Good day’s racing at Plumpton yesterday with some surprises

Mollasses, a four-year-old filly trained at Sparsholt by Harry Whittington, overturned David Pipe’s odds-on favourite, Twentytwo’sTaken in fine style in the opening race at Plumpton yesterday.

Mollasses with trainer Harry Whittington, owners and jockey avin Sheehan   Photo: Jeannie Knight

Mollasses with trainer Harry Whittington, owners and jockey Gavin Sheehan Photo: Jeannie Knight

Ridden by Gavin Sheehan, she won by an impressive 15 lengths, rewarding her trainer’s initiative in buying her off the Flat in the October sales for 10,000 guineas.

Trainer Harry Whittington

Trainer Harry Whittington

Harry Whittington said: ” I’ll keep her to two miles initially and she should continue to improve. I have 14 horses now, having started with five. She was fourth on her first outing and will improve even further.”

The favourite, Oliver Sherwood’sTaniokey, was overturned in the second division of this race too, when Kim Bailey sent out six-year-old bay mare Allez Encore at 15-8 to win under jockey David Bass. He predicted that this mare, who was making her hurdling debut,  would be even better over two and a half miles.

The Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase had only four runners- but those trained by Charlie Mann, Venetia Williams and Donald McCain were no match for five-year-old Traffic Fluide, sent out by Sussex trainer Gary Moore. This five-year-old, partnered by Joshua Moore, came home six lengths clear as 11-8 favourite.

Traffic Fluide and Joshua Moore coming into the winner's enclosure Photo: Jeannie Knight

Traffic Fluide and Joshua Moore coming into the winner’s enclosure
Photo: Jeannie Knight

His trainer said: “This horse will have a good future and is another horse we found in France, and should go on to win again.”

He also had news of Sire De Grugy, saying he had come out of his prep race for Cheltenham in good form, despite not jumping well at Newbury on Saturday, and unseating his son, jockey Jamie Moore.

“Because of his injury, his preparation for Saturday’s race was interrupted and rushed. We had a similar situation with him once before which followed this pattern and he got over it.  I am confident he will do the same again. Not all racecourse have been willing to let us have a racecourse gallop,  but Plumpton helped us last year and it was an attraction before racing. I’m sure they will help again this year if we need it before Cheltenham,” he said.

Lewes trainer Suzy Smith continued her good run of form this season with an excellent win from Laughton Park at 13-2 in the two miles five furlong handicap hurdle, under a good ride by 3lb claimer Micheal Nolan. It was even more impressive because the ten-year-old Karinga Bay gelding gained this victory after a ten month break.

Laughton Park with  trainer Suzie Smith ( left) and members of the Sams Partnership.  Photo: Jeannie Knight

Laughton Park with trainer Suzy Smith ( left) and members of the Sams Partnership.
Photo: Jeannie Knight

She said: “He had been put up 12 lb after his last win, which I felt was excessive but I knew he could do it. He had tendonitis after that victory, which is why he had so long off. He is also a very stuffy and lazy horse at home but can always surprise you.”

Trainer Alan King has had many successes at Plumpton, going on to send several of these to Cheltenham.  He enjoyed another victory in the Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase when Roberto Pegasus, 3-1 joint favourite, won with Wayne Hutchinson in the saddle.

Roberto Pegasus with trainer Alan King and jockey Wayne Hutchinson Photo Jeannie Knight

Roberto Pegasus with trainer Alan King and jockey Wayne Hutchinson
Photo Jeannie Knight

He said: ” It is a bit late to go chasing with a nine-year-old but he jumped well and I am pleased with him. He has had a few injury scares and was off the course for a year, which is why he has taken so long to go over fences.”

Laura Hurley, who trains at Kineton, continued a family tradition of wins at Plumpton when she won the Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle race with Catchin Time ridden by Kieron Edgar.

Catchin Time with trainer Laura Hurley far right and jockey Kieron Edgar Photo: Jeannie Knight

Catchin Time with trainer Laura Hurley far left and jockey Kieron Edgar
Photo: Jeannie Knight

.Her uncle, Joss Musson, and her grandfather, Willy Musson, had all sent out horses to victory at the track. Catchin Time, had won at Leicester on his third start for her 12 days previously. This time his victory was more than three lengths from Jeremy Scott’s Dainty Diva.

The final race, a National Hunt Flat race, was won Chic Theatre, trained by David Pipe and ridden by Tom Scudamore, which won by 10 lengths at the amazing price of 14-1. Favourite King  Kayf, trained by Noel Williams finished in fifth place.

Di Lampard is new performance manager for UK jumping

The British Equestrian Federation (BEF) has named Di Lampard as the new performance manager for jumping. Di will step up from her current role as Team GBR co-selector and deputy chef d’equipe for Nations Cup jumping teams (a position she has held since 2010) to lead, develop and manage the jumping programmes within the UK Sport National Lottery funded World Class Programme.

Di will start her new role with immediate effect, using her extensive experience within the sport to pick up responsibility for the structure, management and coaching provision of the GBR senior jumping team.

Di Lampard   Photo courtesy of Trevor Meeks

Di Lampard                 Photo courtesy of Trevor Meeks

 

She will lead a dedicated group of athletes, grooms and owners and work closely with World Class colleagues and British Showjumping with the primary aim of delivering podium places at championship level. In doing so the former international showjumper from Rutland will become the first female performance manager in British Equestrian Sport and one of the very few on the international circuit.

World Class Performance director Dan Hughes commented: “The European Championships this summer will provide the final opportunity for the Jumping team to achieve Olympic qualification for the 2016 Games. It was therefore essential we found a new performance manager as quickly as possible to provide a smooth transition.

“Di’s credentials as a showjumping rider, coach, selector and Chef d’Equipe, coupled with her extensive knowledge of the sport, made a compelling case. Her reputation is second to none and her attitude and approach make her exactly the right person for the job. We know she’ll be able to hit the ground running and focus quickly on the immediate challenges of Olympic qualification and achieving podium places for Team GBR in 2016. I warmly congratulate her on her appointment and welcome her to Team GBR and the World Class fold with open arms.”

Commenting on her appointment Di Lampard said: “I feel proud and honoured to be appointed as the jumping performance manager within the World Class Programme. I want to ignite the fire and passion of London 2012 to achieve success, our immediate goal being qualification for Rio in 2016. We will only do this with a no compromise approach and by creating a strong team spirit through open communication and transparency with riders, owners and support staff.

“Meanwhile we will look to support the World Class Development Programme athletes, giving these young riders the opportunities to integrate into the experience of the Team GBR squad. We will look to contribute a wider foundation of new horses and involve a larger pool of owners in developing the all-important horsepower we need to achieve success. Rob [Hoekstra] has left the position in great shape having seen British showjumping through one of their most successful periods and I am delighted to take over the reins.”

Di has comprehensive experience of operating in a high performance culture and is no stranger to top level competition herself. During her career she was awarded numerous accolades, standing leading lady rider for eight years and representing Great Britain in two World Equestrian Games, two European Championships and around 50 Nations Cup Teams. Over the last 30 years she and her husband, Dietmar Ackermann, have developed their equestrian facility at Spring Farm into a centre of excellence for coaching and the development of young horses.  Di has worked with jumping’s youth teams since 1996 and was appointed British Showjumping Consultant Head of Training in 2002.

Di succeeds her former colleague Rob Hoekstra who left the position on January 1 this year to take up new challenges in the sport having been at the helm since 2010.

 

Good fields declared for Plumpton’s meeting tomorrow.

Weather prospects are good for Plumpton’s February Raceday tomorrow ( Februry 9), when six well-subscribed races are expected to produced competitive racing at this popular track.

The going is expected to be soft and there is an exciting card with £44,000 in prize money up for grabs. The day features The £500 Permanent Money Backs @ choicebet.net Handicap Hurdle Race, and also the final race in Plumpton’s SIS Cheltenham bonus race series for the 2014/2015 season, The SIS Live Novices’ Limited Handicap Steeple Chase.

Good viewing of runners in the paddock at Plumpton

Good viewing of runners in the paddock at Plumpton

This bonus initiative is sponsored by horse racing broadcasters SIS and offers any horse that wins one of five nominated Novices Chases at Plumpton this season, the opportunity to scoop a valuable £60,000 cash bonus if it then goes on to win any chase race at the Cheltenham Festival in March 2015.

These races have guaranteed a high calibre of runners throughout this season and the first of six races at Plumpton is at 2.20pm, with the last at 4.50pm. Children under 18 go free. Adult admission of £16 includes a free racecard and free parking.

The opening race, a Mares Novice Hurdle race has has been so well subscribed that it is split into two divisions, with the first headed by  the likely favourite,Twentytwo’sTaken, trained by David Pipe and ridden by Tom Scudamore. Course and distance winner Tambura, trained by Geoff Maundrell and ridden by Tom Cannon cannot  be discounted in this race.

The second division, with nine runners has Taniolkey ( Oliver Sherwood and Leighton Aspell heading the weights and Allez Encore ( Kim Bailey and David Bass) cannot be dismissed.

The Novices Limited Handicap Chase over two miles one furlong at 2.50pm is headed by dual winner Seventh Sky trained by Charlie Mann and ridden by Gavin Sheehan. This is an interesting race with Venetia Williams sending out Cash and Go for a first run of the season, partnered by Aidan Coleman. This has the makings of a hot race for Donald McCain has a rare runner at Plumpton in Kings Bandit ridden by Noel Fehily and Gary Moore’s Traffic Fluide will be partnered by son Josh.

The Handicap Hurdle over two miles five furlongs will be contested by eight runners, again with David Pipe heading the field with Great Choice. He will be hoping to better the six-year-olds two previous placings this season with Tom Scudamore riding

Our  Philli Vera on a previous course win for Alan King Photo:Jeannie Knight

Our Philli Vera and Wayne Hutchinson following a previous course win for Alan King
Photo:Jeannie Knight

. But Alan King , whose runners at Plumpton have been extremely successful,  has an entry in this race in Our Philli Vera. The six-year-old won at the track last season and with Wayne Hutchinson in the saddle could be the main contender.In form Lewes trainer Suzie Smith sends out previous course and distance winner Laughton Park with useful 3lb claimer Micheal Nolan riding and also cannot be ruled out.

The Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase over two miles four furlongs with seven entries has another Alan King runner in nine-year-old Roberto Pegasus, which has won over the distance and is partnered by Wayne Hutchinson.  But Joshua Moore, fresh from an excellent Newbury win with Violet Dancer, trained by father Gary, has the ride on stablemate Knight Of Pleasure in this race- though the one to thwart them both could be King Rolfe, sent from Wales by Tim Vaughan. Richard Johnson has the ride on this runner, already a winner this season but which unseated rider on his last outing.

Jockey Joshua Moore with his father, trainer Gary Moore

Jockey Joshua Moore with his father, trainer Gary Moore

The Conditional Jockeys Handicap Hurdle race over two miles sees local rider George Gorman bringing a useful 8lb claim to Gary Moore’s Sudden Wish, but Daniel Steele, who trains near Henfield and has been so successful at Plumpton with Hold The Bucks and According To Them, sends out Hudibras with the talented Freddie Mitchell riding.

The final race is a well-contested National Hunt Flat Race over two miles two furlongs with ten entries.

An excellent day’s racing is promised at this popular track and the weather is expected to be dry.

 

McCoy to retire, Sire De Grugy unseats but Violet Dancer wins at 20-1

It was an eventful day at Newbury with Champion jockey Tony McCoy not only clocking up his 200th winner of the season today (Saturday) on board Mr Mole, but as he came back into the winner’s spot he unexpectedly announced plans to retire from riding at the end of the jumps season.

Champion jockey Tony McCoy to retire at end of season

Champion jockey Tony McCoy to retire at end of season

The 19-time champion jockey revealed his intention to quit the saddle at the end of this season, as he came back in after crossing the finishing line.

He told television cameras: ” I have won 20 champion jockey titles, regularly clocking up 200 winners in a season. Until now I had only told JP McManus and my agent Dave Roberts. Even my wife, Channelle, did not know until Dave Roberts came to discuss it with me, and I had not told my parents, who wanted me to retire. It has been a great way of life,” he said.

The ups and downs of race-riding were clearly illustrated in the following race. Having safely clocked up his 200th winner of the current season, he went out to rider Goodwood Mirage for trainer Jonjo O’Neill, only to find himself  firmly on the deck when the horse fell at the first fence.

Jamie Moore and Sire De Grugy Photo: John Simpson

Jamie Moore and Sire De Grugy
Photo: John Simpson

Sussex trainer Gary Moore was another to see both sides of the coin at Newbury, with his stable star Sire De Grugy partnered by his usual rider, Jamie Moore, jumping badly in his long-awaited comeback in the Game Spirit Chase. The horse blundered four out but recovered and ran on to go second. He made another bad mistake unseating his rider at the next, three from home.

His trainer, who went on to saddle Violet Dancer ridden by his other son Josh, to win the Grade 3 Betfair Hurdle at 20-1, later reported that both horse and jockey were ‘fine’.

Jockey Joshua Moore with his father, trainer Gary Moore

Jockey Joshua Moore with his father, trainer Gary Moore

He said: “What an afternoon. I had three horses in then first race, which all ran badly, then Sire De Grugy got rid of Jamie, but Violet Dancer and Josh gave me my third win the Betfair Hurdle! Sire De Grugy is fine. He has trotted up sound and it was a one off.”

Jockey Josh Moore added: “I always thought Violet Dancer had a big handicap hurdle in him but he was probably a little fortunate today. I only popped out of the gate as quick as I did as it was a standing start and they left me alone in front and there was trouble in behind. It was so quiet up the straight I was worried for a moment that there had been a false start!”

 

 

 

 

 

Top award for World Horse Welfare’s rescue and rehoming centre

World Horse Welfare’s Digger, Whisky, Disney, Skye and all their friends are celebrating Belwade Farm Rescue and Rehoming Centre’s latest accolade – winning ‘Best Visitor Attraction’ at the Aberdeen & Shire Tourism Awards.

Belwade Farm Rescue & Rehoming Centre, based near Aboyne, on the edge of the Cairngorms National Park, was part of the winning line-up that recognises the ‘best of the best’ tourism businesses of all sizes throughout Aberdeen City and Shire. By winning, Belwade Farm demonstrated to the judges that it delivers exceptional customer service and the centre certainly added diversity to the list of winners, which included hotels, camp sites and local festivals.

World Horse Welfare's  Digger at the    centre Photo courtesy of World Horse Welfare

World Horse Welfare’s Digger greeting visitors from a new  indoor arena  at the Beldale centre
Photo courtesy of World Horse Welfare

Centre manager Eileen Gillen, who has been with World Horse Welfare for nearly 25 years and helped establish Belwade Farm and oversee the development of its recently expanded facilities, was honoured to receive the award which she said the team truly deserved:

“Our primary focus is on the rehabilitation and rehoming of the horses and we are always delighted to welcome visitors who are keen to come and see the work that we do. The entire team, ably led by our centre promotions officer, Lisa Gardiner, has worked hard to make the farm a very interesting, engaging and above all welcoming place to visit and we couldn’t be more honoured to receive this recognition against such stiff competition.”

As well as having the opportunity to meet the horses, including national celebrity 19.1hh Clydesdale World Horse Welfare Digger, there is plenty to see and do at the centre. Belwade Farm overlooks the breath-taking countryside of Royal Deeside and the nature walks take visitors past dry stone wall-edged rolling paddocks where its 65 horses, ponies and donkeys happily graze, through beautiful woodland and along the River Dee. On a clear day Lochnagar can be seen in the distance and with its stylish conference centre and megalithic stone circle, Belwade Farm is a picturesque spot for weddings, family celebrations and anniversary parties offering so many wonderful photo opportunities.

World Horse Welfare Digger and Derek enjoying sunshine in spectacular surroundings Photo courtesy of World Horse Welfare

World Horse Welfare’s Digger and Derek enjoying sunshine in spectacular surroundings Photo courtesy of World Horse Welfare

In 2012 the charity’s President Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal opened the fantastic new indoor arena and Visitors Centre. The long-awaited indoor arena allows the dedicated grooms to carry out rehabilitation with horses and ponies even in Aboyne’s harshest winters with a viewing platform and even a gallery view from its renowned bistro so visitors can feel involved.

Chief Excutive of World Horse Welfare Roly Owers, welcoming HRH The Princess Royal at the opening of

Chief Excutive of World Horse Welfare Roly Owers, welcoming HRH The Princess Royal at the opening of the indoor arena and Visitors Centre    Photo courtesy of World Horse Welfare

Charity Chief Executive Roly Owers explained why this award was such an important landmark for Scotland’s most vulnerable horses saying: “Our centres play a vital role in giving horses in desperate need a second chance. The Belwade team work 365-days-a-year doing a difficult and demanding job but will always greet visitors with warm smiles. “This plays such an invaluable role as we strive to raise the profile of the plight of vulnerable horses in Scotland, across the UK and around the world. The team at Belwade thoroughly deserve this award and I would encourage everyone to visit this real jewel in the Royal Deeside countryside.”

Since the launch of the new Visitors Centre the number of tourists passing through the gates of Belwade Farm Rescue and Rehoming Centre – which has grown to become the largest receiving Centre in Scotland for equine cases subjected to neglect, cruelty and ignorance in all areas of the horse world – has trebled to more than 14,000. The charity’s aim is to rehabilitate and rehome horses coming into the Centre and with it regularly running to maximum capacity there are around 65 horses undergoing rehabilitation at any one time.

Set in the most idyllic Scottish countryside and with recent improvements to the Visitors Centre the events programme really is the best in the region with fantastic entertainment and menus featuring delicious local produce.

Belwade Farm is open from 11am to 4pm Wednesday to Sunday throughout the year. In addition to public opening times group visits are also welcome by appointment and are tailored to meet specific requirements. For more information call Lisa on 01339 885398.
Or visit the national website: www.worldhorsewelfare.org

Sire de Grugy to run at Newbury tomorrow

Sire De Grugy, trained in Sussex by Gary Moore, is expected to be back in action at Newbury tomorrow. He has been off the track for nine months, with his return delayed by injury.

But his jockey Jamie Moore, who rides him out and handles him at home at Cisswood Stables, believes he will be fully fit for the Betfair Price Rush Chase at Newbury, known previously as the Game Spirit Chase- and ready to go on a regain his Champion Chase crown at Cheltenham.

Sire De Grugy with Jamie Moore  Photo: Jeannie Knight

Sire De Grugy with Jamie Moore Photo: Jeannie Knight

Sire De Grugy had an injury setback in November, after damaging his hip when rolling in his box after exercise and, following a scan, did not resume any work until he cantered shortly before Christmas.

But Jamie Moore said earlier this week that his exercise had been stepped up gradually and predicted that the popular horse will prove to be fitter than he was on his seasonal reappearance last year.

Although Jamie is confident Sire De Grugy is in top form, his father, Gary Moore, told reporters that he wouldn’t be surprised if Sire De Grugy is beaten at Newbury and the main purpose was to get a run into him prior to Cheltenham.

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

But his workout this week was with Violet Dancer, a horse which Gary Moore expects to run a big race in the Betfair Hurdle, and on that basis the popular chestnut could well be on target to win this prep race, especially with possibly another spin on the all-weather gallops before he runs tomorrow.

There is absolutely no doubt that there is a very special partnership between horse and jockey- which has resulted in 14 wins already and more than £600,000 in prizemoney.

Prestigious sponsorship for Cowdray Park Polo Club

COWDRAY Park Polo Club has attracted several new sponsorships for 2015,  which will take it into the new season in style. Last season had ended with the news that long-term sponsorship from Veuve Cliquot had ended and the feature event will now be known as the Jaeger-LeCoultre Gold Cup.

Jaeger-LeCoultre, new sponsors of the world famous Gold Cup at Cowdray Park, now to be known as the Jaeger-LeCoultre Gold Cup for the British Open Polo Championship, will also retain the role they have held since 2006 as Official Timekeeper to Cowdray Park Polo Club.

Dubai Cambiaso on the move in the quarter finals: Photo Clive Bennett

Dubai Cambiaso on the move in the quarter finals in Cowdray’s Gold Cup last year: Photo Clive Bennett

Their enhanced partnership establishes the luxury watch-maker’s position at the very pinnacle of UK polo.

Also the prestigious champagne marque, Louis Roederer, has been appointed official champagne partner to Cowdray Park Polo Club in a significant signing which sees the champagne brand take on a major sporting sponsorship for the first time.

Richard Billett, sales and marketing director UK, commented: “We are extremely pleased to be embarking on this collaboration with Cowdray Park Polo, a club with great heritage and whose Gold Cup is arguably the most prestigious event in the sport.”

EFG International, long term sponsors within the polo world and sponsors of the Award for Player Playing Best to his Handicap at the semi-finals of the Gold Cup for the British Open Polo Championship, becomes Official Banking Partner to Cowdray Park Polo Club elevating the brand to senior sponsorship level at the club.

“We are pleased to be continuing our support for the Gold Cup for the British Open Polo Championship, one of the three most important polo tournaments in the world, ‎while also establishing a new partnership with Cowdray Park Polo Club, home of the Gold Cup and a club synonymous with the sport,” said Keith Gapp, Head of Strategy and Marketing, EFG International.

Peter Barfoot, Chairman, Cowdray Park Polo Club added: “We are delighted to welcome Louis Roederer and EFG International as Official Partners to Cowdray Park Polo Club, joining a growing list of prestigious names keen to be associated with the Home of British Polo.”

The new season at Cowdray Park Polo Club opens on April 25 and the Jaeger-LeCoultre Gold Cup takes place from June  23 until July 19 2015.

 

Red Cadeaux to run in Darley Australian Cup

Ed Dunlop’s Red Cadeaux, which has finished runner-up in the Melbourne Cup three times, is again heading out to Australia- although with a different target this time. Now nine-years-old, Red Cadeaux is expected to have a couple of prior runs before heading to Sydney.

Plans for him are to contest a race at a new festival in Australia, called The Championships, which will delight his massive fan club out there. His main target is expected to be the Group 1 Darley Australian Cup over 1m2f at home of the Melbourne Cup, Flemington.

Red Cadeaux  Photo:John Simpson

Red Cadeaux
Photo:John Simpson

There he is likely to come up against a horse which beat him in the Emirates Melbourne Cup, Protectionist.

Red Cadeaux went into quarantine at Newmarket last Friday and is expected to reach Melbourne on February 14, where will also have a period in quarantine .

Previously he has only contested the two-mile Emirates Melbourne Cup in  four previous visits to Melbourne, but the horse has been placed in a Dubai World Cup over 2,000 metres so this new race should suit him well.

There is no doubt that Australian fans will be flocking to see him and will be thrilled that he is competing in the new festival, where he will be a major attraction.

Red Cadeaux Photo: John Simpson

Red Cadeaux
Photo: John Simpson

Red Cadeaux raced in Dubai the past two springs, finishing runner-up in the 2013 Dubai World Cup and sixth in the same race last year, and had been entered in three races at this year’s World Cup meeting, continuing his successful globe-trotting programme.

School team aims for the top this year

AN equestrian team from Burgess Hill School for Girls is aiming high again this year- determined to qualify for the fifth successive year for the National Schools Equestrian Association’s National Dressage Championships.  At the end of October last year, a dressage team of Year 11 students made the trip to the prestigious venue of Addington Manor in Buckinghamshire for this event.

Those representing the school were Joahanna Lawless, Rachael Hawkins, Alice Reffin and Sarah Rogers. They travelled up prior to competition day to compete in an afternoon warm-up class.

Rachael Hawkins and Sonny in the Jumping with Style championship

Rachael Hawkins and Sonny in the Jumping with Style championship

Sarah Rogers recalled:”The warm-up test was very useful to get the ponies used to the buzzing atmosphere and the size of the arenas. The ponies all behaved really well and we were feeling quietly confident about the team tests the next day. My horse Lady and I picked up a pleasing fifth place. Rachael and her horse Sonny qualified for the 1m10 show jumping championship. Despite a shaky start they managed a fantastic round over a challenging course. ”

The following day, Johanna and Alice competed first in their Prelim class, and both produced good tests with Johanna finiishing in sixth place in her arena, and Alice 16th on her horse Henry, who was competing at Addington for the first time.

Later in the day, Rachael and Sarah competed in  Novice classes.  Sarah and Lady finished in sixth place in their arena- an excellent result against strong competition. Rachael rode a good test but had trouble with Sonny’s counter canter, losing a number of marks but still finishing a respectable fifteenth place in a big field.  The Burgess Hill school team finished in tenth place overall out of 24 teams-  a great improvement from the previous year when they were in 22nd place.

Sarah said: “We were all very excited to support Rachael’s ‘Jumping With Style’ championships ,which comprised show jumps and indoor cross country fences. The course looked incredibly big, The competition was a very high standard, with the eventual winner having represented Great Britain. Despite this tough competition.Rachael managed an excellent seventh place. ”

On the Sunday, three of the girls competed in individual competition. In the morning, Johanna competed in her Prelim individual class with her  horse DJ and achieved an impressive 68 per cent and seventeenth place.  Sarah had qualified for both the Elementary and Prelim individual competitions, but had to  pull out of the Prelim because her horse, Lady, felt stiff after her first class.

Sarah Rogers-third in Elementary Dressge

She said: “I was fairly pleased with my Elementary test, although Lady ‘accelerated’ rather too much in her medium canter. I lost four marks because I had to add an extra circle to regain control but still managed to achieve 69 per cent and third place up against some very smart-looking horses.”

Rachael and her horse Sonny performed well and he maintained a good counter canter beautifully.  The duo did extremely well to finish in ninth place on only Rachael’s second Elementary level test. Sarah added: “We are grateful for the support from the school and our team trainer who helped and supported us throughout the year. We are looking forward to qualifying for the 2015 competition.”

Pain Au Chocolate heads for Triumph Hurdle

The latest contender for the JCB Triumph Hurdle, on the last day of the Cheltenham Festiva,l is Alan King’s Pain Au Chocolate, which has been quoted at 16-1 following an impressive victory at Sandown on Saturday.

Pain Au Chocolate is by Enrique and The Million in Mind partnership which owns him said after the race that he had ‘booked his trip to the Triumph Hurdle with a decisive win at Sandown.’  And Alan King confirmed yesterday that Pain Au Chocolate is entered for the race.

Pain Au Chocolat following his earlier Plumpton win Photo:Jeannie Knight

Pain Au Chocolat following his earlier Plumpton win Photo:Jeannie Knight

The horse had first shown promise when winning at Plumpton earlier in the season when his trainer said he had run well enough for him to  ‘semi-consider’ Cheltenham  at that early stage with a prior look at one of the trials.

On that day he was part of a double with stablemate Grumeti- both horses ridden by Wayne Hutchinson. Grumeti won the novice steeplechase when his trainer said he would be a far better horse on better ground.

Grumeti  with jockey Wayne Hutchinson  and owners following his Plumpton win on the same day Photo:

Grumeti with jockey Wayne Hutchinson and owners following his Plumpton win on the same day Photo:

Grumeti has been entered for the Arkle Challenge Trophy and the Jt Novices Chase Grade 1 at the Festival.

Pain Au Chocolate  had joined Alan King in the autumn and will bid to give the trainer his third win in the Triumph Hurdle, following Penzance in 2005 and Katchit two years later- both ridden by Robert Thornton.

Last year’s race went to Tiger Roll trained by Gordon Elliott, and in the previous year to Dessie Hughes with Our Conor, But in the previous decade Philip Hobbs, Nicky Henderson and Paul Nicholls also sent out two winners each in this juvenile race for four-year-olds run over two miles and one furlong. Jonjo O’Neill and John Quinn both had one victory.

Nicky Henderson’s current entries for the race are Top Notch, Bivouac and Hargam. Paul Nicholls’ entries  are All Set To Go, San Benedeto, Old Guard Chart Breaker Lac Leman, Beuvreuil, Apsatou, while Nigel Twiston-Davies has Goodbye Dancer and Bristol De Mai.

Tim Vaughan has the Wallace Line, Venetia Williams – Guantoshol, Rocket Ship and Jeanpascal, while Nick Gifford has entered French bred Surspenders.