Fontwell double for Hobbs and Johnson

EAST Sussex trainer Diana Grissell scored her seventh  win of the current National Hunt season when eight-year-old bay mare Rolling Dough won the opening handicap hurdle at Fontwell Park’s evening meeting last night ( Friday).

This was her first hurdle winner of the season and she also has one National Hunt Flat Race to her credit, while the remaining five victories were all over fences earlier in the season. Ridden by in-form Joshua Moore, her horse won by more than a length from Charlie Longsdon’s 8-1 shot Midnight Gem.

There was a well-contested finish in the two mile one furlong chase, won by favourite Quadrill, giving trainer Philip Hobbs and champion jockey Richard Johnson a three quarters of a length victory of 14-1 shot Sports Report trained by Seamus Mullins and ridden by Andrew Thornton.

Richard Johnston scored a fine double at Fontwell Park Photo: John Simpson

Richard Johnson scored a fine double at Fontwell Park Photo: John Simpson

The handicap hurdle later in the card went to 2-1 favourite Banyu, with this talented and progressive five-year-old providing trainer Philip Hobbs and jockey Richard Johnson with a double for the evening. Banyu gave Nicky Henderson’s Maestro Royale a ten length beating.

French-bred Vailant Creek got off the mark  at 8-1 scoring his first victory after eight places in his career.  Trained  by  Alex Hayes, the seven-year-old had raced in France during his younger days.   He ran well at Fontwell, ridden by Kielan Woods, and came home half a length clear of runner-up, 11-4 shot Ebadani, trained  by Jamie Snowden.

Trainer Neil King was in winning form Photo: John Simpson

Trainer Neil King was in winning form
Photo: John Simpson

Mercers Court, sent out by trainer Neil King,  has graduated to fences since his  win in a novice hurdle last September at Fontwell Park. He seemed to act well on the good ground, with regular jockey Trevor Whelan in the saddle.  Favourite for the race, he scored his fourth National Hunt victory by  just a neck after a hard fought battle with Dai Burchell’s  Butlergrove King, ridden by  the talented Freddie Mitchell.

The final handicap chase was a win for Horsham trainer Gary Moore, with Ilewin For Hannah, ridden by son Jamie, taking the lead close to home in a well judged ride from Caroline Keevil’s Darkestbeforedawn.

The next meeting at Fontwell Park is a Spring Evening meeting on Thursday May 12.

Pony International venue

Pony International will be back at Withington Manor Horse Trials this year. Following the successful introduction to its schedule last year, Withington Manor, Gloucestershire, is hosting a crucial Charles Owen CIC* (P) class, delivering pony riders with a fantastic international competition experience.

The event runs from tomorrow, Saturday April 30- Sunday 1 May 2016 with action from 9.30am until 6pm and includes Novice / Intermediate / Advanced & Pony Championship

The weekend starts with Intermediate Classes starting Dressage at 08. 00hrs on Saturday, April 30 followed by Show Jumping at 08.45hrs and Cross Country at 09.30hrs. There will also bea qualifier Class for both Junior and Young Rider Open Intermediate under 21’s to assist the Selectors in choosing the team to represent Great Britain in 2016.

CHARLES OWEN FINAL PONY TRIAL starts with Dressage at noon on Saturday, April 30 so that all the ponies can be assessed by the selectors before Show Jumping and Cross Country takes place from 17.00hrs onwards. This Pony competition is part of the programme of events that will help determine the British 3 day Event Pony Team. The Dressage Test used will be the same Dressage Test as used for the National Pony Championships as well as the European Championships.

Sponsorship continues for the highly respected Charles Owen Pony Trials

Sponsorship continues for the highly respected Charles Owen Pony Trials

All three phases will be held on Sunday, May 1 starting at 08.00hrs with Dressage with Show Jumping starting at 08.45hrs and Cross Country at 09.30hrs.


The only advanced level competition in the country will be held during the weekend. All three disciplines will take place on Sunday, May 1 with some of the Advanced competitors undertaking their dressage on Saturday, April 30. The Dressage begins at 10.30hrs on Sunday, May 1 followed by Show Jumping at 14.10hrs and Cross Country at 14.50hrs.

Charles Owen, sponsors of the British Eventing Pony Programme, are generously providing more than £,000 worth of prizes for the Pony CIC* class, including their top of the range skull hat ‘the 4Star’ and the popular Ayr8  hat to top placed riders.

The international class will give pony riders invaluable experience on the international circuit as well as being a showcase event for selectors alongside the National Pony Championships which run at Brand Hall on June 4 and 5 2016.

The CIC* (P) will run alongside the Novice to Advanced sections which this year will see all of the cross country courses running in a different direction along with the addition of several new fences. The April fixture will also give selectors the opportunity to see the performance of British Pony riders before the 2016 European Eventing Championships for Ponies which are this year held in Vilhelmsborg, Denmark, August 17 – 21.

Withington is delighted to welcome not only Charles Owen, but Kingsale Investment Management and Equestrian Hire as sponsors of its event.

Amy and Major win Arena Competition

GORING and District Riding Club held an Arena competition at Hickstead showground recently when here were five heights available to enter- 60cm, 70cm and 80cm arena challenges along with British Eventing 90cm and 100cm Arena Eventing. The 70cm, 80cm and 90cm classes were so popular that they had to be split in two due to the number of entries, giving a total of eight classes.

The course was a mixture of show jumps, simulated cross-country and natural fences which could all be knocked over. The second part of the course was times with clear rounds taking precedence over anyone with jumping faults, so the fastest over the times section with the least faults over the whole course was the winner.

With the prestige of the showground, huge trophies and rosettes for each class, sponsored by local companies, the event was over-subscribed with a long waiting list.

Amy Collier with her horse Major secured first place in the 80cm arena challenge, winning the trophy which was sponsored by West Sussex-based equestrian photographers, LRG Photography, and an impressive rosette sponsored by The Balanced Rider. Amy rode an impressive round and was thrilled with her success and extremely proud of Major, with the pair clearly enjoying the day.

Amy Collier and Buckland Major on their way to winning Photo: Luke Gee: LRGPhotography

Amy Collier and Buckland Major on their way to winning
Photo: Luke Gee: LRGPhotography

Abigail Brittain, riding Diamond Slave owner by Karen Carugati of Little Hurst Stables won the first of the 90cm arena eventing classes and was awarded a trophy sponsored by Pat Parris and Graeme Burton, with rosettes sponsored  by Chris Watts Equestrian

Abigail Brittain and Diamond Slave Photo: Kuke Gee, LRG Photography

Abigail Brittain and Diamond Slave Photo: Luke Gee, LRG Photography

Abigail was first to go in the class with the 16hh Irish horse which has competed in hunter trials and show jumping and has also hunted.

She was pleased with the horse, which she says is a true all-rounder, the most honest horse she has ridden and believes he will make a great eventer.

Collage of Amy Collier's sucess at Hocksteas compiled by Sally Gee from photos by Luke Gee of LRG Photography

Collage of Amy Collier’s sucess at Hickstead compiled by Sally Gee from photos by Luke Gee of LRG Photography

Goring and District Riding Club would like to thank all the local companies which sponsofred the trophies and rosettes and also the stewards and helpers on the day and during the set up of this event. Without them, events such as this would not be possible. Well done to Grding Riding Club for staging the excellent and well-attended event.

Dealing with an equine death

WORLD Horse Welfare, Blue Cross and The British Horse Society (BHS) have joined forces to offer advice and support for horse owners making the difficult decision to have their horse or pony euthanased.

They also owners dealing with their sudden death, or planning ahead to make sure they are prepared for these situations in the future.

A recent social media poll of more than 1,000 horse owners conducted by the three charities showed more than 40 per cent  have not planned for the practical aspects of their horse dying, whilst two thirds (67 per cent) had previously made the decision to have their horse euthanased.

When asked about where they would go for advice, almost 60 per cent of horse owners would ask their horse-owning friends and 92 per cent would turn to their vet for advice. More than 75 per cent of horse owners felt they had a good understanding of the options available for euthanasia, but more than 80 per cent said they would find it helpful to have a ‘one-stop-shop’ which combined the various support services offered by equine charities to guide them through this difficult time.

With you every step of the way..... Photo: World Horse Welfare

With you every step of the way…..
Photo: World Horse Welfare

Each charity offers free support and advice services which combined cover all aspects of equine euthanasia and sudden death, with the three charities partnering in an initiative entitled ‘With you every step of the way’.

World Horse Welfare’s ‘Just in Case’ resources provide help and guidance on the different options available, including planning for the practical aspects of euthanasia or sudden death and considering the horse’s quality of life, whilst The BHS’ ‘Friends at the End’ initiative offers support through the process to ensure owners never feel isolated or alone, and pet charity Blue Cross offers a unique Pet Bereavement Support Service which provides specialist telephone and email support and advice to help owners deal with the grief they feel at losing a much-loved equine partner.

World Horse Welfare Head of UK Support, Sam Chubbock said: “The end of their horse’s life is understandably something which most owners prefer not to think about but it is an experience which can be made much less painful if the appropriate plans have already been put in place and they know where to go for support.”

For more information visit:

Eventing experts give Badminton insight

An exclusive preview evening on Friday May 6 offers the chance to gain insight to the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials’ iconic cross country course with some of the eventing world’s top riders and experts including Yogi Breisner, Harry Meade, Ian Stark and Zara Tindall.

Hosted by the Horse Trials Support Group (HTSG) and supported by Dodson & Horrell in aid of Badminton Horse Trials 2016 Charity of the Year, World Horse Welfare, the evening promises to be an unmissable occasion for all eventing fans and enthusiasts with tickets now on sale.

The stellar line up of speakers will give their thoughts on the 2016 cross country course, with a chance for questions from the audience compered by Alice Fox-Pitt. Guests will also have the chance to take part in a raffle to raise money for World Horse Welfare and the event will be held in the Horse Trials Support Group marquee at Badminton.

Zara Tindall ( nee Philips) competing Photo: World Horse Welfare

Zara Tindall ( nee Phillips) competing
Photo: World Horse Welfare

World Horse Welfare Chief Executive, Roly Owers, said:  “This prestigious evening is shaping up to be another wonderful way to celebrate World Horse Welfare being this year’s chosen charity for the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials.

“We are very grateful to Dodson & Horrell for supporting the evening and to the Horse Trials Support Group for their generosity in hosting this event on our behalf, as well as to the panellists and compere for their involvement. I’d urge all eventing fans to get their tickets booked as soon as possible. We look forward to seeing you there!”

Dodson & Horrell CEO, Sam Horrell, said: “We are proud to be involved with the cross country preview evening to support World Horse Welfare.  It will be great to hear the thoughts of the panel on Giuseppe Della Chiesa’s cross country course for this year’s event and look forward to a fantastic evening at the horse trials.”

Chairman of the Horse Trials Support Group, Rosemary Barlow commented: “We are delighted to be hosting this evening for World Horse Welfare.   The expert panel will, no doubt, give us an in depth view of the cross country course and we hope that the evening will raise valuable funds for the official charity at Badminton this year.   We look forward to welcoming everyone on the Friday evening.”

The event takes place at 5.45pm – 8pm on Friday May 6 2016 in the Horse Trials Support Group Marquee at Badminton Horse Trials. Tickets are £10 which includes a £5 donation to World Horse Welfare and these can be purchased from the Horse Trials Support Group via Rosemary Barlow or visit the website


Arena eventing at Coombelands

HORSHAM and District Riding Club and Coombelands equestrian recently had to make the unfortunate decision to cancel the planned annual Hunter Trial at Coombelands due to the continuing wet ground conditions on the track there.
But Gaye Harwood and the Horsham Riding club representatives Carol Porter and Caroline Exley, pulled out all the stops and put together a great arena eventing competition instead in the lovely all weather arena at Coombelands, with the second arena for warm up to replace the Hunter Trial.

The day turned out to be sunny and dry, with perfect weather for both competitors and spectators. While the atmosphere was friendly, relaxed and unhurried the event was still highly competitive.

Horsham District Riding Club kept to the theme of the Hunter Trial with classes of Novice 75cm, Novice Pairs 75cm and Open 90 cm, with single classes split into Sections A and B  because of the high number of entries. The Pairs event was changed to a Pairs relay, making five classes in total.

Collage of Photo:

Striking collage of Jackie Oxley competing at Coombelands. She finished sixth in the Open on Shakespeare’s Romeo. Collage compiled  by Sally Gee from photos taken by Scott Howard, both of LRG Photograpy


Coombelands was well represented in the competitions, with Alice Crowley ( daughter of Jim and Lucinda, nee Harwood) winning the first of the Novice 75cm classes riding Silver and third on Benjee,  while Ryan Perrett ( son of Amanda) was  fourth and Lucy Aspell      ( daughter of Grand National winning jockey,Leighton Aspell) was sixth.
Alice Crowley competing with Silver Photo: LRG Photography

Alice Crowley competing with Silver
Photo:Scott Howard of LRG Photography

Rachell Dorrell with Dainty Davey ROR had a great day winning the second 75cm class and was third in the second 90cm class.

 Olivia Watts had a very unlucky pole down one fence from the finish in the first of the 90cm classes, where she finished out of the placings but with the fastest time of both the 90 cm classes.
Rare sunshine made for a beautiful spring day lovely day for the event, which compensated for the loss of the Hunter Trial, and the day was a huge success thanks to Carol Caroline, Gaye Harwood and all those many helpers form Horsham District Riding Club  who give up their time to assist at these events.

Rebus is rising dressage star

AN impressive young dressage horse based in Sussex, St Schufro , affectionately known as Rebus, has made an immediate impact when winning competitions this year.

Ridden by Sussex dressage trainer and rider Badr Al Omran, five-year-old Rebus is owned by dressage enthusiast Elise Lawrence, who lives near Henfield. Elise, who has been interested in and involved with dressage for several years, bought Rebus after riding him last year when she went to see him.

“I went for him because he moves so beautifully, has a lovely temperament and a beautiful canter. At home he was very forward going for a young horse and I asked Badr to help me with him.

“He rides him extremely well and Rebus loves both his work in the school and also going for a hack with  Badr. ” she said.

Rebus is 17.3hh and extremely well bred, being by Don Schufro out of Rhodiamant, and he needs a versatile and professional rider.

He stays at Elise’s home having been purchased in September and she was initially taught by Badr on the horse.

Badr and Photo: Spidge Event Photography +44 1444-413110 Mobile: (07880) 835596

Badr and Rebus, owned by Elise Lawrence, competing
Photo: Spidge Event Photography +44 1444-413110 Mobile: (07880) 835596

Elise said:”He is a flexible and talented horse and enjoys his work. He is a good horse to have at home, behaving impeccably in the yard and with my family.

“His training with Badr has gone very well so far, and he knows exactly how to train this type of horse . He combines hacking with schooling, and Rebus really loves all he does.

“He also has an air of showmanship, which stands him in good stead in the competition arena. Badr and I discuss future plans after each outing,” she added.

Badr said:“Rebus is still young and growing so we are taking it carefully. However, Rebus has already competed at four shows and won at least one test each time.”

He added: “He has been impressive, scoring more than 70 per cent in novice classes and has qualified for the Regional Championships. He recently did his first Elementary competition, coming second with 69.66 per cent.”

An Advanced dressage rider (Group 2 British Dressage), Badr is BHS registered, offering lessons and training for riders in all disciplines. He is based near Hurstpierpoint but is willing to travel 25 miles to clients.

A qualified judge, he also offers schooling livery as well as visiting schooling sessions to stables. He also provides help with BHS and pony club exam preparation and is closely involved with dressage events at Plumpton College.
Badr can be contacted on 07870 485339.

Plumpton treble for Joshua Moore

TRAINER Gary Moore and son Joshua teamed up to take the first and last races at Plumpton at yesterday’s evening meeting. They kicked off by taking the opening Novice Hurdle with 5-1 shot Zante, which took the lead at the last.

The four-year-old, which had previously raced in France, came home a length clear of David Arbuthnot’s Welluptoscratch, ridden by Tom Cannon-  a lightly raced five-year-old which enjoys good ground and was unlucky to come up against Zante in this instance.

Joshua and Gary Moore at Plumpton Photo: Jeannie Knight

Joshua and Gary Moore at Plumpton Photo: Jeannie Knight

The double was completed when they teamed up with 3-1 favourite, Hermosa Vaquera to win the final handicap hurdle comfortably. But these two wins were part of a treble for Joshua Moore, who also scored a well-deserved victory for East Sussex trainer Diana Grissell.

He partnered  Roparta Avenue to  score the nine-year-old’s first victory by an easy nine lengths in the three mile one furlong handicap chase.

Killian Moore scored for trainer Chris Gordon in the Condtional Jockey’s Handicap Chase  on board odds-on favourite Ballycoe, riding an excellent race to score a good ten lengths victory from 11-2 shot Bonds Conquest send out by Seamus Mullins.

Trainer Chis Gordon Photo Jeannie Knight

Trainer Chis Gordon
Photo Jeannie Knight

The handicap hurdle race went the way of 13-8 favourite Libeccio, trained by Charlie Mann and well ridden by Tommy Dowling. Despite being hampered during the race, and finding stiff opposition from Knight Bachelor ( trained by Warren Greatrex and ridden by Gavin Sheehan) at the last, he put in a better jump and won by half a length.

There was a surprise result in the Graham Mason Hoare Memorial Handicap Hurdle when 7lb claimer William Featherstone score with 8-1 shot Frank N Fair for trainer Zoe Davison. The eight-year-old was held up in the race, coming with a well-timed late run to take the lead on the flat from 14-1 shot Zephyr trained by Nick Williams.

There was another good performance in the saddle by jockey Marc Goldstein when he partnered grey Kilabraher Cross to a well-deserved win over fences.

Kilbraher Cross

Kilbraher Cross

Last season, East Sussex trainer Paddy Butler, sprang a 25-1 shock win with the same horse and jockey but this time they took the two mile one furlong handicap chase at  the same track  at a more modest starting price of 2-1.

Killabraher Cross following victory at Plumpton Photo: Jeannie Knight

Killabraher Cross following victory at Plumpton Photo: Jeannie Knight

A good day’s racing all round at this popular track where the next fixture, the last of the current season, is one not to miss. It is a Ladies Day on Sunday May 8 when gates open at noon and the first race is at 2.15pm, Book your tickets now.


Success for newcomers at Hunters Lodge

THE latest All Stars Jumping event at Hunters Lodge Riding Centre, Chichester, attracted some new riders, including one who travelled from the New Forest to take part.
Georgia Handley won two classes with her 13hh cob, Norton,  while Mirrin Carter (eight) and her pony, Sugar, finished second when taking part in their first competition, and newcomer Annabel Harvey-Mason won the opening class with Graishall Getain with the only clear round.
Mirrun Carter and Photo:

Mirrun Carter and Sugar who were runners-up in their first competition

Kate Dineen and Bessie were visiting riders from Ewshot Riding Club where there will be an All Stars v Ewshot Riding Club show cross team challenege on July 31.  All Stars in holding a practice day at Fair Oak Cross Country Course, Rogate on April 24, with 52 riders already booked in for the event.

 Results: Class 1-  1, Annabell Harvey-Mason and Graishall Getain; 2, Mirrun Carter and Sugar; 3 Kerry Palmer and Magic; 4 Francesca Brown and Landie;  Ellie Briant and Misty.
Class 2- 1 Georgia Handley and Norton; 2 Gaynor Stephens and Freddie; 3 – Gemma Gabler and Coco; 4 – Tracy Hodge and Biskit; 5 – Francesca Brown and Landie; 6 – Orla Stone and Benny.
Class 3-Pairs-1 Addie Carter and Clive with Gemma Gabler and Coco; 2 Francesca Brown and Landie with Ashlyn Allman and Indie; 3 – Tracy Hodge and Biskit with Georgia Handley and Norton; 4 Pheobe Harvey-Mason and Scooby with Nick Chambers and Alarna; 5 Orla Stone and Benny with Dana Allen and Millie.
Class 4 – 1 Gemma Gabler and Coco; 2 Tracy Hodge and Biskit; 3 Gaynor Stephens and Freddie; 4 Addie Carter and Clive; 5 Katie Dineen and Bessie; 6, Ashlynn Allman and Indie.
Class 5-1 Georgia Handley and Norton; 2 Addie Carter and Clive; 3  Gaynor Stephens and Freddie.

Plumpton’s glamorous raceday

PLUMPTON Racecourse will be hosting its annual ‘Glitz and Glamour Ladies Day’ on Sunday May 8. Gates open at noon for the course’s most glamorous raceday of the year which features best dressed competitions for the ladies, men and children.

There is a superb first prize for the  best dressed lady of a two night stay at the historic Buxted Park Hotel plus £300 spending money – so it is worth dressing to impress.

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

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

In addition, there will be an abundance of activities to keep racegoers young and old entertained throughout the day, including an exhilarating seven race card of quality national hunt racing starting at 2.15pm, a traditional fun fair and live music on the Ladies Day stage.

The finals of the South East area Point to Point pony racing series will be held late afternoon, showcasing potential jockey stars of the future.

Pony Racing at Plumpton

Racegoers are welcome to bring their own picnics into the centre of the course where they can enjoy a 360 degree view of the racing. Advanced adult tickets for this area are available for only £10 per person.

Alternatively, why not experience the Glitz & Glamour package in the Pavilion Marquee, which includes a delicious three course meal, live entertainment and enclosure badge.

Russell Bowes, Chief Executive of Plumpton Racecourse, comments: “We are really looking forward to hosting our Ladies Day fixture at Plumpton. We have lots of great entertainment for everyone to enjoy and women, men and children can take part in the featured best dressed competitions with some fabulous prizes up for winners.

“With admission prices starting at only £10 for advanced tickets for adults, with accompanied under 18s free, we aim to make this a fantastic and fun family day out.”

Gates open at 12.00pm and the first race kicks off at 2.15pm. For more information or to book ticket see or call the Racecourse Office on 01273 890383.