supportive,” he said.

Tomorrow, Saturday November 22, Lingfield Park is staging its own Charity Christmas Fayre in the Racecourse Pavilion where it has offered free space to charities wishing to come and sell their festive goods.

“As well as the Fayre we are also staging a free professional pantomime – Aladdin – for the youngsters to enjoy while the adults can indulge in some retail therapy and enjoy the racing,’ explained Andrew. “As children don’t pay to come in to Lingfield Park, it’s an opportunity for a great day out for families, without breaking the bank.”

Staff at the resort also go out of their way to help local causes with some of the management team taking part in the Great Sussex Bath Race in the Summer, which involved them building a raft out of a bath and racing it across a lake.

“This was typical of our staff here,” added Mr Perkins. “They raised £1,000 for Chestnut Tree House Hospice and LifeCentre by giving up a Sunday after a hectic race evening the day before. Countless other staff have taken part in a range of events from marathons to cake sales and we have a team of male staff members at the moment growing some interesting facial hair in aid of Movember!
“I am immensely proud of all of them.”