These shows include jumping, gymkhanas, as well as in hand and ridden showing, providing plenty of variety for the keen membership.
World Horse Welfare charity is offering a unique opportunity to bid for a signed copy of the late Sir Peter O’Sullevan’s book ‘Calling the Horses’ which is signed by Sir Peter himself plus the legendary JP McManus, the Head family and Sir Peter’s great friend, Joanna Lumley.
WHW is auctioning two signed copies of the book via an ebay auction to raise money for Compassion in World Farming and World Horse Welfare. You can find a link to the auction here: www.ebay.co.uk/itm/272057246106
For decades Sir Peter O’Sullevan was one of the iconic sports commentators, providing the soundtrack for half a century of horseracing as he called home such legends of the sport as Arkle, Nijinsky, Red Rum and Desert Orchid. His rapid-fire commentary seemed to echo the sound of horses’ hooves, and it was not long before he became known as ‘The Voice of Racing’.
But in addition to his legendary status as a TV personality, Sir Peter O’Sullevan was also a notable journalist and much-admired writer, and it is a measure of his standing both within and beyond the world of racing that his compulsively readable autobiography Calling the Horses, first published in 1989 and reprinted eight times, reached the top of The Sunday Times non-fiction bestseller list.
The most recent edition of Calling the Horses was published in 1994, and the twenty years since then have brought many fresh episodes in the ongoing Peter O’Sullevan story, including the last racing days of his great friend Lester Piggott in 1995, his commentary on the ‘Bomb Scare’ Grand National of 1997, and his retirement from the BBC.
He also describes how he inspired the establishment of World Horse Welfare’s international programmes to help working horses in the developing world, and setting up the Sir Peter O’Sullevan Charitable Trust, which has raised over £4.1 million for animal welfare charities.
Last but not least, he offers his appreciation of a new generation of racing heroes, including recently retired jockey AP McCoy, who dominated jump racing in a manner unparalleled in any sport, and the wonder-horse Frankel.
The heartening news for the legions of Sir Peter O’Sullevan fans is that his enthusiasm for racing remained undiminished, this is reflected in the elegance, fluency and wit which infused his writing style. This extensively updated edition of Calling the Horses is a very remarkable book by a very remarkable man.
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Leading South African jockey Bernard Fayd’Herbe had his first ride in Britain at Wolverhampton yesterday, November 27, when he partnered Cold As Ice trained by William Haggas in the £19,000 32Red Fillies Conditions Stakes (6.45pm).
The seven-furlong Tapeta contest was a Fast-Track Qualifier for the £150,000 32Red.com All-Weather Fillies’ & Mares’ Championships Conditions Stakes over the same distance on Polytrack at Lingfield Park on Good Friday, March 25.
The combination finished fourth on this first start in Britain unable to live with Lamar in the fillies’ conditions stakes. But it was a good effort with placings tight.
Fayd’Herbe had made a name for himelf after partnering some of South Africa’s best horses since he started riding in 1996, including three-time champion Pocket Power and J J The Jet Plane, with which he won the Al Quoz Sprint at Meydan, Dubai, in 2011.
He headed to Wolverhampton to ride South African import Cold As Ice, who was making her UK debut for Newmarket trainer William Haggas.
The four-year-old filly had won five of her seven starts, which had all been at Kenilworth, including a pair of impressive Grade Two victories. She was beaten a short-head on her latest appearance in the Grade One Majorca Stakes over a mile in January.
Haggas said: “Bernard has a contract with the owners (Kathy Finch and Bridget Kieswetter) in South Africa and they asked if he could come over. He had ridden Cold As Ice on Tuesday morning and seemed very happy with her.
“This was his first ride in the UK and it was an interesting experience for him. He has ridden all over the world and is a top-class jockey.
“Cold As Ice came to us in July and I didn’t want to spend the winter doing nothing with her, so the owners and I decided to give her a go on the All-Weather and this seemed the obvious route to go.”
Gentle giant rescue horse, Digger is standing tall as the lead role in World Horse Welfare’s new TV and online advertising campaign which promotes the charity’s rejuvenated Adopt-a-Horse scheme.
Voiced by actor, Alex Norton, Digger tells the stories of his stablemates rescued by World Horse Welfare and explains the benefits of adopting a horse from the charity.
Adopting one of four World Horse Welfare horses on the scheme provides supporters with the opportunity to follow the progress of their adopted horse as they undergo rehabilitation as well as visiting them in person at one of the charity’s four Rescue and Rehoming Centres across the UK.
World Horse Welfare Director of Fundraising, Emma Williams said: “By adopting Digger, May, India or Magpie you can feel closely involved with a horse, visit them regularly and at the same time have the satisfaction of knowing you are helping many more horses in need.
“When we were thinking about the perfect horse to front our new TV advert we knew that Digger had to be the first choice. He’s already developed a somewhat celebrity status through his incredible size and wonderful nature so turning his (massive) hooves to television advertising seemed like the next natural step in his career!
“At World Horse Welfare we greatly value our supporters and love to hear their feedback. We have been seeing increased demand for our Adopt-a-Horse scheme, with many people saying how much they love to follow their adopted horse or pony’s progress and take any opportunity to go and meet them face to face.
“Over the next few months we will be further enhancing our Adopt-a-Horse scheme in response to this feedback with a new microsite offering enhanced content and updates exclusively for our adopters so watch this space!”
World Horse Welfare’s new TV advert featuring Digger was launched on this month and will be aired across a range of national and regional channels over the coming weeks. You can view the video via World Horse Welfare’s YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/horsecharity
Digger’s Story: Famed for his 19 hands plus height, close to 6ft 6” to the top of his shoulders, which puts him less than 4 inches below Europe’s largest living horse, Digger lives at World Horse Welfare’s Belwade Farm Rescue and Rehoming Centre in Aberdeenshire where he is a huge hit with visitors and staff alike.
Digger arrived at Belwade Farm as a four-year-old in 2007 after his owner contacted World Horse Welfare to ask for help as they were struggling to cope with him due to their own poor health and his rapidly increasing size. He was growing fast and at such a young age problems had started to occur with the joints in his hind legs. After extensive rehabilitation from World Horse Welfare and gentle veterinary care, Digger regained confidence and continued growing – earning his title as the biggest horse the charity has ever cared for.
Standing at an enormous 9 foot from the ground to the tips of his ears (that’s taller than the current World’s Tallest Man!) and weighing almost a tonne, Digger caught the attention of The Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment and was accepted on a two-year training programme to become a drum horse, taking part in preparations for the Royal Wedding and Major General Parades.
Unfortunately, it became apparent that Digger was much better suited to life in the slow lane away from busy London, so he returned to Belwade Farm in 2012 and now couldn’t be happier residing in the rugged Scottish hills.
For more information on World Horse Welfare’s Adopt a Horse scheme visit: http://www.worldhorsewelfare.org/Adopt
LEWES trainer Suzy Smith sent out an impressive winner to take the opening Novices’ Hurdle over two miles three furlong at Fontwell Park’s meeting yesterday. Of the nine runners, Clonday Cian, ridden by Tom O’ Brien, came home nine lengths clear of evens favourite Bigmartre and was never going to beaten in this race.
Dorset trainer Helen Nelmes, who can never be ignored with runners at Fontwell Park, enjoyed an 80-1 third place with Itsaboutime ridden by 5lb claimer Conor Ring. He has partnered the grey gelding in all three of his outings so far.
The combination of Warren Greatrex and Gavin Sheehan produced another good victory when Bells’N’Banjos won the two mile and five furlong hurdle race by a formidable 14 lengths. Favourite Degooch, trained by Johnny Farrelly had to settle for third place behind Decimus, a 7-1 shot sent out by Jeremy Scott.
Gloucestershire trainer Ben Pauling continued his fine form for November, scoring his fifth winner in two weeks when 11-8 jt favourite Showboater won the Brooks Macdonald Novices’ Handicap Chase under Nico de Boinville.
The six-year-old Milan gelding clearly enjoyed softer underfoot conditions when scoring a 13 length victory, unlike the other joint favourite Brave Deed, who was one of three in the race to be pulled up.
The George Rogers Memorial Handicap Hurdle went to 7-1 shot Arquebusier, giving trainer Emma Baker an impressive winner ridden by James Banks. The young rider was unaware of the extent he was in front- he won by 31 lengths, and kept riding to the line. He said afterwards that he ought to have looked round before giving the horse a reminder in the final stages. He was followed home by Double Dan, trained by Alexandra Dunn and ridden by Mikey Hamill.
The last two races went to favourites, with conditional jockey Martin McIntyre securing a good victory for trainer Neil Mulholland to win by nine lengths in the four-runner field. The final National Hunt Flat Race gave Mulholland a double when he sent out 8-11 favourite Champagne George to win by a length under a well-judged ride by Noel Fehily.
Fontwell Park’s next meeting in the run-up to Christmas is a Festive Jumpers Raceday on Tuesday next week, with the first race of seven races is at 12.40pm when there is a £500 prize for the best Christmas jumper worn on the day.
Then Fontwell’s biggest meeting of the year is on Boxing Day, December 26 when there will be an afternoon of competitive jump racing with an ice rink, reindeer and sleigh and drink marquee.
There will be seven races on the card and also the King George VI at Kempton Park will be shown on the big screen.
SUSSEX-based showjumper Greg Le Gear is currently enjoying his best competition year. He is one of only eight riders from across Britain to have been selected for the prestigious Step Up To Gold programme run by British Showjumping Association.
The scheme aim is to encourage and enable top calibre riders to reach Grand Prix level in show jumping.
Greg (30) rides an impressive stallion, El Thuder, owned by Melissa Wood and standing at Bellegrace Equine in Surrey. He combines competitions with his role as yard manager for international showjumper Shane Breen, based with Breen Equestrian Ltd at Hickstead showground.
There, Greg oversees the 42-strong team of horses, helps to produce youngsters, is a show rider and makes sure everything runs smoothly in the prestigious yard and at events.
Working with Breen Equestrian Ltd has provided him with invaluable opportunities to expand his experience. As well as being yard manager, he has been given the opportunity to compete internationally in age classes with young horses. He attributes his increasing successes to the opportunities he has been given by Shane and Chloe Breen at their top class yard at Hickstead.
He said: ” I really appreciate the opportunities I have been given here, which have led to me winning many classes from British Novice through to 1.30m Opens.” He also competed at Lummen International Horse Show this year.
Born near Limerick in Ireland, he started riding at a young age and was based with top showjumper Dennis Lynch in Germany for four years, travelling all over the world on the Global Champions tour.
There he had the opportunity to compete internationally in age classes with young horses, and also competed on one which had previously starred in the European Championships in Aachen. His earlier experience also included working at the famous Old Lodge Stud for Saudi Arabia’s Adnan Al-Baitony, looking after his horses and competing with his young horses too.
The Step up to Gold programme, for which he has been selected, is for established riders aged 20-35 years looking to make the move to 1.40m level plus in the Gold league.
With national and regional training days, one to one coaching and support, individual training programmes and a range of sport science workshops, there is a lot on offer for riders like Greg who are determined to go the extra mile.
Hundreds of eligible riders applied for the scheme, but only a few dozen made it through to the regional trial days, where Greg’s talents were recognised and he was one of the few selected- a distinctive achievement.
Lead coach Matt Lanni said: “It is aimed at riders wanting to become competitive at 1.40m level classes. We select just eight riders from across the country that we feel have the ability and commitment to make this step”.
Greg has established an impressive winning partnership with one of his key rides- El Thuder.with this striking 11-year-old stallion, originally produced by Brendon Stud.
After taking over the ride in May this year, the duo have won many classes together and Greg is hoping to move up to the next level with the help of the Step Up To Gold programme, having impressed selectors at the trials in October.
Meanwhile he is looking for a second horse to run alongside El Thuder, which would offer an owner the opportunity to promote a horse through the programme. Anyone interested should contact Greg at email@example.com
He has high praise for El Thuder, who combines top class competition with stallion work through artificial insemination, saying: “He is a top class competition horse with an excellent temperament, capable of producing outstanding progeny.”
El-Thuder’s stable name is Amarillo and Greg took over the ride back in May this year and the duo clicked from the outset. Amarillo is a Grade A silver disc stallion and has many successful progeny competing all over the country. Some of his babies are competing at 1.30 level and he has two approved stallion sons.
Amarillo is by By Thunder van de Zuuthoeve, in turn by the legendary sire Argentinus, ex a Larome/ Landgraaf mare. The fantastic modern pedigree is further endorsed with bloodlines including Nimmerdor and Gotthard.
Amarillo stamps all his offspring well and passes on his lovely, kind temperament. He had a busy covering season this year and will be standing at stud again in 2016 and will also be offering frozen semen too.
He represented Great Britain at the World Championships for Young Horses in Belgium in 2010 and was third in the Hickstead Speed Derby when he was only seven, and already has a graded son Lord Thuder competing in age classes internationally.
For more details about him contact Melissa Wood on 07515481431.
Meanwhile Greg is looking forward to more prestigious successes with him next season and continuing to make the most of the invaluable opportunities offered to him by Breen Equestrian.
Aspect Polo, formed three years ago by Sarah Wiseman, has taken over the management of The All England Polo Club at Hickstead for the 2015/16 winter polo season.
She explained:“We wanted to help people get into polo as easily as possible and the aim was to deliver a quality service without costing the customer a fortune.”
The company developed quickly and soon took over the running of the former polo club at Knepp Castle. Now having just completed its third season, the club offers some of the best facilities in the country, with one of the best and most picturesque polo fields available for low- and medium-goal polo in the country.
It made sense for Aspect to look at expanding further into the winter months. Sarah has always had a close relationship with The All England Polo Club, Hickstead, having been Polo Manager there for seven years.
“It is with great pleasure that Aspect Polo has teamed up with Hickstead to bring clients to one of the best arena facilities in the world, with the same ethos of fun, high quality yet cost-effective polo in a truly spectacular setting,” Sarah added.
For those of you who are not already familiar with the facilities at Hickstead, the All England Polo Club offers a superb full-sized 100m x 50m arena, plus a clubhouse and on-site stabling for 80+ horses. Full and DIY livery is available as well as rental horses and lessons.
As the doors open for a new season, anyone interested is invited to join the All England Polo Club and experience the joys of arena polo for themselves.
Unlike traditional polo, arena polo is played with three team members, using a larger and softer ball. Shots and angles can be played off the boarded sides of the arena, which is much smaller than a grass pitch – making the action really exciting and simple to follow.
Following recent club chukkas there is now a host of tournaments throughout the winter, which started last weekend and will culminate in the popular Arena Polo International Test Match in March. There is a small admission fee for this day, but every other weekend offers free admission to spectators, including free parking.
The polo clubhouse overlooks the arena and is the perfect place to settle in to enjoy watching the action on the pitch. Food will be served all day on Saturdays and Sundays throughout the season, so everyone is welcome to enjoy a superb Sunday Roast or a lighter meal and the polo.
If you’d like to give arena polo a try, lesson prices are very good value. With group sessions available it offers the chance to spend an afternoon with friends, trying something new.
The Polo School at the All England Polo Club will be run by El Casal this year. Memo Rachia Grau is a two-goal player from Argentina, and he has spent many years building a string of high-quality rental ponies here in the UK. He is also an excellent instructor and will be offering lessons to everyone over the winter, from those who haven’t tried polo before or have never ridden a horse, to seasoned players in need of some extra guidance.
For more information about the All England Polo Club visit www.hickstead.co.uk/polo
In order to highlight working donkey and mule welfare issues in the Middle East and the impact of conflict on human-animal relationships, The Donkey Sanctuary has launched a report titled ‘Caught in the Middle’ which was released on the opening night of the Mdina Cathedral Contemporary Art Biennale in Malta .
The report documents the situation of donkeys in 15 countries of the region, specifically zones of human conflict but also other areas, by gathering multimedia evidence and insights from people spearheading local animal welfare charities.
The launch was part of a major public art project at the Mdina Biennale that The Donkey Sanctuary is supporting, called ‘The Mediterranean Peace Donkey’, which is taking place in Mdina from November 2015 to 7 January 2016. The project is curated by CARAVAN, an East-West peace-building arts NGO, and features 21 life-size fibreglass donkeys painted by leading Mediterranean and Maltese artists.
It aims to draw attention to the need for religious harmony, East-West relations, donkey welfare in zones of conflict, and humanitarian assistance for migrants/refugees. Egyptian artist Miriam Hathout, whose painting graces the cover of Caught in the Middle, has also been invited to paint one of the fibreglass donkeys for this project.
Stephen Blakeway, Director of International Operations at The Donkey Sanctuary, who will be present at the launch of the report in Malta, said: “The Donkey Sanctuary commissioned this report to raise awareness of donkeys’ continuing importance to people often living in difficult circumstances, and also to highlight the terrible treatment they can receive when caught up in human conflict. As ever throughout history, donkeys find themselves carrying a message not only about their own situation but about the situation of other animals and of many children and adults similarly affected.”
he Donkey Sanctuary is following up this report with a networking meeting to be held in the region attended by those already involved in donkey welfare work and others who would like to help make a difference. The aim of the meeting will be to help develop small projects across the region, wherever possible, that help donkeys and people’
Domesticated donkeys have been used in the Middle East for around 7,000 years and continue to play a critical role today in sustaining livelihoods and local economies, through their use in farming and transportation of people and goods such as fuel, food, water, agricultural produce and construction materials. It is estimated that there are roughly 6.3 million working donkeys and 200,000 mules in the region at present.
To support the worldwide work of The Donkey Sanctuary, please visit www.thedonkeysanctuary.org.uk
Following on from the outstanding success of Plumpton Racecourse’s recent Pompadour Raceday, which had a full French flavour, the track is hosting another action-packed fixture on Monday November 30.
This November raceday includes a competitive programme of six races throughout the day with gates opening at 11:30am and the first race kicking off at 1.10pm.
The feature race of the day is the SIS Cheltenham Bonus Race. This is the 188BET Novices Handicap Steeplechase – the second of the qualifying races for Plumpton’s Cheltenham Bonus series.
This exciting bonus initiative offers the people connected to a horse the opportunity to win a staggering £60,000 if they then go on to win a steeplechase at the Cheltenham Festival next March. In the past it has attracted high calibre entries from top trainers as well as strong local contenders.
The raceday also holds a festive theme, with Christmas decorations as well as a themed menu available at the Paddock Restaurant where tables and hospitality boxes are available for bookings.
Kate Hills, Plumpton Racecourse Chief Executive, commented: “The Christmas celebrations are starting early this year with our festive themed November Raceday being a highly anticipated event for racegoers. It promises to be an exciting event to kick the season off in style.”
For further information and tickets please visit www.plumptonracecourse.co.uk or contact the team on 01273 890383.
Fruity O’ Rooney and Jamie Moore provided a Heart of the South Racing partnership group with a fairytale ending to his racing career at Ascot yesterday. This remarkable 12-year old Kahyasi gelding, trained by Gary Moore made sure his 51st and last race over jumps was a winning one.
He had said farewell to crowds at Fontwell Park last Sunday and this dream finale came in the hotly contested Spey From Speyside Distillery Whisky Handicap Chase over two miles seven furlongs at Ascot.
The highly competitive event had seven runners and Jamie made sure his willing partner got up to win by a nose from 5-1 joint favourite Loose Chips, trained by Charlie Longsdon and ridden by Noel Fehily.
This really was the stuff dreams are made of. Fruity O’ Rooney has had nine good wins and many places for his racing group, and won an outstanding amount of prize money for his racing group.
He has had an illustrated book about him written and published by group member Ann Tyrrel, who is one of many supportive and adoring owners. He gave them the perfect ending and now goes into retirement where he will still lead a happy and active life outside racing.
The victory marked trainer Gary Moore’s first visit to the racecourse since a horse kicked him recently putting him in hospital with broken ribs and a bruised spleen. It was the perfect day for his return, with son Jamie riding Krugermac to victory in the opening race and Fruity O’Rooney stealing the show later.
Owners celebrated after the victory, delighted that this much-loved horse was going out on a winning note. They will keep in touch with him in his retirement and hope to have another successful group horse with Heart of the South Racing.
For more details of Heart of the South Racing contact Eloise Adamski on 0780 9087136.