UK names polocrosse team for World Cup

The United Kingdom Polocrosse Association has named the team that will travel to the 2015 Polocrosse World Cup which is taking place in South Africa in July. The UKPA has opted for a mixture of youth and experience in its eight person team, which is coached by Jason Webb, the well known horseman.

Jason is also one of the four male players in the team. He played and captained the team for the last World Cup in 2011 but he is now replaced as Captain for this team by Debbie Harris, the most capped player in UK Polocrosse history. Debbie is the only UK Lady player to have played in all the previous Polocrosse World Cups, which started in 2003 and take place every four years.

The other men who will play alongside Jason Webb are the 16 year old Max Pedley, who is making his World Cup debut and is also the youngest player the UK has ever called up to its Open team, Joel Sics, who is also making his World cup debut, and Danny Duhig, who played in the 2011 World Cup.

The  successful UK 2014 Polocrosse team

The successful UK 2014 Polocrosse team

The other ladies in the team are Charlotte Pykett, who played in 2011, Rachel Duhig (nee Gayler), who actually played for the USA in 2011 but is now married to Danny Duhig and living in England, and Kerry Bean, who hasn’t played for the UK team since 2002 but has made a successful come back to the sport and ended 2014 on a high with a call up to the team.

The team also has five named reserves with Annemieke Mitchell and Emily Gilfillan for the Ladies section and Alex Richardson, Will Halcrow and Matt Smith named for the Men.

Jason said, “We have an exciting mix of experience and youth who can’t wait to get out and make their mark on the tournament. Obviously the pool of horses we are allocated will have an effect but I have every confidence in the team’s horsemanship and riding abilities to form great partnerships with them  in a short space of time.”

The team will travel out to South Africa at the end of June to spend a week working with their pool of horses. Each team in the competition draws a pool of horses at random and gets five days to work with them for one hour a day before they have to play their opening match. This makes it a test of horsemanship as well as pure polocrosse ability.

The team will take on seven other countries in the competition, including three hotly tipped African countries. South Africa are the hosts and reigning champions, Zimbabwe finished second at the last World Cup and Zambia have also improved greatly since their World Cup debut in 2011. The other countries are the double world champions Australia and then New Zealand, Ireland and the USA.

The UK team has a number of sponsors supporting it, including Toggi, who will be supplying the team’s casual clothing. Pukka Clothing will then provide the team’s playing shirts, while Equilibrium horse products are providing them with a number of the essential items for their horses, such as bandages and overreach boots. The Northern Racing College is also kindly sponsoring the rugs for the UK team’s playing horses.

You can follow the team on their Facebook page


Racing at Fontwell to celebrate Burns night

Go along to Fontwell Park racecourse this Sunday for its second race fixture of the new year, with celebrations to mark Robert Burns night. It promises an excellent Sunday afternoon out with six competitive races at the only figure of eight jumps course in the UK,with weather prospects continuing to improve.


You can take advantage of the track’s excellent value Admission Packages- a winning formula for any racegoer. If you just need an admission ticket, apply on line before 3pm on Saturday and you can get one for just £12. Plus those under 18 go free.

Lewes trainer Suzy Smith could be bidding for  three-timer this season with her classy Beau Lake, partnered by amateur rider Harry Bannister, entered for the 3.05 Handicap Hurdle.- a successful combination at the last meeting.

Beau Lake and connections fooll.owing recent Fontwell park victory Photo: Jeannie Knight

Beau Lake and connections fooll.owing recent Fontwell park victory
Photo: Jeannie Knight

Other provisional entries which catch the eye are The Omen, sent by trainer Tim Vaughan from Wales for the  Chancellor’s Handicap Chase, and the successful combation of Dorset trainer and jockey Brendan Powell could be in action with Spending Time on the Chancellor’s Novice Hurdle of the day,

Just need an admission ticket? money in advance with tickets from just £12 if pre-booked by 3pm the day before racing and remember kids under 18 go FREE!  For more information contact the Fontwell Park team on 01243 543335.

Gates open at 11am and the first of six races is at 1.30pm, with the last at 4.10pm.


KBIS to continue Eventing support in 2015

British Eventing has announced that KBIS British Equestrian Insurance will continue its long-standing and generous support of Eventing in 2015.

In 2014 KBIS took on the support of BE’s regional Training and Education program, specifically assisting in funding clinics and training camps for U18 riders, which will continue this year.. Additionally, KBIS will sponsor the regional U18 team Championship at the Festival of Youth at Weston Park (October 8-11) for the company’s tenth consecutive year since beginning sponsorship with BE.

Kitty King competing in Young Horse Championships at Osberton: Photo courtesy of British Eventing

Kitty King competing in Young Horse Championships at Osberton: Photo courtesy of British Eventing

2015 will also mark KBIS’s second year of title sponsorship of the BE Young Horse Championships, having previously been associate sponsors in 2013 and taking full sponsorship of the competition in 2014. The KBIS British Eventing Young Horse Championships will take place at Osberton International Horse Trials from October 1-4  near Worksop, Nottinghamshire.

KBIS Managing Director Guy Prest commented; “We are pleased to continue our association with these two significant championship series within the sport. Additionally BE’s training and education programme provides fantastic opportunities, not just for our U18 riders, but those of all levels and abilities and is going from strength to strength.  This programme is a real asset to BE’s membership and one which KBIS are proud to be supporting. ”

The KBIS Young Horse series qualifiers will be held as follows:

Four Year Old qualifiers: Chepstow (July 4-5 ), Brightling Park International (July 4-5 ), Eland Lodge 2 (July 4-5), Tweseldown 3 (July 12-14 ),Great Witchingham International 2 (July 17-19), Stafford 2 ( July 17-19), Dauntsey Park 1 (July 21-22 ), Hopetoun 2 (July 25-26), Frickley Park 1 (July 25-26), Chilham Castle 2 (August 8-9 ), Skipton 2 ( August 8-9), Homme House ( August 11-12), West Wilts 2 (August 18-19 ), Shelford Manor 2 (August 19-20), Richmond 2 (August 28-30), Llanymynech 2 (August 29-30 ),Treborough Hill 2 (August 29-30 ), Prestwold Hall (August 30-31)

Five Year Old Qualifiers: Little Downham 1 (June 5-7 ), Berkshire College of Agriculture 1 (June 13-14 ), Nunney International (June 19-21), Catton Park (June 20-21),Carlton (June27-28 ), Rackham (June 27-28) Buckminster Park (July 11-12), Bicton Arena 2 (July 11-12), Upton House (July 15-16), Great Witchingham International 2 (July 17-19 ), Stafford 2 (July 17-19), Eridge (July 18-19 ),Hopetoun 2 (July 25-26 ), Skipton 2 (August 8-9 ), Homme House (August 11-12 ), Bold Heath (August 15-16), West Wilts 2 (August 18-19 ), Richmond 2 (August 28-30 ), Firle Place International (August 29-30 ), Llanymynech 2 (Augus 20-30).


Dashing Star aiming to qualify for marathon

Dashing Star will step back up trip in the £19,000 32Red Conditions Stakes (3.00pm, six runners) at Lingfield Park today, Wednesday, January 21.The just short of two-mile contest is a Fast-Track Qualifier for the £150,000 32Red Casino All-Weather Marathon over the course and distance on All-Weather Championships Finals Day, Good Friday, April 3.

Dashing Star, a model of consistency in seven starts on the turf last year, was last seen out when third in the November Handicap over a mile and a half at Doncaster on November 8. The five-year-old was also fourth in a pair of valuable handicaps at Haydock Park and Glorious Goodwood in July and was fifth to Arab Spring in the Duke Of Edinburgh Handicap at Royal Ascot in June.

Dashing Star Photo courtesy ARC

Dashing Star
Photo courtesy ARC

The Jeff Smith homebred’s sole start over two miles came when 11th to Leading Light in the 2013 Group Three Queen’s Vase at Royal Ascot. Trainer David Elsworth said : “Dashing Star is in good form. I was thinking of running him over hurdles but the ground has been so bad that we thought we would give him a spin on the All-Weather.

“He is going back up to two miles again but he settles well now and I don’t think it was the trip that beat him when he ran in the Queen’s Vase.He has gone close over a mile and six a couple of times and there is plenty of stamina on the dam side, so I would be hopeful that he will stay.”

Dashing Star, partnered by Martin Harley for the first time, is set to face five rivals headed by Anglophile (Charlie Appleby/Martin Lane), who steps up to two miles after an odds-on defeat over a mile and a half at the course on January 16.


Jockey George Baker

Jockey George Baker

Triumphant (George Baker), Group Three placed for Aidan O’Brien in 2013, will have his second start on the Flat for Gary Moore, while French import Smoky Hill (Luke Morris) makes his debut for Tony Carroll. The line-up is completed by Castilo Del Diablo,(David Simcock/Adam Kirby), who was fourth in the 32Red Casino Marathon last year, and recent course scorer Uramazin (Philip Hide/Liam Keniry).

The seven-race card at Lingfield Park starts at 12.50pm and concludes at 4.05pm.

Diana’s parachute jump in aid of RDA group

HAPPY Landing Riding for Disabled Group, which was started in 1993 by Ann Sheldrake from home in Ifold, West Sussex, for adults who were no longer able to ride but still wanted to be involved in horses is to benefit from a charity parachute jump being made next month by Diana Westall of Northamptonshire.

The group, now based at Dunsfold, uses carriages which have been specially adapted to take wheelchairs and every time a disabled driver is taken out, a small army of helpers is needed in a labour intensive operation.

Purchase and mainentance of carriages, harness and other equipment is expensive and its two ponies need feeding, shoeing, rugs and incur vet bills. Diana is hoping to raise £750 to help the group with its expenses.

Sue Sherlock of Happy Landings RDA in a competition, accompanied by  a whip

Sue Sherlock  and Serenade of Happy Landings RDA in a competition, accompanied by a whip

Diana has been riding since she was five and carriage driving for the last 23 years. Following the death of her ponies last year she joined the Happy Landing Group as an able-bodied whip. She has taken on the parachute jump to mark her 70th birthday in a bid to raise money for the group and the outstanding work it does.
She explained: “On Tuesday February 17,  I will be shoved out of a plane 10,000ft somewhere over Oxford, securely attached to a strapping chap (and hopefully also a parachute!). With your support I can raise some funds for Happy Landings and at the same time overcome my fear of flying.”
To support Diana, go to:  where you can make a donation on line and read more.   See more about this remarkable RDA group at

Sire de Grugy will have prep run before Cheltenham

Sire de Grugy, trained in West Sussex by Gary Moore, is expected to have a prep run at Newbury next month before he aims to win the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase for a second time  at the Cheltenham Festival on March 11.

He has been off the track since April 2014 when he won the Celebration Chase at Sandown, following on from his outstanding Cheltenham victory at Cheltenham the previous month.

Sire De Grugy with Jamie Moore  Photo: Jeannie Knight

Sire De Grugy with Jamie Moore Photo: Jeannie Knight

He is always ridden out at home by the trainer’s son and his regular jockey on the track, Jamie Moore. But he was found to have a pelvic or hip injury, thought to have been incurred in his box, last November. Now he is back in work, with Jamie riding him out regularly in a varied routine.

The current plan is to give him a prep race in the Game Spirit Chase at Newbury on Saturday February 7.

Gary Moore has been steadily stepping up work for this talented horse following his injury and has been taking no chances with him. The horse cantered for the first time immediately prior to Christmas and has steadily built up in his work since then, working at half-speed initially.

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

His key opponent in the Cheltenham Race will be Sprinter Sacre, trained by Nicky Henderson, who had been out for a year until making a reappearance on Saturday at Ascot where he was beaten three lengths by Dodging Bullets, trained by Paul Nicholls.

But Nicky Henderson said his horse looked tired following this outing and would come on for the run to be at his best in time for Cheltenham.



New eventing league to recognise future talent

AN exciting new league has been introduced by British Eventing to recognise talented British combinations making their way up the rankings.

Aimed at those competing at CIC2* and CCI2* level, and thanks to generous new sponsorship from an anonymous supporter of the sport, the BE Future Talent Two Star League is open to British riders with a horse qualified to compete at this level which fulfills the criteria.

Qualifying horses must be nine years old or younger, and ridden by a British rider. The horse must never have competed at three or four star level, and only points won at two star competitions (both CCI and CIC) will be included.

The new League will run throughout the 2015 season, with the winning combination that which amasses the most BE points at these two star events, either on home soil or overseas. Both the owner and the rider of the winning horse will receive a shared prize fund of £5,000 at the end of the season, in recognition of their achievements. The leading owner of the league will also receive a stunning bronze.

Sidnificant with Clare Lewis on board at a previous Badminton: Photo Kingswood Associates

Sidnificant with up and coming rider Sussex Clare Lewis on board at  Badminton: Photo Kingswood Associates

Commenting on the launch of the new league, the supporter, who does not want to be named, said: “I think it is very important that our British riders are supported, and we wanted to find a way to encourage owners to do so. We want the best combinations available for team selection and in my view, two star competition is the time when talented partnerships between horse and rider are first identified.The hope is that they become cemented as a team to go forward onto three and four star level, perhaps even winning a medal for Great Britain one day.”


British Eventing’s Chief Executive Mike Etherington-Smith added: “This is yet another innovative new development that British Eventing has been able to introduce, in response to feedback from our members. I feel sure that it will attract considerable support from riders with up and coming horses, as well as giving their owners the recognition they deserve.”

Follow the league and see full information regarding the BE Future Talent Two Star League on

Tullius to be aimed at Doncaster Mile Listed Race

Tullius, winner of the 2014 Bet365 Mile (Group 2 race) and runner-up in the Lockinge Stakes (Group1) is set to kick off his 2015 campaign in the Doncaster Mile Listed race at the Lincoln meeting on Saturday March 28.


Tullius in action Photo courtesy John Simpson

Tullius in action
Photo courtesy John Simpson

This classy horse runs under the banner of Kennet Valley Thoroughbreds, the pioneer of professional racehorse syndication management in the UK, now run by Sam Hoskins (manager), Luke Lillingston ( bloodstock adviser) and father and son, Peter and Piers Winkworth ( finance and marketing).

Connections say the race looks an ideal starting point with there being penalties only for horses having won Listed races or above after May 1 2014. Tullius won his Group 2 on April 25 2014, so he escapes any of those.

Plans thereafter are fairly liquid but he could well take the route he trod last year- the Bet365 Mile at Sandown and the Lockinge Stakes at Newbury. Although trainer Andrew Balding is keen to step him up in trip this season, races like the Brigadier Gerard (Group 3) at Sandown and the Prix D’Ispahan (Group 1) at Longchamp at the end of May could also come under consideration.

Tullius winning for Kennet Valley Thoroughbreds  Photo courtesy of KVT

Tullius winning for Kennet Valley Thoroughbreds
Photo courtesy of KVT


“Tullius has a preference for good or softer ground and this mencouraged us to give him a break over the winter rather than take him to the likes of Hong Kong or Dubai. Hopefully this will pay dividends in the spring when he will be a fresh horse. He has given his enthusiastic syndicate members (16 of them) a lot of fun to date and owes nobody anything,” said Sam.

He added:”He has not been over raced in his career so far (24 starts) and hopefully there will be more to come from him this season especially if a step up in trip unlocks a bit of improvement.”

This dynamic young team goes the extra mile to reach the winners enclosure at the biggest meetings and give partners the best possible experience. The group manages limited, 16 member, partnerships in flat racehorses at a cost of around £7,000 per share.

“For 2014 we assembled our largest squad for more than twenty years, comprising 10 horses and again in 2015 we will have 10 horses (four of which are two year olds). We have five trainers, all young men at the top of their game with mostly family owned stables, all of which have their own private gallops.

“We aim to provide our discerning partners with a taste of the thrill of racehorse ownership, success on the track and the opportunity to socialise…..all at an affordable cost,” added Sam.

For more information about Kennet Valley Thoroughbreds and how to become a group member, call Sam on 0203 542 1620 or see




A sixth fast track qualifier for Godolphin

Godolphin gained  a sixth Fast-Track Qualifier victory with Hawkesbury in the £19,000 32 Conditions Stakes at Kempton Park on Wednesday this week.

The winner of the six-furlong contest is guaranteed a start in the £150,000 Unibet Three-Year-Old Sprint over six furlongs at Lingfield Park on All-Weather Championships Finals Day, Good Friday, April 3

Hawkesbury Photo:John Simpson

Photo:John Simpson

Hawkesbury won once in four starts as two-year-old, running away with a seven-furlong novice contest at Doncaster on June 27, and posted some fair efforts in defeat.

The son of Shamardal was second to the brilliant Limato on his debut in a six-furlong maiden at Kempton Park on June 11 and followed up his Doncaster victory with another second to subsequent Group One Dewhurst Stakes hero Belardo in the Listed Washington Singer Stakes at Newbury on August 16.

He also filled the runner-up spot on his final start of the campaign when beaten a length and a half by Fannaan in a seven-furlong conditions race at Newmarket on October 22.

Trainer Charlie Appleby, who has won three Fast-Track Qualifiers, commented: “Hawkesbury has been gelded since his last run. He has been a tricky customer and had been disappointing since he won by seven lengths at Doncaster.

” But he had been showing us plenty of natural speed so we dropped him back to six furlongs again and it took the keenness off him. He ran over six furlongs at Kempton first time out and bumped into a smart horse in Limato.

“He had expended too much energy early on at Newmarket last time out but the winner that day might be a nice horse. Getting him gelded has helped Hawkesbury and  that the drop back to six furlongs has got him back into a better style of racing.”

Hawkesbury was ridden for the first time at Kempton by jockey Adam Kirby and beat his three rivals in the race easily,



Hunt stages outstanding Relay and Gate Jumping event

CRAWLEY and Horsham Hunt held a hugely successful inaugural Relay and Gate Jumping event at the All England Showground at Hickstead recently. The concept for this fun event emerged over some drinks in a pub- but its success and positive feedback  has far exceeded expectations of the organisers- Vicky Whiteman, Julia Martin, Grant Laing , Rachael Holdsworth and Julian Thorpe. It is now to become an annual event.

Competitors thoroughly enjoyed the chance to compete in this unusual format. One mother of a junior rider competing in the event told organisers it was the most fun she had ever had at a show. She also praised the top quality organisation of the event.

Marcus Gorman and on gtheir way to winning

Marcus Gorman and Cullen, owned by Fred Ford, on their way to winning the Open Gate Jumping competition

A total of 29 teams entered, representing different hunts in the South East, and winners of the hunt relay contest were a Crawley and Horsham Hunt team. Members were Tina Cook, European and Olympic medalist, riding her home-bred seven-year-old, Spider; up and coming eventer Harriet Upton riding Lydia Roper’s 14-year-old Jo, and equestrian agent Julia Martin riding her home-bred seven-year-old, Disney.

Winner of the 16 years and under Junior Gate Jumping competitor was Lucy Blake (16) of Haywards Heath, riding 19-year-old Lop de Concelle, clearing a massive 1m 40cm gate out of a starting line up of more than 25 competitors.

Winner of the Open Gate Jumping competition was Marcus Gorman (50), occasional field master of the Crawley and Horsham hunt, riding Fred Ford’s seven-year-old grey, Cullen. Again there was a starting line-up of more than 25 competitors.

Winner of the Novice Gate Jumping competition

Winner of the Novice Gate Jumping competition, Lucy Blake (16) and Lop de Concelle

Organisers said the event could not have taken place but for the immense generosity of the Bunn Family and the team at the All England Showground at Hickstead. Use of the fine facilities was greatly appreciated by everyone.

The big entry also showed that the hunting community in the South East is very much alive and kicking- for every local hunt was well-represented, and entries included competitors from the Crawley and Horsham, Old Surrey and Burstow, West Kent, Surrey Union, Chiddingfold and Leconfield, Mid Sussex Drag.

The successful competition day also heralds the start of point to points in the South East which starts with Southdown and Erridge Hunt at Godstone on Sunday February 8 with first of six races at 12.30pm.

Other dates are:
Charing, Sunday February 22  Six races. First race: 12 noon
Mid Surrey Farmers Drag, Godstone, Sunday March 8    Six races: First race:1pm
Crawley and Horsham at Parham, Saturday  March 14   Six races. First race: 1.45pm
Old Surrey, Burstow and West Kent at Penshurst, Sunday March 22 Six races. First race: 1:30pm
Southdown and Eridge at Godstone, Sunday March 29 Six races. First race, 2.15pm.
Ashford Valley Tickham at Charing, Saturday April 4 Six races. First race 2pm.
East Kent with West Street at Aldington, Monday April 6 Six races, First race, 2pm.
Old Surrey, Burstow and West Kent , Saturday April 18, Six races. First race 2pm.
Penshurst, Saturday 18th April 2015  Six races. First race: 2pm