Final qualifiers for Baileys JAS Championship

More than  sixty starters contested the BE90 class at Merrist Wood in a last ditch bid to qualify for this weekend’s Baileys JAS Championship at Hartpury College. Despite accumulating three time penalties, 12-year-old Georgia King from Wiltshire won the class thanks to a perfect style score of just 0.1.

This is Georgia’s first season with BE, and she has now qualified Mojo IV for both the Baileys JAS and Jump Training Finals, following a second place Jump Training at Hartpury last month.

Giselle Mackinlay and Dark Spirit’s style score completion gave them second place with a mark of six, one point ahead of Susannah Egleston riding Solomons Seal.

Baileys competition sseries Photo Baileys Horse Feeds

Baileys competition sseries
Photo Baileys Horse Feeds

Most combinations jumped clear, although the optimum time of seven minutes was influential. Finishing scores in this class ranged from 3.1 to 85.0.

Giselle, 16 and from Surrey, went one better in the BE100 to win, again with a clean sheet. It was a hugely competitive section, with close to seventy starters despite eight withdrawals.

Jane Bettles and Claudia Nacke’s mare Gold Rush IV were the runners up, having placed in the top 10 at all four of their JAS competitions this year and taken second place in a Baileys Jump Training JT80 section on their first outing of 2015. Jane has benefitted from training with Oliver Townend, also qualifying her own Aliano for the Grassroots Championships.

Lara Sharrock and Roxanne VII completed the top three for the BE100s, a class in which only two riders finished on their style score- the winner and 13th placed Cheryl Chamberlain riding Cardonagh Lass.

Georgona Wood and Symmetry Photo: Baileys Horse Feeds

Georgona Wood and Symmetry
Photo: Baileys Horse Feeds

In the Novice class both Georgina Wood and Nici Wilson completed on a score of 10, but Georgina, 21, had the advantage with a better style mark, taking the win on Symmetry. The Surrey-based pair had already qualified for the Finals when finishing runners up at Bury Farm in January. Nici Wilson might have been pipped at the post, but she added third place to her second, Barry Carter’s Viktor Krum beating Nici’s own Naomi 55.

The six minute 24 second optimum time proved un-gettable for the 37 Novice starters, as it was in the Open Novice which produced a win for Australian Equine Physiotherapist and Olympic Gold Medallist [Atlanta 1996] Wendy Schaeffer, 40, riding the Akhadan-sired Sun Lover.

Flora Elliott and Ember Hill, who had already finished fourth in the Novice, then moved up the leaderboard in to second place, one point ahead of Sarah Pickard on Polo Striker, with Nici Wilson in the ribbons again, fourth on Naomi 55.

Both the Baileys Jump Training and JAS Championships take place this weekend at Hartpury College, Gloucestershire, February 21-22 respectively). Baileys sponsored event rider Ben Hobday will be giving a demo and Q&A session on the Saturday evening, aimed at helping riders at all level to understand the importance of pre-season training.

Entry to the demo for JAS and Jump Training Finalists and up to four friends and/or family members is free of charge. The evening is also open to anyone wishing to attend, with tickets costing £10 per head available on the door.

Bethell aims Fab Lolly at Good Friday championships

James Bethell is aiming Fab Lolly for a second tilt at the £150,000 Fillies’ And Mares Championships at Lingfield Park on Good Friday after her encouraging return to action at Wolverhampton earlier this month. The five-year-old was having her first start since finishing seventh to Living The Life on All-Weather Championships Finals Day on Good Friday, 2014, and kept on nicely into third behind Don’t Be.

Bethell said: “I was very pleased with Fab Lolly at Wolverhampton and she has come out of it well.”I thought she could have been second quite easily but, because it was her first run for 290 days, Joe (Fanning) didn’t want to give her too hard a race.

North Yorkshire trainer James Bethell

North Yorkshire trainer James Bethell Photo: John Simpson

“The plan is to get her qualified for the fillies and mares race on finals day. I think she can do better than she did last year because she chipped a bone in her fetlock during that race. I thought she should have definitely finished in the money but for the injury.

“We need to get two more runs into her before the final. There is a handicap at Lingfield on February 20 or a Fast-Track Qualifier the day after, but I think I would prefer the handicap option and then we will see after that.”

The North Yorkshire-based handler is also responsible for Rich Again, who has been one of the most prolific performers during the All-Weather Championships.The six-year-old has won his last four starts, all at Wolverhampton, and was last seen out recording a decisive three-quarter length victory over Time And Place in a six-furlong handicap on January 29.

Bethell added: “Rich Again is very well. The obvious race for him is a £25,000 handicap at Wolverhampton on Lincoln Trial day (Saturday, March 7), but there are also a couple of races at Lingfield that we will look at.

The Tapeta track at Wolverhampton raceourse Photo courtesy of Wolverhampton Racecourse

The Tapeta track at Wolverhampton raceourse Photo courtesy of Wolverhampton Racecourse

“He has always been a talented horse but has had quite a lot of niggling problems over the years. This year, he has stayed very sound and obviously loves that new Tapeta surface at Wolverhampton.
“He has won at Lingfield but part of the track is downhill and I don’t think that is ideal for him.

“It will be difficult to get into that sprint final. I think we will try and be the most successful horse on the All-Weather. Sir Mark Prescott’s mare Don’t Be currently tops the standings with five wins, so we are only one behind.I think Rich Again can win another race. The handicapper put him up 4lb for his win the other day, which I thought was fair.”

A prize of £10,000 will be awarded to the horse that accumulates the most wins during the All-Weather Championships, the Winning Most Horse award.



Glittering ball to raise money for new facilities at Hickstead

Hickstead has announced a very special date for the diary –April 18 2015, the night of its first ever Showtime Ball. All proceeds from this event will ploughed back into Hickstead facilities.Money raised will be going directly towards improving Hickstead’s showing facilities.

Plans include continuing the all-weather gallop track in Jacksons Fencing Ring 5, making it a complete circuit around the edge of the arena. The team at Hickstead also wants to make a new area for spectators at the Dick Saunders pavilion, with its own champagne bar and paved area.

Aerial View of Hickstead Courtesy of Hickstead

Aerial View of Hickstead
Courtesy of Hickstead

Also the glittering black tie event will provide the perfect way to kick start the show season – and it’s a great opportunity for societies, producers, owners, riders and other showing fans to catch up with each other after the long winter break.

“We are really keen to get the whole showing world together to celebrate the start of a new season, as well as raise funds to improve their Hickstead experience.  The Bunns are famed for putting on a good party, and this will be no exception!” said Hickstead director Lizzie Bunn.

The ball will be held in the Beethoven Suite, overlooking the famous International Arena – so come along and party the night away in true Hickstead style. Tickets are £65 each, which includes a three-course dinner and a drinks reception. The evening gets underway at 7pm and will include live music and plenty of dancing, plus there will be a charity auction with a host of fabulous opportunities on offer.

For tickets, please call the hospitality team on 01273 837 253.

Shyron heads for Lingfield Park before championship bid

Newmarket trainer George Margarson is preparing the progressive Shyron for the £45,000 Ladbrokes Handicap over seven furlongs on Polytrack at Lingfield Park this Saturday, February 21, ahead of a potential tilt at All-Weather Championships Finals Day, Good Friday, April 3.

The four-year-old son of Byron has won on three of his four starts during the current All-Weather Championships, most recently producing a devastating turn of foot under Martin Lane to annex a £45,000 handicap over the same course and distance by a length on January 23.

Shyron in action at Lingfield Park Photo courtesy of All Weather Championships

Shyron in action at Lingfield Park
Photo courtesy of All Weather Championships

Shyron took another Lingfield Park seven-furlong handicap on December 31 by three quarters of a length, again with Lane in the saddle. His only defeat this season came when second to the prolific Rich Again after encountering trouble in running and failing by a neck in a seven-furlong handicap on Tapeta at Wolverhampton on December 22.

He started this All-Weather Championships season with success, with Lane taking the mount, in a seven-furlong Wolverhampton handicap on November 17.

Trainer George Margarson

Trainer George Margarson

Margarson said: “We gave Shyron a week off after his win last time and the plan is go back to Lingfield on February 21 for another £45,000 handicap over the seven furlongs.
“He also has the option of a seven-furlong Fast-Track Qualifier at Wolverhampton (March 7). It is possible that he could take in both but I don’t want to overdo him.

“He is a progressive horse and I think he is still well handicapped on the back of his last win. It all went smoothly for him but he did it well and is definitely going the right way.His next start will tell us whether or not we are good enough for Good Friday. The initial thought would be the mile but I am thinking about the sprint as well.

“He went wrong in his only start over a mile at Yarmouth and, although I’m pretty sure he will get it, he does show a lot of speed. I will enter him in both races and take it from there.”

There are two Fast-Track Qualifiers on the same excellent card at Lingfield Park on February 21, the Listed Unibet Cleves Stakes over six furlongs and the Listed Winter Derby Trial over 10 furlongs, both also worth £45,000.

“He is a four-time winner at Lingfield but he also has the option of the seven-furlong race at Wolverhampton on March 7. He has won over seven and a mile because has a bit of class but I think he is better going flat out over five or six.I think he would have a good chance on Finals Day because he will get a strong pace, although he has never won a race outside December or January!” said Margarson



Jody continues impressive success rate in Military races

WEST Sussex based amateur rider Jody Sole extended his impressive record in the Royal Artillery Gold Cup Chase for amateur riders at Sandown on Friday. He continued his successful partnership with champion jumps trainer Paul Nicholls when winning the 2015 race on Friday with Cowards Close.

He tracked the leaders with the eight-year-old Presenting gelding, taking the lead at the 19th fence in the three mile chase to win by just over two lengths. He was presented with the prestigious trophy by Camilla,  Duchess of Cornwall.

Last year at the Royal Artillery Gold Cup meeting at Sandown he won the opening amateur riders’ hurdle race on 4-1 shot Old Way trained by Venetia Williams, receiving the trophy from HRH The Princess Royal.

Jody Sole  brings Old Way into the winner's enclosure

Jody Sole brings Old Way into the winner’s enclosure last year  Photo by Jeannie Knight

Jody, who holds the rank of Lance Bombadier from his five years in the Kings Troop, said he was delighted to win that particular race, because he had won all the other races for military riders at this meeting over the years- although he had waited a few years to win the set.

Three years ago Jodie also won the 150th running of the Grand Military Chase on board Merrion Square  and received the trophy from the Princess Royal.  He also fulfilled a long-standing ambition of  riding round Aintree fences in the Foxhunters Chase on board Gwanako finishing a good sixth out of 26 runners.”It was an outstanding experience and something I had always wanted to do,” he said.

His first race was at Larkhill Point to Point in the Kings Troop Race in 1998 where he won on board a Gun Team horse called Henley, and went back to win the same race the following year.

Later he rode Archie Oates in the Sandown Royal Artillery Gold Cup for Jon Trice-Rolph and finished in fifth place. As the first serving artillery man part the post, he won the Ron Holman Cup which was presented to him by the Queen Mother. When he left the army he joined Greta Saxon’s show jumping and eventing yard and later rode in point to points, where he has ridden at least one winner every season.

His first ride for Paul Nicholls, then also champion trainer, came in 2012 on board Gwanako in the Queen Mother Memorial Chase at Sandown, winning easily by two and three quarter lengths. In 2013 they teamed up again to win the Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Memorial Hunter Chase by 17 lengths  and also took the Royal Artillery Gold Cup in February that year by eight lengths.

Jody had been brought up with horses, living in Rusper outside Horsham, going through pony club and riding club levels until he joined the Kings Troop for five years at the age of 18, achieving the rank of Lance Bombadier.

Jody Sole and Theophrastus Photo: Jeannie Knight

Jody Sole and Theophrastus
Photo: Jeannie Knight

He has a horse of his own for competing in point-to-points, Theophrastus, which he rode to win at last year’s Crawley and Horsham Hunt point-to-point.

His business- JS Equestrian Services is now based in spacious premises at Dragons Stud, Dragons Green in West Sussex where he has 20 boxes for liveries and his own horses, a 20×60 outdoor schooling area with an estate to ride through and he caters for a full range of equestrian needs including competing, schooling,  liveries as well as point to point training.


French-trained Growing Glory heads for Lingfield finals

A thrilling first Fast-Track Qualifier at Cagnes-sur-Mer on the south coast of France was seen recently as Growing Glory turned the tables on favourite Djoko, with the first four home covered by less than a length.

Cagnes Sur Mer racetrack- venue of fast track qualifiers for Good Friday finals at Lingfield Park Photo courtesy Cagnes hippodrome

Cagnes Sur Mer racetrack- venue of fast track qualifiers for Good Friday finals at Lingfield Park
Photo courtesy Cagnes Hippodrome

Growing Glory, trained by Francois Rohaut  at Pau and partnered by Stephane Pasquier, took the Listed Prix de la Californie over a mile on Polytrack by a neck and gains a guaranteed free place in the £150,000 Three-Year-Old Championships over the same distance and surface at Lingfield Park on Good Friday, April 3.

Trainer Francois Rohaut

Trainer Francois Rohaut

The Orpen filly raced in second place of the seven runners on the inside as Romeo Lima set a good pace in front, with Djoko, trained by Philippe Sogorb and the mount of Roberto-Carlos Montenegro, in fifth and then fourth towards the outside.

Growing Glory, a 7.3/1 shot, started to throw down a challenge with two furlongs remaining and was upside the leader at the distance before edging ahead with a half-furlong remaining.

Djoko, a 1.4/1 chance, came through to go second but could not quite get to grips with Growing Glory, whose time was 1m 35.98s, while outsider Muqaawel (Ana Imaz Ceca/Julien Auge) snatched third, half a length in arrears, by a short-head from Romeo Lima (Jean-Claude Rouget/Ioritz Mendizabal) in fourth.

Rohaut said: “I am very pleased with the progress being made by this filly. I am very keen to bring her to Lingfield on Good Friday. The distance and Polytrack will be perfect for Growing Glory.”

The finals day is certain to have an international flavour, creating growing interest in the championships, which are being held for the first time this year.

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.


Double for Fontwell’s champion jockey

Jockey Tom Cannon stole the show at Fontwell Park yesterday when he not only collected his third consecutive trophy as Champion Jockey at the track, but also notched up yet another double at the meeting.

Tom Cannon receiving Fontwell Park Champion Jockey tropy from sponsors Christine and Julian Gamble   Photo: Jeannie Knight

Tom Cannon receiving Fontwell Park Champion Jockey tropy from sponsors Christine and Julian Gamble Photo: Jeannie Knight

His first victory came in the National Hunt Novice Hurdle Race over two and a quarter miles for trainer Chris Gordon . He rode Remiluc, owned by Les Gilbert and Julian Gamble, to an impressive ten length victory, showing a good turn of foot.The six-year-old, which had been with Paul Nicholls for only one run before being sold, could head for Sandown next, where connections feel he will be even better on a galloping track. His real future lies over larger obstacles and connections said he will go chasing next season.

Remiluc with hockey Tom Cannon and connections Photo: Jeannie Knight

Remiluc with jockey Tom Cannon and connections
Photo: Jeannie Knight

Julian Gamble, managing director of Worthing-based Winner Plant Hire, said:” He is a proper, proper horse and will progress to better things. We are delighted with him.”

The second leg of Tom Cannon’s double came when he rode Morgan’s Bay to win the two miles two furlongs handicap steeplechase for trainer Linda Mongan. She said the ten-year-old had not been easy to train,. ” He has had issues and is not an easy horse to train,, but he won for me in October and was runner-up in December at Lingfield. He did it nicely today and is very versatile in running. ”

Tom Cannon and Morgans Bay with trainer Laura Mongan and connections Photo:Jeannie Knight

Fontwell Park is a popular track with Caroline Keevil, who trains at Motcombe in Dorset and she sent out Strawberry Hill with James Best in the saddle to win the two mile six furlongs handicap steeplechase following an excellent ride from this young jockey.

Caroline said: ” He won here in November 2013 but then had 13 months off through injury. He was coming back to his best when second at Taunton last week. He was off the bridle most of the way in this race but I knew he would keep going when he went upsides in the closing stages and this was a better distance for him than last week’s two mile trip.”

Strawberry Hill with trainer Caroline Keevil (right) and jockey James Best Photo: Jeannie Knight

Trainer Richard Lee’s journey from Hereford with six-year-old Definite Future paid off when the gelding, ridden by Jake Greenall, won the Handicap Hurdle over two and a half miles beating De Blacksmith,trained by Gary Moore by a short head, with Nick Gifford’s consistent Prouts Pub a further length back in third place. The final National Hunt Flat race went to Chapel Hall trained by Nicky Henderson and giving conditional jockey Freddie Mitchell his first winner for his new boss.

The next meeting at Fontwell Park is on Sunday February 22 with the Totepool National Spirit Hurdle Race.

Nostalgic visit to Fontwell for Sir Mark Prescott

Flat trainer Sir Mark Prescott paid a nostalgic visit to Fontwell Park yesterday to run an extremely well-bred four-year-old filly by Sea The Stars in the bumper race at the end of the card. Named Sea Pride, she was making her racecourse debut in the Flat race.

Sir Mark Prescott at Fontwell Park yesterday Photo: Jeannie Knight

In 1966 he had ridden Propellant Miss to win a hurdle race there for trainer Cecil Stone and he had fond memories of the Sussex racecourse. In fact it was also a trip down memory lane for the two people accompanying him – Alison West ( his travelling head girl) and Val Griffiths ( racing manager to Bluehills Racing Ltd which owns Sea Pride).

Sir Mark had visited The Old Racecourse at Lewes on his way to Fontwell, and met recently retired trainer Gerry Enright and his wife, Midge, who still live there, as part of this nostalgic journey. Sir Mark told Gerry he rode in the second last race on the final day of racing at Lewes racecourse in September 1964.

Also Alison West, his travelling head girl is Lewes born and bred and was involved in racing at Lewes and had also ridden at Fontwell Park. She said the access and horse box had changed greatly- their box driver had  initially gone into the adjoining pub car park by mistake!

Val Griffiths also had Lewes links and was secretary to Lewes trainer Auriol Sinclair when Gerry was apprenticed to Gordon Smythe there.

Jockey Micheal Nolan and Sir Mark Prescott with head girl Alison West and Val Griffiths racing manager for Bluehills Racing Ltd

Jockey Micheal Nolan and Sir Mark Prescott with head girl Alison West and Val Griffiths racing manager for Bluehills Racing Ltd  Photo: Jeannie Knight

Sir Mark said: “I have fond memories of Fontwell Park. The paddock was in a different place and the stables were near the road in those days. It has been interesting to come back.”

He described the filly as ‘enormous’ but she is bred for success on the Flat, out of Claxon and half-sister to two excellent winners. She was not broken until she was three and was too backward to run last year on the level as a three-year-old.


Sea Pride, Micheal Nolan up, preparing to go out on to the track

Sea Pride, Micheal Nolan up, preparing to go out on to the track in increasingly gloomy conditions

Micheal Nolan was in the saddle for the ride, giving  her a first taste of racing which she handled well,  finishing third, beaten only in the final furlong and finishing ahead of some previous bumper winners.

The race was won by Nicky Henderson’s Chapel Hall, odds-on favourite, which had previously finished third in a similar race.


Excellent racing at Fontwell Park

.Racing at Fontwell Park returns with an outstanding card tomorrow ( Thursday), kicking off at 2.20pm with the Tom Cannon Triple Champion Novices Hurdle, commemorating the prolific wins he has achieved at this popular track-especially when teaming up with trainer Chris Gordon.

Jockey Tom Cannon following a win at Fontwell Park

Jockey Tom Cannon following a win at Fontwell Park

He is riding for this trainer in this two miles six furlong race, partnering Tara Bridge, a seven-year-old gelding, on his third outing.  This horse finished fourth at Fontwell Park last time, but faces some experienced opposition, especially from Mighty Vic, trained by Suzy Smith. Mighty Vic has joined her in-form yard from a win in Ireland. Ben Pauling also sends out a progressive horse in Ewings.

West country trainer Caroline Keevil and jockey James Best have a good record at Fontwell and they team up with previous course winner, Strawberry Hill in the two mile two furlong novice hurdle race, contested by nine runners.

Dan Skelton is another trainer in cracking form, especially when his horses are ridden by his brother Harry, and they are the pair Strawberry Hill has to beat in this race, with  Popaflora, second for them last time out at Plumpton.

Dan Skelton with an earlier Fontwell winner, Workbench Photo: Jeannie Knight

Dan Skelton with an earlier Fontwell winner, Workbench
Photo: Jeannie Knight

They also have good prospects of taking the 10-runner third race, a two mile two furlongs hurdle qualifier over two miles two with Benissimo. Their biggest danger could come from Colin Tizzard’s Fourth Act, second at this track on similar going in November.

Prouts Pub, a racing club horse trained locally at Findon by Nick Gifford and ridden by Tom Cannon, will raise the roof if he wins the two mile four furlong handicap hurdle. De Blacksmith, from Gary Moore, has still to recapture his winning form of December 2012, when his course and distance win at Fontwell was followed up by a win the following month at Plumpton.  An unknown quantity is Lewes trainer Suzy Smith’s Mariat, runner up at Fontwell and a winner at Plumpton last year, again with claimer Jack Sherwood in the saddle.

Nick Gifford

Nick Gifford

Brody Bleu, a dual chase winner and plenty of places to his credit, could take the two mile two furlong handicap chase for West Country trainer Robert Walford with Felix De Giles in the saddle. He could have most to fear from Laura Mongan’s Morgan’s Bay ridden by Tom Cannon.

There is a grand finale at Fontwell in the National Hunt Flat Race, where Nemarket Flat trainer Sir Mark Prescott will be making a nostalgic return to Fontwell Park for the first time since 1966. Better known for his winners on the Flat, almost 49 years ago he rode Propellant Miss to win a Fontwell Park hurdle race for trainer Cecil Stone.

He runs filly Sea Pride, by Sea The Stars, a four-year-old, who will be having her first run at 4.50pm. A big filly, she was unbroken until three and couldn’t run on the Flat because she was backward. Her first taste of racing will be in this race at Fontwell.


Ben Hobday demo at Baileys championships events

With the Baileys Jump Training and JAS Championships taking place for the first time over the same weekend at Hartpury College, Gloucestershire, on February 21 and 22 respectively), Baileys sponsored event rider Ben Hobday will be giving a mounted lecture demo on the Saturday evening of the Championship weekend.

Ben will be providing a 45 minute demo, as well as giving those attending the chance to take part a question and answer session at the end.


Ben Hobday, sponsored by

Ben Hobday, sponsored by

His session aims to help those at all levels understand vital pre-season training: “I will be bringing some young and more experienced horses to show the different levels of training these horses require and will be addressing and explaining how to overcome problems everyone has, both amateurs and professionals,” he said.

Forming part of a bumper weekend of competition, entry to the demo for JAS and Jump Training Finalists and up to four friends and/or family members is completely free of charge, or just £10 on the door on a first come first served basis.

Baileys competition sseries Photo Baileys Horse Feeds

Excellent weekend of competition promised at Hartpury
Photo Baileys Horse Feeds

Visit the JAS and Jump Training webpages via to view the full list of 2015 fixtures as well as find out which experts will be judging at each event:

Visit for more information about the series sponsor.