Eventful Midhurst Town Cup match

The weekend’s action in the Jaeger-LeCoultre Gold Cup saw disappointment for the HB Polo team of French brothers Ludovic and Sebastien Pailloncy when they were defeated 12-3 by the UAE side, again playing strongly under the captaincy of 10 goaler Pablo McDonough.

Later in the day, Salkeld who had played with such vigour in their opening match against Zacara, were outclassed by Sir Charles Williams’ Apes Hill side.  The all-pro Apes Hill team of Mark Tomlinson, Ralph Richardson, Eduardo Novillo-Astrada and Tom Morley produced a masterful team effort to win the match 8-6. King Power Foxes took on VPS Healthcare Sifani on the King Power home ground at Billingbear Park and had no trouble achieving a 19-8 victory.

The match between Lyndon Lea’s Zacara and Edouard Carmignac’s Talandracas played for the Midhurst Town Cup was eventful. With Polito Pieres for Talandracas dominating the early part of the game, by the middle of chukka 2 Talandracas were ahead 5-2.

Midhurst Town Cup winners Zacara

Midhurst Town Cup winners Zacara

However an incident during which Lyndon Lea’s horse fell and the patron was thrown to the ground, resulted in an unprecedented decision by the umpires to retire the Talandracas number 1, 4 goaler Ali Paterson, for the remainder of the match. After a delay Lea was able to return to the game.  Talandrancas moved the score on to 6-2 from a 30 yard penalty and the chukka ended with Jack Hyde for Zacara ably shooting a ball from Juan Martin Nero through the goalposts to take his side on to 3-6.

In chukka 3, Zacara were able to score five goals before Pieres and Guillermo Caset, working their socks off, managed to pull one back for Talandracas, the half time score being 8-7 in Zacara’s favour.

Caset for Talandracas  equalised from a 30 yard penalty early in the fourth chukka and then sent through a field goal to take the lead again for Talandracas.  But within a minute Zacara’s Back, Rodrigo Andrade, had scored from a tricky angle to equalise on 9-9 and Lyndon Lea lost little time in taking his side ahead 10-9.

From then on Zacara dominated the match with Talandracas  putting up little defense. During chukka 5, Andrade notched up three goals and team mates Juan Martin Nero, Lyndon Lea and Jack Hyde took one apiece.

Caset’s one goal saw the score at the end of the chukka 16-10 to Zacara.  The final chukka saw goals from Jack Hyde, Andrade and Lea for Zacara before Edouard Carmignac scooped up the ball and made a long run down the pitch for Talandracas’s final goal of the match.  It was left to Hyde, following a neat pass from his patron, to achieve the final goal for Zacara whose winning result was a mighty 21-11.

The Midhurst Town Cup and prizes were presented by Mrs Mariya Burton from Aspinal of London, producers of luxury leather goods.

Spectators enjoyed a pacey match between Thai Polo and Dubai.  Although Nic Roldan for Thai Polo opened the scoring and played superbly, Dubai’s Adolfo Cambiaso at Back gave team members Martin Valent and Diego Cavanagh plenty of scope to shine and Dubai were ahead for the entire match and fnished victorious on 12-8.

Equine star of Royal Ballet on holiday

Star of the Royal Opera House stage, Peregrine the Shetland Pony, is staying at Capel Manor College’s farm at Crystal Palace Park for the summer. Four-legged ballet stars are few and far between, but Peregrine, who has featured in five runs of La Fille Mal Gardée with the Royal Ballet, is a veteran of the stage.

In a review of the production, The Guardian described his appearance as ‘characteristically professional’. Following his latest performance, which came to an end in May, Peregrine became something of a social media star despite being the consummate professional and decidedly well behaved.

The staff and students at Capel’s farm at Crystal Palace Park are delighted with their new resident, even though his stay is temporary as the stallion is on loan from Vauxhall City Farm.

 Peregrine the Shetland Pony at Capel’s farm at Crystal Palace Park

Peregrine the Shetland Pony at Capel’s farm at Crystal Palace Park

Peregrine is cared for by staff and students from the College’s School of Animal Management and Saddlery and the college is hoping that it’s two-legged community have the opportunity to care for Peregrine beyond the summer if an extension to his residency is agreed.

Capel offers a range of courses in animal management and care, including apprenticeships. Statistics made public last week showed the increasing opportunities for those starting out in animal care: “The number setting out in careers in agriculture, animal care and horticulture was up 22.4 per cent [from 2009-10] to 4,480 [four years later].”





Trevor Breen wins Hickstead Derby

Irish rider Trevor Breen secured a back-to-back win when taking Sunday’s Equestrian.com Derby at Hickstead. Buckinghamshire-based Trevor (36) was the only competitor to have not just one, but two, former winning horses on which to compete, making him firm favourite to retain the title he won for the first time a year ago.

Last year he won on board Adventure De Kannan, but this year it was on his  first ride, Loughnatousa WB, that he achieved the only clear round to take the title.

‘WB’, like Trevor, already has a Derby title to his name. He became the first horse to win the Derby under two different riders – the chestnut gelding having first won in 2012 under his previous rider, Paul Beecher.

Trevor Breen and Loughntatousa Photo:George Gunn Photography

Trevor Breen and Loughntatousa
Photo:George Gunn Photography

He  was number 33 to go with his second ride, Adventure De Kannan, but hopes of both his rides going clear were dashed when ‘Addy’ ended up on eight faults and only the 2013 winner Phillip Miller (Caritiar Z) and Harriet Nuttall (A Touch Imperious) could push it to a jump-off.

Eight faults for Phillip and four for Harriet meant the title was Trevor’s for the second year in a row.

He said:. “It’s extremely difficult to win, and you need a lot to go right – and luckily everything did. I felt WB I was running out of petrol a bit towards the end so I was pleased I didn’t have to jump-off.”

Trevor also gave credit to his fellow Irishman Paul Beecher, who rode Loughnatousa WB to victory in the 2012 Derby. “Paul produced him his whole life so he has to take a lot of the credit – I’ve only ridden him for a year. It’s great for WB’s owner Patricia Brown, who is a huge supporter, and for Bernice Cuthbert who looks after Patricia’s horses.”

Harriet Nuttall was unlucky to have the first part of the Devil’s Dyke down to finish equal second with the other four-faulters. She has finished in runner-up spot in four major classes this week, but remained upbeat despite not taking home the winner’s cheque. “I’ve had the best weekend of my life. A Touch Imperious is just unbelievable, he has made my career, and I’d have paid good money to be second here,” she says. “I still think he has it in him to win. We’ll be back.”

Melton Mowbray-based rider Liz Harris won the Tattersalls and Retraining of Racehorses Thoroughbred Show Horse Championship, with the seven-year-old chestnut gelding Wild West, owned by herself and her partner Tommy Morgan. Liz, who was a former jockey and is now a Point-to-Point trainer, hailed the horse’s versatility, calling him the ‘ultimate all-rounder’. “He’s amazing, he’s so well behaved and loved it in that big arena,” she said.

Hickstead’s next international fixture is the Longines Royal International Horse Show, which runs from July 28 J to August 2 2015.

Guy’s new Speed Derby record

In a repeat of the 2014 results, Guy Williams and Casper de Muze won the British Speed Derby yesterday at Hickstead, beating Harriet Nuttall and Silver Lift. Guy ended up beating the course record set by Irish rider Shane Breen in 2008 and also became the first rider to take the title for a fourth time.

A total of 30 horses came forward for to tackle the Speed Derby course, which includes a number of Hickstead’s permanent obstacles such as the road crossing, the Irish bank and the less steep side of the Derby bank. Riders have to race round the long and winding course at top speed, with any fences knocked down adding 4sec to their time.

Holly Gillott, who beat her fellow Team GB teammate Harriet Nuttall in the previous day’s Bunn Leisure Derby Trial, held the lead in the class for some time before Harriet, drawn 23rd, produced a superbly quick round on her 10-year-old gelding to take pole position. Even with a fence down adding 4sec to her tally, her total time of 92.38sec looked pretty impossible to beat.

Guy Williams wins the British Speed Derby  Photo: George Gunn Photography

Guy Williams wins the British Speed Derby Photo: George Gunn Photography

But that 4sec penalty proved costly when the penultimate rider Guy Williams rode into the ring on his 2014 victor Casper De Muze. He produced an effortlessly fast round to shave less than half a second of Harriet’s time to take the €8,085 first prize.

“Casper is unbelievably fast,” said Guy, who explained that the 1.45m class was well within the 13-year-old gelding’s capabilities. “He just doesn’t even have to try, and he deserves to win,” he added.

For Harriet Nuttall (25), it was a case of ‘always the bridesmaid’, having finished second in this class two years running as well as taking the runner-up spot in the Bunn Leisure Derby Trial as well as the Hickstead Master’s Challenge. “I knew it was going to be a challenge to beat Guy but I really thought I had him this year,” she said. “I thought – I’ve done it, I’m lightning fast.” But sadly for Harriet, it wasn’t quite enough. “I’ll be back every year until I’ve won it!” she added.

Harriet is one of the favourites for today’s €140,000 Equestrian.com Derby, having finished third with A Touch Imperious in 2014, while Guy – who won the class in 2010 – has two rides in the Derby. Irish rider Trevor Breen is also double-handed, with last year’s winner Adventure De Kannan as well as Loughnatousa WB, who won in 2012 with former rider Paul Beecher. Phillip Miller and Caritiar Z, winners in 2013 and runners-up last summer, are another pair to watch.

An estimated 15,000 showjumping fans are set to flock to West Sussex to watch the Equestrian.com Derby tomorrow afternoon, while the action will be televised live on Horse & Country TV (Sky 253 in the UK and Ireland) as well as being broadcast online to a worldwide audience at Hickstead.tv.

Alice Watson secured a career best win today when claiming the honours in the Tom Hudson Derby Trophy. Riding her own 10-year-old grey mare Billy Lemon, she produced a fast double clear to head off competition from Ireland’s Cian O’Connor.

“I know she’s quick, I’ve just got to try to put her in the right places and she’ll try for me,” said Alice. “She felt unreal, she loves that ring and is a bit of a show-off. People tell me she’s the most spoilt horse in the world and she probably is. But I don’t care if she performs like that!”

Alice had a non-equestrian upbringing, and started adding to her stable when she was 16 years old, buying a pony for just £150 that she sold for a small profit at a later stage. She did that a few times until she had enough put aside to buy a quality young horse who would go on to become her biggest star – Billy Lemon.

“That’s the great thing about this game – what other sport can you compete against the world’s top riders when you don’t even have a world ranking? And it’s all thanks to Billy Lemon. I just need more horses now to take the pressure off her a bit as wherever we go we have to win our entry back and bit more to pay for the next.”

The wins are coming in quick succession for Alice, after she also rode Cudandsa M to first place in the Hickstead 1.35m Open.

In the showing, Jordan Cook won the Alltech Supreme Hack Championship with his own 14-year-old Fleetwater Xecutive, while the Osborne Refrigerators Scurry Driving Championship went to Jemma Millman and her prolific pair Eeyore and Piglet.

Women dominate Bunn Leisure Derby Trial

A huge class of Derby hopefuls came forward to compete in yesterday’s Bunn Leisure Derby Trial at Hickstead, with the top placings going to two of British Showjumping’s most promising lady riders, Holly Gillott and Harriet Nuttall.

A total of 68 horses came forward for the €24,500 competition, from which the top 35 qualify for the Equestrian.com Derby, with seven combinations jumping clear to go through to the jump-off.

The first rider to come forward in round two was Robert Whitaker, who has been on a great run of form of late, but he picked up four faults on the stallion USA Today. Spencer Roe and Wonder Why, a combination who represented Great Britain at last year’s FEI World Equestrian Games, then netted a steady double clear in a time of 68.63sec to set the standard.

Nigel Coupe and Golvers Hill, who were seventh in last year’s Equestrian.com Derby, knocked more than 4sec off Spencer’s time. They didn’t hold pole position for long, however, as Harriet Nuttall – third in the 2014 Derby – duly shaved another two seconds off the target time to take the lead.

Peter Smyth and Douglas Duffin both picked up four faults apiece, leaving only Holly Gillott who could oust Harriet from the top spot. This she duly did, producing a fast clear on her Team GB horse Dougie Douglas to win in a time of 61.72sec.

Holly Gillot in top form Photo: George Gunn

Holly Gillot in top form
Photo: George Gunn

“I always come second here!” said runner-up Harriet. “He’s not the fastest horse so I knew Holly would beat me,” she added, referring to her 11-year-old gelding A Touch Imperious.

Both Harriet and Holly have been regulars on Britain’s teams this season – and indeed Holly has her sights set on the FEI Nations Cup series with her 10-year-old gelding Dougie Douglas. “I will not be jumping him in the Derby, but I’m hoping to be here for the Nations Cup next month,” said the 26-year-old from Leicestershire. “It’s the best ring in the world to ride in by a mile – my horse was loving it today.”

But one rider who will definitely be coming back for another crack at the Equestrian.com Derby is Harriet. A Touch Imperious has proved he’s more than capable of jumping round the famously fearsome course, but there’s one jump that is set to prove the biggest challenge. “Riding my horse down the bank has to be the most daunting thing, he’s 17.2hh so it looks even more huge from up there!” she said.

Harriet was also second in the British Speed Derby in 2014 with Silver Lift and she’ll be one of the favourites for tomorrow’s renewal. But while Holly isn’t going for the Derby, she will be having a crack at tomorrow’s Speed Derby and is one to watch.

“I’ve never ridden in the Speed Derby before – but I’ve got two horses in that class and I’m really looking forward to it,” said Holly.

Harriet was once again runner-up in the afternoon’s main class, the Bunn Leisure Hickstead Master’s Challenge, which was won by Guy Williams and Casper De Muze. Guy was victorious in Thursday’s Derby Tankard so he’s having a superb week – and he, like Harriet and Holly, will be one to watch in tomorrow’s Speed Derby.

In the showing classes, top producer Jayne Ross won the supreme cob championship with the prolific Cob In Hood; while the mountain and moorland supreme championship went to Alex Baxter and the fell pony Townend Candyman

Guy Williams in winning form at Hickstead

Guy Williams got his Derby campaign off to a flying start today when winning the Bunn Leisure Derby Tankard at Hickstead. He partnered the 12-year-old gelding Depardieu Van T Kiezelhof to head the €12,000 class, ahead of Hickstead-based Irishman Shane Breen and Farao Van T Vennehof.

Guy is the reigning winner of the British Speed Derby, and he hopes to repeat his win on Saturday with the talented Casper de Muze. “Winning that is my main target this week,” he explained.

Williams is also one of an elite band of riders to win Hickstead’s most famous class – the Hickstead Derby itself. He won in 2010 with Skip Two Ramiro, whom he hopes to ride in Sunday’s Equestrian.com Derby.

But first he must qualify in tomorrow’s Bunn Leisure Derby Trial, in which he has three horses entered. “I’ve got Skip Two Ramiro, though he’s quite old now, plus Depardieu Van T Kiezelhof and Basic. The latter will run in the Derby Trial but not the Derby itself, as it’s just to give him a look – I’m hoping to bring him back for the Longines King George V Gold Cup at Hickstead next month,” said Guy.

Guy Williams in winning form at Hickstead yesterday  Photo: George Gunn

Guy Williams in winning form at Hickstead yesterday Photo: George Gunn

The 44-year-old rider was based in Canterbury for many years but last year he made the decision to move to Normandy in France, having been unable to find a property in the UK that met his requirements. “I like to win at home,” said Guy. “Hickstead is my favourite show outdoors. I could have gone ten minutes down the road [in France] but I chose to come here instead.”

Earlier today, in the Stoner Jewellers Vase, it was 23-year-old Irish rider Richard Howley who headed the line-up, partnering new ride Verlindo. “Myself and my partner Morgan’s parents bought him for me six weeks ago so I had an older horse to compete in the big classes,” he said. “That’s the first class I’ve won in the International Arena. It’s amazing here, definitely one of the best arenas in the world. When you hear that bell go you definitely get the shivers.”

It had been a great day for Richard, who also came first and second in the Camardo Coffee Speed Derby qualifier, with Belinka VH Overlede Goed and Chinook. He hopes to give Guy Williams a good run for his money on Saturday. “I’ve got two very nice horses coming forward to the British Speed Derby now – it’s definitely one I want to win,” said Richard.

Today’s feature class is the Bunn Leisure Derby Trial. The action will be streamed live to a worldwide audience at Hickstead.tv.

Williams wins twice on Hickstead opening day

Andrew Williams winning on the opening day. Photo: Spidge Photography

Andrew Williams winning on the opening day.
Photo: Spidge Photography

The Equestrian.com Hickstead Derby Meeting got underway yesterday with a double of wins for Andrew Williams.Andrew made the 7hr long trip from Cornwall to West Sussex more than worthwhile when he landed both the Horse & Hound Senior Foxhunter first round with Nancy Phillips’ Bodieve Toyboy; then followed up with a second victory in the Spillers Grade C championship with Codar.

He also finished fourth in the Camardo Coffee 1.35m Open, which was won by Joss Williams and Culmore Prospect.

The Beethoven 7 & 8 Year Old first qualifier attracted a strong field of riders, but none could better than 23-year-old Norwegian Victoria Gulliksen, who is the daughter of international showjumper Geir. Today she piloted the locally-bred Billy Blue Bell to victory ahead of Sussex-based Nicole Pavitt, who took second and third spots.

Today sees the start of the international action, beginning with the Stoner Jewellers Vase – a €4,000 class that was won last year by Irish rider Michael Duffy.

The feature class is the Bunn Leisure Derby Tankard, which gives the first indication of rider form ahead of Sunday’s Derby. On Friday, horses and riders will contest the Bunn Leisure Derby Trial, in which they need to finish in the top 35 in order to qualify for the Equestrian.com Derby itself. Saturday’s feature class is the British Speed Derby, in which riders tackle some of Hickstead’s permanent fences at top speed.

But it all builds up to the finale, Sunday’s Equestrian.com Derby. A host of former winners will be aiming to get their name on the Boomerang Trophy once again, but they’ll face some stiff opposition from those yet to win Hickstead’s most iconic class.

As well as showjumping, there are lots of showing, scurry driving and carriage driving classes to enjoy, plus the vast Charles Owen Shopping Village, which boasts hundreds of tradestands catering for all tastes.
The Equestrian.com Hickstead Derby Meeting will be streamed live from Friday to Sunday at Hickstead.tv, while the Equestrian.com Derby will also be shown live on Horse & Country TV on Sunday 28 June from 1pm.

Tickets are available online at www.hickstead.co.uk and can be purchased at the gate

Costume side saddle event saved

Thanks to the dedication of two local side saddle enthusiasts, the Costume Concours d’Elegance Class at the South of England Show has been preserved for the future. Three years ago is future was uncertain because numbers were dropping in side saddle classes generally at the show- and only one person competed in the Costume class.

Determined to stop these classes being removed from the schedule, Angela Winter and Belinda Wilkins set out to ensure they were preserved for the future.They were helped by the SOE organisers who moved the classes to the Saturday enabling working riders to compete for the first time.

Show sponsors Belinda and Miles Wilkins with Concours D'Elegance winner  Rachael   receiving her trophy from the judge.

Show sponsors Belinda and Miles Wilkins with Concours D’Elegance winner Rachael receiving her trophy from the judge.

Belinda, who lives in Walberton, West Sussex, and is the fifth of six generations of side saddle riders, set up a Facebook page -Side Saddle Classes at The South of England Show- to promote the classes and to encourage riders to enter this prestigious show.

This was very successful keeping riders and enthusiasts in touch and also made riders aware of the very early closing date for entries. Angela, Chairman of Area 8 Side Saddle Association, which has members in West and East Sussex, Surrey and Kent, put on showing clinics in the area to ensure novice riders were confident enough to perform in the arenas.

For the second year running the classes were sponsored by Belinda and her husband, Miles Wilkins. They have supported side saddle since their daughter Caroline first started riding side saddle in 1997 and enjoy seeing the pleasure they give to the watching crowds, which are often seeing this traditional way of riding for the first time.

To everyone’s delight, a number of top riders in the country together with other local riders, filled the Saturday classes at this year’s South of England Show. Spectators saw classes of the highest standard and elegance. The judge, Mrs Ros Collins from Berkshire, had a very difficult task, but her experienced eye carefully sorted the placing after each rider had performed their individual show.

Winner of the Concours d’Elegance was West Sussex rider Esther Rostron with her 15 year old chestnut gelding Penstrumbly Our Abram. Esther and Denzil, as he is known, have won the Concours d’Elegance at the show for four years in a row.

Another local rider Rachael Morley with nine-year-old grey gelding Super Ted, belonging to Paul Maris Lyon, was in the ribbons in both side saddle classes. In the costume class she was wearing a stunning pale plum and dove grey costume trimmed with grey and black frogging.

Rachael Morley and Super Ted  Photo: Belinda Wilkins


Rachael had designed the costume herself together with habit and costume maker, Trish Daly. The sun came out just at the right time like a spotlight on the arena.

After the classes the show organisers contacted Belinda and Angela to them the classes would definitely be included in the show programme for 2016 following this year’s outstanding success.

Racecourse’s ‘Absolutely Fabulous’ night

Actress Joanna Lumley staged an ‘Absolutely Fabulous’ night at Lingfield Park when she persuaded generous racegoers to part with thousands of pounds to help young disabled adults. Seventeen years after opening The Orpheus Centre, the stage and screen star joined its founder Sir Richard Stilgoe and a host of fellow celebrities as they celebrated the work of the Godstone-based charity.

“I am thrilled to be back here with this fantastic charity,’ she said as she mingled with racegoers at the Surrey course.”Dicky (Richard Stilgoe) does an amazing job helping young disabled adults prepare for independent living through the performing arts and it is lovely to be part of this special event.”

Joanna Lumley presenting winners with their prize horse heads at Lingfield Park Racecourse

Joanna Lumley presenting winners with their prize horse heads at Lingfield Park Racecourse

The Midsummer party also saw Bond star and regular Lingfield visitor Dame Judi Dench, Who Wants to be a Millionaire presenter Chris Tarrant, former TV presenter Michael Aspel and author Felix Francis join other Orpheus supporters for the celebration. While students from The Orpheus Centre staged a heart-warming performance, volunteers for the charity carried out a bucket collection around the course and were supported by generous racegoers.

Helping to raise the profile of The Orpheus Centre, were Maddie and Sunshine, a pair of miniature Shetland ponies who are starting to visit the Godstone charity to work with its students in therapy sessions.

Tricia Kilby, who owns the ponies, said she was delighted to be helping, adding:”I rescued this mum and baby and they have come such a long way. I would love to be able to use them all the time for charity work and love the fact that The Orpheus Centre is keen for us to visit and carry out some therapy work with their students.”

Joanna Lumley with staff and students

Joanna Lumley with staff and students

The Orpheus Centre first visited Lingfield Park in 2013 and staged a successful fund-raising evening – again hosted by Joanna Lumley.This time, the date co-incided with the Hooves and Grooves series, which saw tribute act, Elton & The Rocket Band perform to a packed course after racing.

Andrew Perkins, Executive Director of Lingfield Park said he was delighted the neighbouring charity had chosen to once again hold its celebrations at the racecourse:

“We are thrilled whenever we can team up with our local charities to try and highlight the valuable work they carry out,” he explained. “Sir Richard, Joanna Lumley, Dame Judi and the rest of the guests were a delight to have with us.Our racegoers were over-the-moon to see such a prestigious line up of guests and Joanna couldn’t have been more generous with her time for all her fans who were with us on Saturday.”

To mark the occasion, and highlight the fabulous work carried out by The Orpheus Centre’s talented students, each winner in the seven-racecard fixture, was presented with a unique hand-made stain-glass horse head, crafted by the students.

Moorcroft’s events deserve support

A PAINTED horse will be part of the latest demonstration at Moorcroft Racehorse Welfare Centre in West Sussex on Saturday July 11 at 11am.  Former racehorses will also be long-reined and ridden at various stages of their expert retraining at this centre of excellence at Huntingrove Stud, Slinfold, near Horsham.

Bridgefield Physiotherapy will present a painted Moorcroft horse and discuss the muscle system in more detail, explaining why certain muscles become short and tight, along with the concept of stretching.

Demonstration with the painted horse. Photo: Mark Beaumont

Demonstration with the painted horse.
Photo: Mark Beaumont

The presentation will also cover how muscles respond to injury and pain and why a muscle should be stretched after injury. Ideas leading to the rehabilitation and strengthening of muscles will also be discussed.

This year Moorcroft has been busier than ever with many ex racehorses sent there by caring owners or trainers to be retrained expertly by highly qualified manager Mary Henley-Smith.  Just a few of the new arrivals  in 2015 include Tribulation, Gold Weight, Diamond Sweeper, American Bling and Robin Hoods Bay.

Robin Hoods Bay made a name for himself when winning the Group 3 Winter Derby at Lingfield Park trained by Ed Vaughan, for owner Alan Pickering, a Yorkshireman who has been blind since his mid-30’s. But Alan is able to remember the colourful spectacle of racing from before he lost his sight, when he used to go to York races in his native county .All his horses are named after Yorkshire landmarks- with his latest known as Primrose Valley, and he wants the to have a life outside racing when they retire.

Robin Hoods Bay when he arrived at Moorcroft

Robin Hoods Bay when he arrived at Moorcroft

Mary reports that seven-year-old Robin Hoods Bay is enjoying his retraining at Moorcroft and is progressing well, ensuring that he has a bright future to look forward to.

Robin Hoods Bay  in fine condition after several weeks of retraining Photo: Mark Beaumont

Robin Hoods Bay in fine condition after several weeks of retraining Photo: Mark Beaumont

Sadly, the charity Retraining of Racehorses is removing funding from the beginning of 2016 for horses sent by registered owners or trainers to its four centres in the country, including Moorcroft.

Instead RoR has chosen to invest money in more competition classes for ex-racehorses which have already been retrained, with a nationwide league system.  It is also promoting ‘one-stop’ sale of ex racehorses at horse auctions, subsidising entries to encourage owners to enter their horses.

It is even more essential that Moorcroft receives the support it deserves to enable it to continue with its good work. Another event there is a long-reining course to help general horse owners in two sessions, each two hours long, on Saturday July 18 and Saturday July 25, starting at 10.30am and finishing just before 1pm. Participants will get the chance to long-rein Moorcroft horses learning or improving skills at long-reining. The cost is £50 for the full course. To book contact Mary on 07929 666408 or  email: moorcroftracehorse@gmail.com

Moorcroft’s big fundraising event of the year – its Plumpton Raceday- takes place on Monday October 19 this year. Please support this great day at the races to help the this fine charity continue its excellent work Call 01273 890383 for more details.

CAPTION:  Robin Hoods Bay looking in outstanding condition thanks to his retraining programme at Moorcroft. Photo: Mark Beaumont