Youngsters’ Badminton designs

Designs of two talented youngsters are to be showcased at the 2016 Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials. Eight year-old Lyla Mainwaring and fifteen year-old Chloe Spence-Gray, have been chosen as the winners in a competition to design charity World Horse Welfare’s cross country fence at the 2016 Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials.

Both Chloe’s inspiring design of a horse’s head seen in a close up of a human eye and Lyla’s creation of a horse made from horseshoes and planting, will now be brought to life at the prestigious Gloucestershire event in May which draws in crowds of up to 150,000 people every year. Both girls entered the competition to design an element of World Horse Welfare’s Garden Gate fence as part of its Charity of the Year status at the iconic event.

WHW winning Badminton designs

WHW winning Badminton designs

Chloe, a student at East Leake Academy in Loughborough, was inspired to enter the competition to help raise the plight of horses in need and make a difference to their lives across the world. She explains the inspiration behind her idea:

“The invisible horse theme inspired me as something like this brings communities together, and gives people a realisation of the sad realities that are never fully brought to life. I really want to be part of a group of people who will spread the word and make a difference to all the horses that are often invisible to the naked eye as is shown in my design.”

Lyla, a student at Amesbury School in Hindhead, based the design on her own pony, Ronnie, after finding out about the competition from Pony Magazine. She explained the inspiration behind her idea: “My design is a lying down topiary pony made from old rusty horseshoes. The front of the pony is looked after and cared for, planted with lovely flowers and lush grass and moss so he is all bushy and green. The back section is not being looked after and is just rusty old horseshoes so the pony is becoming invisible.”

Chloe and Lyla have now won the chance to attend Badminton Horse Trials in May and see their designs brought to life on the iconic cross country course which will be jumped by some of the world’s top eventers.

World Horse Welfare Chief Executive Roly Owers said: “We were so impressed with all of the amazing entries we received to the fence design competition, but both Chloe’s and Lyla’s really stood out from the crowd as beautiful ways to visualise our invisible horse theme.

“We can’t wait to see the designs in pride of place at Badminton in May and hope Chloe and Lyla have wonderful days out to see their work in action!”

World Horse Welfare has named 2016 the year to highlight the world’s invisible horses who often suffer in silence as people either cannot or choose not to see them. From the horses left in barns and stables for weeks on end, to those working many hours every day on the streets of Choluteca in Honduras or Cape Town in South Africa who go unnoticed by governments and policymakers, to the horses transported long distances across borders to uncertain futures and those who sadly are sometimes found too late.

World Horse Welfare will be focussing on a number of key themes as the year progresses including; foals, rescue and rehoming, working horses around the world and campaigning to improve laws to protect horses.

Fontwell Park’s competitive raceday

FONTWELL Park’s St Patrick’s Raceday yesterday attracted a decent crowd, which enjoyed both competitive racing and plenty of Irish atmosphere a the popular Sussex track.

The seven-race card had the advantage of mainly good ground for the fixture as well as decent weather.  Trainer Ben Pauling made the trip from Gloucestershire pay off when taking the opening novices’ hurdle race with Treaty Girl, a five-year-old mare scoring her third victory of the season for the in-form handler.

Treaty Girl trained by Ben Pauling and ridden by Maurice Lineham

Treaty Girl trained by Ben Pauling and ridden by Maurice Lineham

Claimer Maurice Lineham rode this horse well, coming home clear of Lucy Wadham’s Mystic Sky to win by an easy seven lengths. The mare had previous experience winning in point-to-points and had got off the mark at Huntingdon last month. She will now have one more run this season before having a break.

Bertenbar, a 12-year-old gelding which won the following handicap steeplechase, has clearly been rejuvenated by a change of scene and is enjoying life with Oxfordshire trainer Lawney Hill. Partnered by Aidan Coleman, the 15-2 shot won the handicap steeplechase comfortably, appreciating the better ground.

Bertenbar trained by Lawney Hill, with jockey Aidan Coleman Photo: Jeannie Knight

Bertenbar trained by Lawney Hill, with jockey Aidan Coleman  Photo: Jeannie Knight

Newmarket trainer Lucy Wadham, whose horse Mystic Sky finished second in the opening race, had quick compensation in the third race, a Mares’ Handicap Hurdle Race. She sent out five-year-old mare, Sunshine Corner, with Leighton Aspell up, to win at 4-1 from Harry Fry’s  fancied Lady Of Lamanver by a short head.

Lucy said: ” This is her third win for me after winning two of her first three starts- the latest at Plumpton in January. She will be going chasing next year and is a nice prospect.”

Sunshine Corner with winning jockey Leighton Aspell Photo: Jeannie Knight

Sunshine Corner with winning jockey Leighton Aspell Photo: Jeannie Knight

Trainer Anthony Honeyball sent out Solstice Son to win the Peter and Beryl Scott Memorial Handicap Steeplechase over three miles one furlong, with a fine display of jumping, ridden by 5lb claimer Harry Cobden.

” He had 18 months off before returning at Doncaster last month. He won well today and hopefully will continue to progress,” said his trainer.

Solstice Son with trainer Anthony Honeyball, jockey Harry Cobden and members of the owners' group Photo: Jeannie Knight

Solstice Son with trainer Anthony Honeyball, jockey Harry Cobden and members of the owners’ group
Photo: Jeannie Knight

Dorset trainer Harry Fry continued his run of successes when Karinga Dancer won the handicap hurdle partnered by amateur rider Michael Legg by an easy six lengths.

Karinga Dancer, with Mike Legg riding Photo: Jeannie Knight

Karinga Dancer, with Michael Legg riding Photo: Jeannie Knight

Paris Snow, at 3-1, took the handicap hurdle ridden by Jake Hodson for trainer Ian Williams, while the final race of the day, a conditional jockey handicap hurdle, saw another victory for in-form Hampshire trainer Chris Gordon when David Noonan won  by 12 lengths on board 4-1 shot Cool King.

The next meeting at Fontwell Park is on Friday April 1 with the first race at 1.40pm.





Ladydown Amadeus to star in Royal production

IN his twenty years, Ladydown Amadeus, based with the Wilkins Family at Westergate, West Sussex, has attracted many a spectators’ eye with his presence not only when ridden but also when he shows off his repertoire of tricks in the stable including nodding, winking, yawning and bowing not to mention dancing and opening his mouth all on command.

Over the years he has made quite a name for himself with his poses in front of the camera, mainly side saddle with Caroline Wilkins, Belinda’s daughter.

Colin Barker produced an majestic picture in front of the HiorneTower in Arundel Park for his collection ‘Part of the Pack’ exhibited at Petworth House. Local photographer Louise Harber has taken some very artistic photos on Climping beach, one of which was used for the Chiddingfold, Leconfield and Cowdray Hunt calendar.

Last year they modelled for Benedict Luxmoore for a book he is working on entitled ‘Equestrian Attire’ . For this shoot Ladydown Amadeus  showed off his tricks which Benedict captured. Belinda hacks him all over the South Downs and there is nothing he likes more than standing to be admired by walkers and many ask to take photos.

His next date is with local artist equine artist Trisha whose eye he caught on a recent hack with Belinda on Little Down near Slindon. 

So when asked if he could perform loose in front of a film camera for an ITV film production for the Queens 90th Birthday at Windsor it was not a problem.

Ladydown Amadeus with Belinda Wilkins in the filming spotlight

Ladydown Amadeus with Belinda Wilkins in the filming spotlight

Lydia Cunningham, Production Director at Screen Light Design also wanted a rear; but for obvious reasons it was not in not in his repertoire. For such a special occasion Belinda Wilkins, who has trained Amadeus over the last ten years, felt it was worth attempting.

She had only a week to get this highly intelligent Trakehner, son of Lloyds Black Horse Beatos, to be able to rear on command. Looking at YouTube she tried various recommended methods and met a complete blank.

Amadeus had no idea what he was meant to do and stood puzzled at the various hand movements wondering if he should bow, yawn or open his mouth…

Amadeus pefecting rearing in a field

Amadeus pefecting rearing in a field

Three days had passed and she decided on a more risky idea. On a wild afternoon she put on her safety helmet and led him into the field and made use of his natural behaviour and praised his ‘wild excited horse rear ’ much to his surprise, he was more used to a strong reprimand…

Then encouraged to do it again, he immediately understood as to what was required. On day five he had perfected it in the field and then in the evening he performed in the arena.

All was going to plan until final practice on day six. The day was so wild with winds he became uncontrollable and was not able to perform the simplest of commands. A total disaster.

Luckily the evening of the filming was calm cold and crispy.  With his winter coat gleaming, and Amadeus very bright eyed was at least in a suitable mood to perform. The two spotlights were set up and after a few takes of him trotting and bowing the moment came for the rear. Amadeus performed to perfection and the footage was captured, further enhancing his already fine reputation.

Also filmed at Boxgrove were Smart Rebel Girl, a talented palomino mare with her rider Phil Armitage, performing western movements and Soul Sister, an elegant Westfalian mare ridden by Louis Brown, performing dressage movements. Like Ladydown Amadeus they looked stunning in the spotlights and all will be seen later this year in a special ITV Film.

Don’t miss Plumpton’s Easter weekend



Get close to the racing action at Plumpton Photo: Jeannie Knight

Plumpton’s Easter Festival with plenty of racing action and Easter entertainment starts tomorrow, April 1 with the second day on April 2 .

A variety of tickets available from fine dining in one of  hospitality areas offering Grandstand and Paddock tickets -or stay in the centre course with a Picnic Enclosure ticket.

Top quality jump racing can be expected at this popular course when the feature race

Activities include: Easter Egg Giveaway, Fun Fair, Food and Drink Concessions, Picnic Area, Hospitality, Marquee Restaurant, Betting. Free entertainment includes Face Painting, Climbing Wall, Derby Horse Hoppers, Live Music, Strolling Magician, donkey rides and much more.


Lydia in GB tentpegging team

WEST Sussex student Lydia Burdis (18) has been selected to ride for Great Britain in the South Africa International Tentpegging Junior Championships.

Lydia is the only member from Sussex to be selected and will join four other team members from around the country.
She attended Oathall Community College and is now at Plumpton College full time, as a second year student, on the Level 3 Equine Management Diploma.
Lydia competed in Holland, last September when the GB team gained a Bronze medal and they are hoping for success again this time in South Africa.

Lydia competing in Holland last year

Lydia competing in Holland last year

She will be travelling out to South Africa on March 27, where she will spend 17 days training and competing with four other team members, and take part in three different competitions while she is over there. The team will compete against the host nation’s junior teams as well as having further training from the best coaches in the world.The South African senior team are the reining ITPF World Cup Team Champions.

Tentpegging is the collective name for mounted Skill at arms, based on the cavalry sport of removing ‘tent pegs’ from the ground on horseback, using a sword or lance at the gallop. The sport is around 2,500 years old, developed by Asian armies who relied on their skill with the lance to defeat their enemies.

Tentpegging is the only equestrian sport in the UK to use lances, swords and fire guns from horseback. Disciplines are performed at the gallop as individuals, half section pairs and team sections of three or four. Tentpegging is the ultimate test of horsemanship, requiring determination, hand-eye coordination, discipline and a fearless love of speed. Pegs range from three to one inch in diameter.

hey slice lemons in half and hook 2 inch rings from overhanging gallows. There is also Sword, Lance and Revolver (SLR) discipline where the rider must jump hurdles while piercing or shooting balloons and discarding their sword into a Dummy. It is all done at timed speed.

Speed is vital in competition as riders are timed on the pegging run and must meet the optimum time in order to avoid scoring penalties. The British team is currently unfunded and a ‘Go Fund Me’ account that has been set up for Lydia:

Any contributions would be very gratefully received and will be sent a personal letter of thanks along with photos, and team updates.

Biggest indoor carriage fair is a must

Exiting action promised at the Carriage Driving Fair

Exciting action promised at the Carriage Driving Fair

BRITAIN’S biggest indoor carriage driving fair, organised by Brockham Harness Club, returns to its new home, The Merrist Wood Arena, at Guildford, Surrey this Sunday (March 20) and celebrates its 19th year.

Everyone is invited to experience carriage driving at a whole new level at this show, which is regarded as the start of the carriage driving season.

It brings together the excitement of a live sporting event with all the entertainment of top quality equine attractions under  one roof.

There will be a vast range of trade stands and demonstrations, including BC , BDS and local driving club stands, as well as exciting new displays and sheer enertainment from the country’s leading drivers and equestrian personalities including a Masterclass from World Champions Boyd Excell  and Anna Grayston.

Every visitor has the chance to try carriage driving free in the ‘suck it and see’ arena.

The show offers carriage driving enthusiasts and newcomers to the sport the chance to catch up with the latest ideas  and products.

It is the perfect family day out with fine catering facilities, free parking and free admission for under 18’s. There will be a grand draw to win a set of WebZ driving harness from Zuco. Don’t miss out. Be there for the best carriage driving show yet.

Tickets now on sale including balcony reserved seating. Fast track your order on  although tickets will also be available on the door.

Jockey Andrew Thornton’s 990th winner

Jockey Andrew Thornton 990th winner of his riding career came at Plumpton yesterday when partnering Sportsreport to a decisive victory in the two mile handicap chase. He has set himself the target of 1000 winners before contemplating retiring from the saddle.

The 44-year-old rider, born in Cleveland, north Yorkshire, had his attempt at the tally curtailed last year when he broke his arm. But he was in good form riding for one of his regular trainers, Wiltshire trainer Seamus Mullins, at Plumpton.

Under his guidance, the eight-year-old travelled strongly throughout the race, taking the lead two lout to win comfortably. Agincourt Reef, the 4-6 favourite, trained by Gary Moore and ridden by son made mistakes and was ridden from three out, making no impression on 11-2 shot Sportsreport.

Jockey Andrew Thornton Photo: Jeannie Knight

Odds-on favourite Agincourt Reef, trained by Gary Moore and ridden by son Joshua was no match for Sportreport and a mistake in the closing stages left the Horsham-trained horse out of contention, finishing five lengths behind in second place.

One trainer and jockey combination clearly back in top form is that of Hampshire trainer Chris Gordon and jockey Tom Cannon.  They took the Bernard O’ Brien Memorial Novices Handicap Chase with  25-1 shot Rocknrobin ,after getting the better of  Beaujolais Bob, trained in Somerset by Richard Hawker and ridden by Conor Shoemark.

Trainer Chris Gordon and jockey Tom Photo: Jeannie Knight

Trainer Chris Gordon and jockey Tom Photo: Jeannie Knight

It was the first leg of a double for Tom Cannon, who went on to win the final handicap chase of the day on board 3-1 shot Molly Oscar. a ten-year-old mare trained in Somerset by Johnny Farrelly.

The opening novice hurdle had seen a victory for trainer Bernard Llewellyn  when Never Equalled won at 11-4 beating odds-on favourite Clondaw Cian- trained at Lewes by Suzie Smith. Suzie had warned before the race that the ground might be too sticky for her promising six-year-old which had won well at Fontwell in November.

Clondaw Sian on his way to a victory at Fontwell Park, ridden by Tom

Clondaw Sian on his way to a victory at Fontwell Park, ridden by Tom O’ Brien.

She added that he had disliked heavy ground at Cheltenham last time out and she thought he might be hindered by the going at Plumpton- as was the case. He is a classy horse and should have plenty to offer when getting his ground.

Meanwhile Never Equalled, ridden by Robert Williams, made jumping mistakes but stayed on well at the end to take the race by just over a length.

Hampshire trainer Paul Henderson had a good win when Nick Scholfield partnered his horse, Talk of The South to a seven length victory in the three mile one furlong handicap hurdle of the day.This horse has progressed steadily with him and should have plenty more to offer.

Trainer Paul Henderson

Trainer Paul Henderson

Hope’s Wishes justified 11-4 favouritism when notching a 10 length win in the Mares’ Handicap Hurdle for Upper Lambourn trainer Barry Brennan under  a good ride from Harry Cobden.

The next meeting at Plumpton is on Easter Sunday March 27 when the first racce is at 2.15 pm. A family raceday follows on Easter Monday March 26 when racing starts at 2pm. Buy tickets on line from


WHW tackles irresponsible breeding

Irresponsible breeding is being tackled by WHW  ( charity World Horse Welfare), which says this has led to large numbers of horses being abandonded and left to fend for themselves, often with vulnerable mares with foals at foot.
Now, as part of its ‘invisible horse’ initiative, charity World Horse Welfare is highlighting the far-reaching implications of irresponsible breeding of the mares, foals and impact it has on the charity’s resources.
World Horse Welfare is tackling the problem countrywide, but  many of the 300-plus horses and ponies who come into World Horse Welfare’s care each year have a lengthy period of rehabilitation ahead of them before they are ready to be rehomed. And for the mares arriving in foal this time period is significantly extended.
Rehabilitation of an average horse arriving in a World Horse Welfare Rescue and Rehoming Centre costs around £5,000 but when that horse is either carrying a foal or has recently given birth to one this cost can be significantly higher.
Many of the mares which come into World Horse Welfare’s Rescue and Rehoming Centres are underweight and struggling to survive even without the huge burden of carrying or feeding a foal. Often the energy and nutrition they have put into caring for their foal leaves the mares with nothing for themselves and sadly in some of the worst cases the mare simply does not make it.
World Horse Welfare Buzz on arrival Photo World Horse Welfare

World Horse Welfare Buzz on arrival
Photo World Horse Welfare

Buzz and Bee came into World Horse Welfare’s Glenda Spooner Farm in early June 2015 after Field Officer, Phil Jones was alerted to a mare and foal on a common in South Wales who were reportedly in a very poor state. Phil visited the same day as a matter of urgency and found Buzz very underweight and struggling to feed her foal Bee, who was less than two months old. The attending vet stated that neither pony could be left on the common and they were taken straight to the veterinary clinic for emergency treatment before moving to Glenda Spooner Farm when they were strong enough.
Despite WHW investigations and a call for Buzz and Bee’s owner to come forward, typically no one was found. Thankfully, Buzz and Bee were found in the nick of time and as a result of the dedicated care they received from the WHW team they both made a full recovery.
WHW's Buzz and Bee with groom Steph Smith , recovered after extensive dedicated care Photo: WHW

WHW’s Buzz and Bee with groom Steph Smith , recovered after extensive dedicated care
Photo: WHW

Claire Phillips is Centre Manager at World Horse Welfare’s Glenda Spooner Farm Rescue and Rehoming Centre. She said: “Whilst both Buzz and Bee are now healthy and have put on weight, the journey to rehabilitate Buzz ready for rehoming is a much longer one than a lot of the horses and ponies World Horse Welfare takes into our centres.
“Buzz is only four years old herself and has already had a huge strain on her body through being in foal and giving birth to a healthy foal despite her own terrible condition. A lack of adequate nutrition during her pregnancy and early stages of motherhood further added to this strain. The knock-on effect means she will spend a lot more time with us here at World Horse Welfare so she can be fully rehabilitated before beginning ridden or driven work with a view to rehoming in the future.”
Bee is just one of the youngsters featured in World Horse Welfare’s latest fundraising appeal which also includes Huckleberry – the star of a recent BBC Countryfile programme – and Dash, the lovable young foal found abandoned and emaciated towards the end of summer 2015.
 World Horse Welfare has named 2016 the year to highlight the world’s invisible horses which often suffer in silence as people either cannot or choose not to see them. The year-long campaign will highlight the plight of these horses, making them ‘visible’ so they can receive the care and protection they so desperately need with the first quarter of the year aimed at highlighting the number of foals born into uncertain futures and the wide-reaching impact this has on horse welfare.
You can help by reporting any sighting of abandoned horses, especially mares with vulnerable you foals, to
The charity will be focussing on a number of key themes as the year progresses including; foals and youngsters, rescue and rehoming, working horses around the world and campaigning to improve laws to protect horses.

Parham Point to Point meeting

THE Crawley and Horsham Hunt’s point to point meeting at Parham yesterday (Saturday) had the benefit of glorious sunshine, and the well-maintained course had withstood heavy rain during the week to enable racing to go ahead.

There were plenty of attractions for visitors, ranging from varied sidestalls, a funfair, refreshments and the opportunity to enjoy the friendly atmosphere at the track, where there is a fine view of the entire course.

The Crafty Butcher and Marcus Gorman winning the opener. Photo: Jeannie Knight

The Crafty Butcher and Marcus Gorman winning the opener. Photo: Jeannie Knight

The Crafty Butcher proved to be another shrewd purchase by West Sussex trainer Carolyn Gorman, when he won the opening race in fine style at the  Parham meeting, partnered by her husband Marcus, and led up in the paddock by son George, who is a conditional jockey under Rules.

Marcus Gorman receiving the Muntham Challenge Cup from Jamie Hawksfield OPbhoto: Jeannie Knight

Marcus Gorman receiving the Muntham Challenge Cup from Jamie Hawksfield Photo: Jeannie Knight


Carolyn had bought the horse in Ireland for her husband to ride before he retires from the saddle at the end of this season and Marcus enjoyed a fine win with this classy horse.
Although there were only two runners in this opening race, the nine-year-old Vinnie Roe gelding justified his 2-9 starting price, by putting in a superb display of jumping on his UK debut. He pulled away with impressive ease from Beneficiarius with Hayley Moore up in the closing stages. Carolyn reported afterwards: ” Both horse and rider enjoyed themselves out there today.”

Another trainer who enjoyed a particularly  successful day was Norfolk-based David Kemp, who clocked up a treble at the meeting,making the long trip pay off.  The three-timer was triggered by Will Fight taking the Mixed Open with ease, ridden by Sam Davies-Thomas.

Curraigflemens coming in after winning the Club Members’  race with Norfolk trainer David Kemp beside him. Photo: Jeannie Knight

A good victory followed in the Club Members Race when Curraigflemens got the better of runner-up Definite Ridge, trained by Philip York, when staying on better. The final leg of the treble came in the Club members Conditions Race with Sam Davies Thomas riding Brave Encounter, a lightly raced point to pointer with more to come.

Trainer Damian Carden was delighted when Nimbus Lad, owned by James Bull, had an impressive victory in the Tim Dunlop Memorial Restricted Race for the Mount Gifford Challenge Cup. Owen Wedmore partnered the lightly-raced eight-year-old, which had missed the whole of 2015 season-and had been well-beaten on his seasonal appearance at Godstone, following this lengthy absence.

Winner of the Tim Dunlop Memorial Racve, Nimbus Lad, with trainer Damian Carden. jockey Owen Wedmore and owner James Bull Photo: Jeannie Knight

Winner of the Tim Dunlop Memorial Race, Nimbus Lad, with trainer Damian Carden. jockey Owen Wedmore and owner James Bull Photo: Jeannie Knight

Damian said:”He has done so well today and rewarded my faith in him. He last won a point to point in 2013 and we are thrilled with this victory and the great ride which Owen gave him.”

Connections of Nimbus Lad with their trophies Photo: Jeannie Knight

Tim Underwood was the winning trainer when Rescued Glory won the Open Maiden Race impressively at the end of the meeting, with veteran rider Phil York in the saddle.

Brave Encounter trained by David Kemp ridden by Sam Davies-Thomas Photo: Jeannie Knight

Results:  Hunt Members, Farmers and Subscribers Race: 1 The Crafty Butcher, trained by Carolyn Gorman, ridden by Marcus Gorman 2-9 favourite; 2 Beneficarius, ridden by Hayley Moore. Only 2 ran.
Tim Dunlop Memorial  Restricted Race- 1 Nimbus Lad, trained by Damian Carden, ridden by Owen Wedmore 10-1; 2 Jenna Pride , trained by Nick Pearce ridden by Sam Davies-Thomas; 3 Rua Nua , trained by Phillip York, ridden by Richard Defago,   6 ran.
Mixed Open- 1 Will Fight , trained by David Kemp, ridden by Sam Davies-Thomas evens favourite; 2  Crazy Eyes,  trained by Brenda Ansell, ridden by Miss T Worsley; 3 Rey Nacarado trained by David Phelan ridden by Miss G Andrews 7 ran.
Club members race for veteran and novice riders: 1 Curraigflemens, trained by David Kemp, ridden by S Roach; 2 Talkin Thomas trained by Nigel Padfield, ridden by Steven Croft; 3 Definite Ridge, trained by Phil York, ridden by  R Glenn 6 ran.
Club members conditions race- 1 Brave Encounter, trained by David Kemp, ridden by Sam Davies-Thomas; 2 De Clare Man, trained and ridden by Rose Grissell; 3 Dallas Cloud, trained by Nick Pearce, ridden by C Roche , 5 ran.  Open Maiden Race: 1 Rescued Glory, trained by  Tim Underwood, ridden by Phil York; 2 Harodale trained by Stuart Morris, ridden by J Bailey; 3 Basher Brian, trained by Tom Ellis, ridden by Miss Gina Andrews.

The meeting ended with the spectacular sight of a hunt ride following the last race, with hunt members taking part over a circuit of ten fences on the point-to-point course in full hunting dress.

Date for the diary:The Chiddingfold, Leconfield and Cowdray is holding point to point racing at the Parham track on Saturday April 23.

England wins Hickstead Polo event

England beat the USA to win the Bryan Morrison Trophy, the Arena Polo International Test Match held at Hickstead recently. The match featured two of the world’s greatest arena players, with England captain Chris Hyde and the USA’s captain Tommy Biddle both playing off a handicap of 10-goals, the highest rating a player can be given.

Both had faced each other in this Test Match two years ago, when it was Tommy and the USA team who were victorious. But this time, it was the home side who came out on top, winning 16-14 to claim the prestigious Bryan Morrison Trophy for the second year in a row.

A large crowd gathered at the All England Polo Club, despite somewhat chilly conditions, to watch the battle of the titans unfold – and the match was also streamed online around the world.

International Arena Test Match and 12 Goal Challenge at The All England Polo Club, Hickstead, 05/03/2016 Photo:Images of Polo

International Arena Test Match and 12 Goal Challenge at The All England Polo Club, Hickstead, 
Photo:Images of Polo

Eight-goaler Johnny Good and Ed Banner Eve (4 goals) lined up alongside Chris Hyde for England, while Biddle’s team comprised Pelon Escapite (7 goals) and Kareem Rosser (3 goals), giving the visitors a two-goal advantage based on handicap.

As the game got underway, it didn’t take England long to even things up, with two fouls committed by the USA meaning Hyde was awarded two penalties, which he converted with confidence.

Both 10-goal players were heavily marked for the duration of the game, but showed their skills when allowed – and both men came up with some moments of pure genius and highlighted why they are the world’s best.

Banner-Eve, England’s youngest player, worked tirelessly to keep Biddle under wraps, while Escapite had the job of keeping Hyde at bay. Both players excelled on their handicaps and demonstrated skills on and off the ball, both real assets to their teams.

Rosser played with sheer determination in his USA debut, displaying some gravity defying moves – which did lead to an unscheduled dismount in the first chukka. Despite the fall, he carried on and showed his team mates he was going to put it all on the line. Good was Hyde’s perfect wing man, the two having represented England on several occasions, clearing the way for the 10-goaler and presenting him with some great defensive passes.

England managed to go clear in the third chukka, leading 14-10 having level pegged in the first two chukkas. They held their ground and, despite a last minute charge from Escapite and Biddle in the last chukka, England ran out the victors 16-14.

Escapite was awarded Most Valuable Player for his efforts, and Promise, a grey mare ridden by Chris Hyde (owned by his son Jack) was awarded Best Playing Pony.

“We were well prepared for the match, and slightly better mounted this year compared to two years ago. All three of us were fit and ready, and we did the right job today,” said England Captain Chris Hyde.

“The first half was a bit shaky, but losing at half time shook us up and we needed that,” he added. “The USA had a two-goal head start on handicap, so for us to be trailing by just one goal at half time was alright.”

Chris is the first English player ever to be given the prestigious 10-goal arena polo rating, having been put up in the autumn rankings. “It’s a massive privilege for me, and I think I’ve proved a point after being beaten here two years ago,” said Hyde.

In the first game of the day, the 12-goal challenge, Hedonism Wines were the victors over Clogau Wales Polo Team, with a score of 21-18.

All England Polo Club Chairman John Bunn reflected on what had been another superb renewal of the annual test match. “It was a very good day and were lucky with the weather compared to other parts of the country,” he said. “England did themselves proud, and they worked very well as a team – we’re delighted to have the Trophy back!”