Invicta Lake gives Suzy Smith big Sandown win

LEWES trainer Suzy Smith took Sandown’s Grade 3 Handicap Hurdle on Saturday with 20-1 shot Invicta Lake in an outstanding training performance to take the top prize of more than £28,000.

The eight-year-old gelding, owned by Bernard and Jan Wolford, won by more than four lengths from a highly competitive field in the two mile six furlong contest with Tom O’ Brien in the saddle.

Lewes trainer Suzy Smith Photo: Jeannie Knight


Suzy said after the race: ” I am absolutely delighted. This has been a great day for our small stable,where we have only 20 horses and Tom gave him a great ride. This is a nice horse which will progress and is something to look forward to next year.

“He gets three miles two, so I knew he would stay. I was more concerned about how soft the ground was. Paddy Brennan ( who had ridden the horse before) always said there was a big one in him,  but I had been wondering whether to switch him to fences.

Invicta Lake following a win at Plumpton last year, with owners Bernard and Jan Wolford, then jockey Paddy Brennan, trainer Suzy Smith and assistant trainer Sergio Gordon-Watson   Photo Jeannie Knight

Invicta Lake following a win at Plumpton last year, with owners Bernard and Jan Wolford, then jockey Paddy Brennan, trainer Suzy Smith and assistant trainer Sergio Gordon-Watson Photo Jeannie Knight


She added: “He was unlucky last time at  Cheltenham when he fell. Whether he goes to the Cheltenham Festival after this I’m not sure. He would have to go up in the weights and would have to qualify for the bigger races there.”

She added that her original flagship horse, Material World, had finished third in the same race before she retired from racing and became a broodmare.
Mr and Mrs Wolford said: ” This has been a great day for us. We have got a very nice horse here, which has given us a wonderful win. Suzy is a very under-rated trainer and we bought this horse for only £6,000 after she went to Ireland and found him for us.”

CAPTION 1  Invicta Lake pictured following an earlier win at Plumpton, with owners Bernard and Jan Wolford, then jockey Paddy Brennan, trainer Suzy Smith and assistant trainer Sergion Gordon-Watson   Photo Jeannie Knight

CAPTION 2  headhsot          Trainer Suzie Smith

Jockey George Baker’s latest blog

Jockey George Baker looks back on a double and reflects on rides for the future in his latest blog. Here is what he has to say:

“Barbs Princess trained by Charlie Hills and owned by Barbara James provided me with the first part of a sensational double taking the 32Red Fillies Handicap at Southwell on Tuesday.  Charlie only has a small, select team of horses for the all-weather, but just at the moment they are all running really well.  I’d ridden Barbs Princess on her AW debut at Wolverhampton 12 days before where she won quite nicely, I thought she’d be hard to beat if she handled the Fibresand – which she did very well.

Jockey George Baker Photo courtesy of ARC

Jockey George Baker
Photo courtesy of ARC

“The second part of the double came from Jeremy Noseda’s charge, Ian’s Memory who stayed on well in the 1 mile Ladbrokes Maiden, it was quite an ordinary maiden but run at a good pace and I think Jeremy did well to find a perfect opportunity for the horse.

“Looking ahead to Saturday I have a number of rides lined up.  I ride a new recruit for Roger Varian, Mindurownbusiness which owner Alan Spence has bought out of David Simcock’s yard.  I’m hoping he’ll go really well for the new yard in the Ladbrokes Handicap at Lingfield Park.

“I also ride Mr Edge in the Handicap, he is interestingly trained by Warren Greatrex who is making his mark as a serious up and coming jumps trainer and only has a handful of flat horses.  Mr Edge was bought from Sweden and his recent form is mostly at Jagersro which is quite different to our all-weather tracks in the UK so it will be interesting to see how he handles Lingfield.

“Looking around the international flat racing scene, it was fantastic to see the absolute top class group 1 Stewards Cup in Hong Kong on Sunday being won so impressively by Able Friend (AUS) now the highest rated horse of all time ridden by the fantastic Brazilian Joao Moreira.”

Eventing action back at Hickstead 2015

Last April, the news that the Eventing Grand Prix was no longer to be held at Hickstead was met by widespread disappointment. Now, the directors of the All England Jumping Course are delighted to announce a return of the class for this season, with a new and exciting format.

The Amlin Plus Eventers’ Challenge will be held on the Thursday of the Longines Royal International Horse Show (July 28 – August 2). The class will now be kept within the arena and only event riders will be eligible to compete, which will allow the cross-country fences to become more technical and demanding.

Pippa Funnell competing in a past Eventing Grand Prix  Photo: Samantha Lamb

Pippa Funnell competing in a past Eventing Grand Prix  Photo: Samantha Lamb

“Lots of equestrian fans were upset by the loss of the former Eventing Grand Prix class, so we’re very pleased to be launching the Eventers’ Challenge in its place,” said Hickstead director Lizzie Bunn.

This year, the course will be designed by Richard Taylor, who has been part of the course-building team at two European eventing championships, the Asian Games and the Beijing Olympics. All the fences in Hickstead’s Amlin Plus Eventers’ Challenge will be rustic cross-country obstacles, with some fixed fences and others that can be knocked down.

The Eventing Grand Prix had been held at Hickstead since 1998, and was the first event of its kind to be held at an international competition. A number of top riders have won the title during its sixteen year history, including eventers Pippa Funnell, Andrew Nicholson and Lucinda Fredericks, plus showjumpers Michael Whitaker, Shane Breen and Trevor Breen. Eventer Gary Parsonage was the most successful rider of all in the class, winning a total of four times.

“There have been some very illustrious eventing champions competing at Hickstead over the years, and we’re pleased to be inviting the country’s top names once again for the Amlin Plus Eventers’ Challenge,” Lizzie added.

Amlin Plus were the sponsors of the former Eventing Grand Prix class from 2010 onwards, and they have generously agreed to sponsor the new Eventers’ Challenge class. “Amlin Plus is delighted the Eventers’ Challenge is on the Hickstead schedule,” said David Ashby, managing director of Amlin Plus. “We sponsored the Eventing Grand Prix for several years and it’s always been an exciting competition that draws competitors and crowds alike.”

Hickstead tickets are on sale now. To purchase, visit or call 01273 834315.

England takes on Ireland in Hickstead polo test match

The nations have been announced for the popular International Arena Polo Test Match here at the All England Polo Club. Held on Saturday March 7, the Test Match will see England take on Ireland for the coveted Bryan Morrison trophy.

The England side will be captained once again by 9-goaler Chris Hyde, who is Britain’s highest rated Arena Polo player, while captaining the Irish side is Sebastian Dawnay, rated at 8-goals. The full team line-up will be confirmed soon, but the match is expected to feature the highest-rated teams in the fixture’s history.

England had been enjoying an unbroken run in the International Arena Polo Test Match at Hickstead, until the USA claimed victory during last year’s match, thanks to the mighty 10-goaler Tommy Biddle leading his team to a 21-17 victory.


Tough competition between England and  USA in last year’s contest at Hickstead Photo Russell Kirby 07711741769

“England will be going all out to get back to their winning ways at Hickstead, but the Irish side will be equally determined to stop them,” says AEPC Hickstead chairman John Bunn. “The stage is set for another thrilling game of Arena Polo.”

English team entering the arena last year Photo John Periam 01243 584718

Before the feature match, the polo action gets underway with the Hickstead 12-Goal Challenge, where the Wales Polo Team will take on another Irish team.

With tickets costing just £5 each, it’s the perfect way to enjoy plenty of polo for an incredibly good price. Following the match, there is a three-course lunch (tickets £45 each), which always attracts many of the polo world’s best known personalities.

Tickets can be bought online from and will also be available to purchase on the gate on the day of the match.

Help Moorcroft continue its work by supporting bumper prize draw

Moorcroft Racehorse Welfare Centre at Slinfold in West Sussex is continuing its vital role in retraining former racehorses so they have a positive future with caring owners- despite a shock withdrawal of a long-established funding system by Retraining of Racehorses charity after the end of this year.

RoR is withdrawing its significant part-funding to four centres spread around the country, including Moorcroft, which are proven in doing outstanding retraining work enabling former racehorses to be rehomed for a life outside racing. RoR says it will no longer fund horses sent to the four centres by registered owners and trainers.

Meanwhile, Moorcroft has a waiting list of racehorses from owners and trainers to be retrained, and is renowned for the high standard of work done and rehoming achieved by centre manager Mary Henley-Smith. Last year it achieved funding to pioneer a small number of successful kissing spine operations which transformed the lives of several ex-racehorses.

Mary also holds demonstration days at Moorcroft, where visitors can see how ex-racehorses are rehabilitated, and also enjoy demonstrations from other experts, such as Parelli instructors. Following extensive retraining there , horses are transformed to be able to lead active lives with new owners.

She said: “The lovely ex racehorse Goodtime Boy arrived at the centre in January 2014. He was very uncomfortable with back pain, neck pain and pelvic pain. He also had stomach ulcers which were healed with lots of Aloe Vera juice syringed orally, three times a day to help heal internally.

Ex racehorse Goodtime Boy on arrival at Moorcroft for retraining Photo:

Ex racehorse Goodtime Boy on arrival at Moorcroft for retraining Photo:Mark Beaumont

Mary added: Obviously also he has had a lot of veterinary help and treatments from our physiotherapist. His rehabilative work included stretching on long reins which he thoroughly enjoyed and short ridden sessions in the school and out hacking, to build his strength and suppleness. We are delighted he has found a loving and caring home in Surrey where he is thriving.”

Goodtime Boy after retraining, giving a display before a large audience  Photo: Mark Beaumont

Goodtime Boy after retraining, giving a display before a large audience Photo: Mark Beaumont

Moorcroft has always had to supplement theRoR grant to cover the costs of retraining, and one major fundraiser for the centre has always been an annual Plumpton Raceday, which last year raised a record £56,000.

Chairman of trustees, Tim Fox, said: ” This year more than ever, we need to continue to gain financial support from those who believe in and appreciate what we do because of this loss of significant funding from RoR.”

Now a double demonstration day is planned at Moorcroft on Saturday May 9 at 10.30am, when retrained ex-racehorses will be ridden and this will be followed by a Parelli demonstration of ridden work by 3* instructor Terri Martinus. Tickets are £12.50 each and this  demonstration will be followed by a major raffle draw with outstanding prizes to be won.

Tickets are now on sale for the raffle, where the prizes include:
*2 tickets to Plumpton racecourse for a day of your choice during 2015 plus lunch for two in the Paddock Restaurant
*Champagne breakfast for four given by top Flat racehorse trainer Olly Stevens and his wife Hetta, following by a morning on their gallops at Robins Farm Racing Stables, Chiddingfold
*1 week holiday in lovely two-bedroom cottage in Newquay, Cornwall, in September 2015
*Fontwell Park racecourse prize for four people worth £120-Premier Enclosure admission at Fontwell Park for four,  racecards, meal and hot drink for each from Premier Cafe, £2 Tote bet for each at any Fontwell Park meeting in 2015.
*Two tickets to the Festival of Horsemanship in  West Sussex on September 12/13
*2 tickets to Lingfield Park Racecourse on date of choice with champagne afternoon tea
*Photo session for your horse with equine photographer Mark
*ARC- two membership badges giving free entry to any racehorse for remainder of 2015
*Two tickets to ridden demonstration day at Moorcroft on July 11 with talk/demo from Bridgefield physiotherapy
*Luxury Hamper
*Home made cake and much more still too come……

Tickets are £10 for a book of five. Buy yours now by sending a stamped addressed envelope with a cheque for £10 made out to Moorcroft Racehorse Welfare Centre, to Moorcroft,  Huntingrove Stud, Slinfold,  Horsham RH13 0RB West Sussex.

For more information contact Moorcroft on 07929 666408

Jockey Andrew Thornton one nearer to 1,000 target at Plumpton

Jockey Andrew Thornton now has only 23 wins to go to reach his long-awaited target of 1000 victories. He rode his latest winner on board Brunette’Sonly, trained by Seamus Mullins, in the three mile two furlong handicap chase at Plumpton yesterday The 100-30 shot was going the best of anything on the final circuit until a blunder three out cost him ground, but he rallied to go two lengths clear at the last, beating Red Anchor by just over a length.

Jockey Andrew Thornton with Brunette'Sonly trained by Seamus Mullins Photo: Jeannie Knight

Jockey Andrew Thornton with Brunette’Sonly trained by Seamus Mullins Photo: Jeannie Knight

Though Stars Royale disappointed trainer Nick Gifford when finishing a distant third in the opening Maiden Hurdle Race at Plumpton when 10/11 favourite,  this horse has shown plenty of promise in previous runs.The runners from this Findon trainer’s yard are in outstanding form at the moment and it is too soon to write off this potentially good six-year-old. He had run well at the track earlier in the same season, on same ground and distance to be beaten only length by The Green Ogre.

Nick Gifford

Nick Gifford

The intention had been for this to be a prep race for Stars Royale to run in the EBF Novice Hurdle Series Final at Sandown in early March on the potential of his previous runs. Hopefully this poor result was merely a blip.

There was an excellent win for Somerset-based trainer Alan Jones, a former National Hunt jockey, who sent out Bobbits Way to win the Novices’ Handicap Steeplechase with Tom Scudamore in the saddle.

Trainer Alan Jones leading in Bobbit's Way with Tom Scudamore up Photo: Jeannie Knight

Trainer Alan Jones leading in Bobbit’s Way with Tom Scudamore up
Photo: Jeannie Knight

The former point-to-point horse, which had been in the frame on three previous runs, made certain of victory this time with the help of his rider, taking the lead two from home. He beat  fellow 3-1 joint favourite Artifice Sivola by two lengths and was 14 length clear of third horse, Noble Friend.

Trainer Alan Jones receiving his prize for Bobbit's way  Photo: Jeannie Knight

Trainer Alan Jones receiving his prize for Bobbit’s way Photo: Jeannie Knight

The Conditional Jockeys Handicap Hurdle saw David Pipe’s Obistar win emphatically from the remainder of the field in the hands of 3lb claimer Kieron Edgar. Owners Garth and Ann Broom of Brocade Racing were there to see this excellent victory, saying they see this talented horse as a future Sussex National contender in a couple of years time.

Obistar with owners Brocade Racing  and jockey

Obistar with owners Garth and Ann Broom ( left ) of Brocade Racing and jockey Kieren Edgar Photo: Jeannie Knight


The 3-1 joint favourite, Call The Detective, trained by Ali Stronge could finish only third behind Peter Bowen’s Obistar, but full marks for top rider performance went to George Gorman for ensuring that the reluctant Promise Wings, trained by Chris Gordon, completed the course in fourth place, getting some prizemoney for his owners’ group. He rode the horse hands and heels making sure he crossed the finishing line and was given a well-deserved cheer by the crowd.

Lucy Gardner and Sirop-De-Menthe following the victory  Photo: Jeannie Knight

Lucy Gardner and Sirop-De-Menthe following their victory in the handicap hurdle racePhoto: Jeannie Knight

The handicap hurdle over two miles proved to be a female affair with tussle between two lady riders and three women trainers filling the slots. A delighted Lucy Gardner, on board 6-1 shot Sirop De Menthe trained by her mother Susan, beat  Alexandra Dunn riding  and training her own Zero Visibility ( 9-4)  by 13 lengths, with Linda Jewell’s Maccabees filling third place. This was Lucy’s first winner as a professional rider.

The next meeting at Plumpton is on Monday February 9 with the first race at 2.20pm.




Gerry retires after 50 years in racing

LEWES trainer Gerry Enright sent out his last runner as a trainer at Plumpton yesterday when he saddled up Bonny Major for long-time owner-breeder Arthur Ashford.

He announced his retirement before the meeting saying: ” I’m 64 now and have been in racing since I became an apprentice jockey at the age of 14 to Gordon Smythe at Lewes. I’ve been at it for 50 years and it’s time to call it a day. ”

Gerry's last runner, Bonny Major Photo: jeannie Knight

Gerry’s last runner, Bonny Major with jockey Harry Haynes on board
Photo: Jeannie Knight


After five years with Gordon Smythe, he was a Flat jockey with Arthur Stephenson from 1971-2, but with his weight increasing he moved to Bishop Auckland trainer Arthur Stephenson where his brother John was based, to try his luck over jumps. But the only winners he rode there ironically were on the Flat at Teeside and  Musselborough, so he returned south and went on to be a National Hunt jockey with Josh Gifford at Findon from 1972-1986.

There he met his wife Midge. He won the Imperial Cup in 1975 and the Lanzarote Hurdle in the same year on Nougat, then the SGB Hurdle in 1977 and the Kirk and Kirk Hurdle on Kybo.

Foinal day as trainer: Gerry and Midge Enright (left) with owner  Arthur Ashford and Gillian Todd Photo: Jeannie Knight

Foinal day as trainer: Gerry and Midge Enright (left) with owners Arthur Ashford and Gillian Todd
Photo: Jeannie Knight


In the mid 1980’s he and Midge moved to a yard at Bolney to manage a stables for Peter Hopkins, an owner with Josh Gifford and  was later given a lease on the stables, taking a training licence. Three years later, he and Midge moved to their current 18-box yard at The Oaks Stables at Lewes from where he says Golden Fox and Highpoint were probably his best horses.
“Highpoint was outstanding. He won a total of nine races for me and was placed many times. I still have him and he is 17 now – and I intend to do some showjumping with him during the summer, which he will enjoy.”
Gerry also did well with home bred horses for owner Arthur Ashord, with the likes of Polly Major, Polly Minor, Carly Bay – and yesterday’s runner Bonny Major. Although Bonny Major as unplaced yesterday, she is a young and relatively inexperienced horse at the age of five and still has a bright future ahead of her- and her owner says she will probably go point to pointing in the future.

A holiday in the sun will also be a high priority for Midge and Gerry this year- and they will continue to be based at The Oaks where they may turn their 18-box premises into a livery yard.

Full Plumpton report to follow

Lamar could have three finals options

When filly Lamar won the £19,000 totepool Fillies’ Conditions Stakes in game fashion at Chelmsford City this week she delighted trainer JamesTate by having found form again.

The four-year-old Cape Cross offspring had not won since June of last year unti she captured a conditions event over an extended nine furlongs at Wolverhampton on January 16 with Luke Morris on board.

Jockey Luke Morris

Jockey Luke Morris

She went one better with the same jockey this week at  Chelmsford when winning the stakes- was also a Fast-Track Qualifier for the £150,000 Fillies’ And Mares’ Championships over seven furlongs at Lingfield Park on Good Friday, although Lamar could challenge for other races on All-Weather Championships Finals Day.

The Newmarket handler said: “She had not won, since breaking her maiden, until last week and two wins in two weeks is really nice.

Trainer James Tate Photo: John  Simpson

Trainer James Tate
Photo: John Simpson

“Luke (Morris) was determined not to be caught on the inside and he rode her really well – he has never ridden better.Good Friday is the target but we are heading to Lingfield in a month for the Winter Derby trial (sponsored by Coral, £45,000, February 21) to try her over a mile and a quarter.

Good Monday racing expected at Plumpton

Racegoers can expect a good day’s racing at Plumpton on Monday, with conditions expected to be mostly dry Saturday and most of Sunday. Any overnight showers on Sunday night are expected to clear through the morning to leave a dry afternoon for racing.

The going on Thursday was said to be soft with some heavy places, and sunshine followed throughout Friday.

This January Raceday should offer plenty of competive racing with a six-race card starting at 2pm and gates opening at noon.

The on-form team of Venetia Williams and Aiden Coleman are represented with an entry in the opening maiden hurdle by Kapp Jazz, along with trainer Jamie Snowden and jockey Brendan Powell with Agenor,and the particularly promising Charlie Longsdon and Noel Fehily combination with Argot.

Cove, trained by Nick Gifford, is interesting entry Photo:Jeanie Knight

Cove, trained by Nick Gifford, is interesting entry in the handicap hurdle
Photo:Jeannie Knight

Sussex trainer Nick Gifford, whose horses have been in great form recently, is expected to send out consistent Westerner mare, Cove, in the conditional jockeys handicap hurdle over three miles one furlong.  She should stay well and with Charlie Deutsch booked to ride, has a good chance of winning this time.

Noble Friend, owned by Kate Digweed, trained by Chris Gordon and ridden by Tom Cannon makes plenty of appeal in the current entries for the novice handicap chase of the day.

Volio Vincente with jockey Marc Goldstein following his Fontwell Park victory last month Photo Jeannie Knight

Volio Vincente with jockey Marc Goldstein following his Fontwell Park victory last month
Photo Jeannie Knight


Meanwhile Volio Vincente, who rewarded his new trainer Lydia Richards with a Boxing Day victory at Fontwell Park following a recent purchase at Ascot Sales, is entered for the three mile two furlongs handicap chase. This is likely to be a competitive affair, with Peter Bowen hoping that top weight Cruising Bye will break his string of five second places this season in the hands of Jamie Moore.

Admission Prices – £16 including a free programme and parking. Senior Concessions (60+) on the day with photo ID: £12  Children under 18: FREE


Fontwell forced to abandon Sunday’s meeting

Fontwell Park racecourse has had to abandon its planned Burns Raceday this Sunday, January 25. An announcement from the racecourse office on Friday lunchtime said “It is with disappointment that we have had to cancel racing on Sunday. Unfortunately, this is due to the anticipated bad weather forecast this weekend.”

For further information on ticket refunds please contact the racecourse office on  01243 543335.

The course had experienced some waterlogging earlier in the week, followed by a heavy frost on two consecutive nights, but some heavy rain is forecast there at midnight tonight, ending any hope of racing.

The next fixture takes place on Thursday February 12, with six races starting at 1pm. Gates open at 11am. This will be followed a major fixture in Fontwell’s racing calendar- the Totepool National Spirit Hurdle raceday on Sunday February 22.


This is the most valuable and prestigious race in the annual calendar at Fontwell Park with a total of £50,000 prize money and will attract some top horses as well as local favourites.

Tickets can be obtained for both fixtures at