Plumpton’s competitive raceday

Despite a damp and grey day, a decent crowd enjoyed competiive racing at Plumpton yesterday.

The opening Maiden Hurdle Race attracted nine runners and produced an interesting winner when 5-1 shot The Caller, trained by Warren Greatrex, overturned 1-4 favourite Oscars Boss trained by Neil Mullholland and ridden by Noel Fehily.

Gavin Sheehan partnered the winner, tracking the leader until approaching two out where The Caller was produced to go clear from the final hurdle. Warren Greatrex said The Caller was not certain to go on to tackle fences.

Gavin Sheehan with The Caller Photo: Jeannie Knight

“He  is not very big but certainly will get further, even three miles in time,” he added.

Nine runners contested the novice handicap steeplechase, which was won by Instingtive, trained by Gary Moore and partnered by Jamie Moore. The six-year-old  beat the Tom Gretton-trained Yourholidayisover by just a head.

Instingtive with Jamie Moore and owners fromTom Taylor racing group Photo: Jeannie Knight

Instingtive with Jamie Moore and owners fromTom Taylor racing group Photo: Jeannie Knight

Gary Moore said afterwards:”He is a beautiful looking horse and a born chaser, but he has been very disappointing. He got his act together today, stuck his head down and went for it. He is a straightforward horse and that was the worst race on the world.”

The Novice Hurdle was won by the Philip Hobbs trained Jerrysback, 1-2 favourite ridden by Barry Geraghty which was never in danger from 50-1 shot Jaisalmer, sent out by Mark Bradstock with James Banks in the saddle.

Barry Geraghty with Jerrysback, winner of the Novices Hurdle race Photo: Jeannie Knightt

Barry Geraghty with Jerrysback, winner of the Novices Hurdle race Photo: Jeannie Knightt

Eminent Poet, trained by Venetia Williams, was in his element in the conditional jockeys handicap hurdle under Charlie Deutsch. This horse had won twice last winter in heavy conditions and beat Anthony Honeyball’s City Supreme by five lengths.

Eminent Poet, Charlie Deutsch up Photo Jeannie Knight

But there was compensation for Anthony Honeyball when he sent out 9-4 favourite Royall Salute win the three miles one furlong handicap chase under Harry Cobden.

Morestead trainer Chris Gordon and jockeyTom Cannon continued their good partnership when 11-4 favourite Bol D’Air won the final handicap hurdle by 10 lengths.

The next Plumpton meeting is At The Races Raceday on Monday February 13




Impressive winners at Fontwell Park

Persistent rain failed to dampen enthusiasm when Fontwell Park staged a competitive jumps meeting yesterday.

The opening novice hurdle saw the well-fancied  French-bred Solighoster win by an impressive 17 lengths for trainer Neil Mulholland, with Noel Fehily in the saddle.

Winner of the opening race

Winner of the opening race, Solighoster, trained by Neil Mullholland, with jockey Noel Fehily and connections. Photo copright Jeannie Knight

The 5-6 favourite made all through the race, his first over hurdles, and went clear at the sixth and came home unchallenged to win by 17 lengths. He beat Versifier, trained by Oliver Sherwood and ridden by Leighton Aspell, a combination which in turn was 15 lengths clear of Faheem.

Faheem, trained locally at Funtington by Lydia Richards and ridden by Marc Goldstein, held on for third place relegating Victor Dartnell’s Bolving into fourth.

The handicap chase over two miles five furlongs saw a deserving winner in Irish-bred Slidecheck, an 8-1 shot trained by Alexandra Dunn.

Jockey Brendan Powell with Slidecheck, winner of the handicap chase Photo: Jeannie Knight

Brendan Powell gave the horse a fine ride and took a narrow lead two out. He won by a neck from Wish In A well, the 2-1 favourite trained by Ben Case and ridden by amateur MJP Kendrick claiming seven pounds.

Horsham trainer Gary Moore unveiled yet another good prospect for the future when he sent out  a smart six-year-old Kayf Tara gelding, Not Another Muddle, to win the two mile three furlong novice hurdle by just over a length, beating Colin Tizzard’s 8-1 shot Brynmawr

Jockey Jamie Moore Photo Jeannie Knight

Owned by Saloop Ltd and ridden by Jamie Moore, there was a lot to like about this runner. He was having only his third run, having been second in a Fontwell National Hunt Flat race and also in a Maiden Hurdle at Plumpton previously and he peristed in getting his head in front.

Jockey Jamie Moore with 6-4 winner Not Another Muddle trained by Gafry Moore Photo: Jeannie Knight

Jockey Jamie Moore with 6-4 winner Not Another Muddle trained by Gary Moore Photo: Jeannie Knight

Gary Moore said after the victory:” I don’t know where he will run next. I am not in a hurry. with him. He is a nice horse and I will give him whatever time he needs.”

Colin Tizzard had to settle for another runner-up spot in the handicap chase when Kerry Lee made the trip from Herefordshire pay off, saddling 12-year-old Mr Bachster to win ridden by amateur rider Richard Patrick. Bachster beat his horse 11-8 favourite Tikkapick in this race by more than four lengths.

There was another close finish in the Handicap Hurdle, a qualifier for the  Challenger Two Mile Final. Berkshire trainer Jo Davis sent out 20-1 shot Mr Fitzroy, ridden by Jeremiah McGrath , to win, beating Chris Gordon’s promising eight-year-old Remiluc, a ;previous Fontwell winner, ridden by Tom Cannon by just half a length.

Flashback to Remiluc's previous Fontwell Park victory Photo: Jeannie Knight

Flashback to Remiluc’s previous Fontwell Park victory
Photo Copyright: Jeannie Knight

But there was compensation For Chris Gordon and Tom Cannon in the handicap hurdle when they teamed up with 8-1 runner Letemgo  to win .In that race another promising horse for the future, Brown Bear, trained by Nick Gifford at Findon, finished a creditable 8-1 third place behind runner-up Jeremy Scott’s Day of Roses.

Fontwell Park’s next meeting is an afternoon fixture on Tuesday February 14 when gates open at noon, with the first race at 2pm and last at 5pm.

Then comes another meeting not to miss- the richest race on Fontwell’s calendar. With £80,000;prize mloney it is sure to attract some high calibre entries.

Then comes another meeting not to miss- the richest race on Fontwell’s calendar- the National Spirit Hurddle.

With £80,000;prize money it is sure to attract high calibre entries. Gates open at noon, with the first race at 2pm and the last at 5pm.

Award for Derek’s work

British Prime Minister Theresa May recognised ECEIM Diplomate and Honorary  British Horse Society member Professor Derek Knottenbelt with a Points of Light award on 9 December 2016.

This award, which recognises outstanding individual volunteers, was given in recognition of Derek’s work with ‘Vets with Horsepower’, a group of equine veterinarians who go on motorbike tours to raise funds for international animal and human charities by delivering veterinary continuing education.

Prime Minister Theresa May said: “Your initiative, ‘Vets with Horsepower’ takes a brilliantly innovative approach to raising funds for some very worthy causes across the world, as well as supporting charity staff with your team’s professional skills.”

Derek Knottenbelt

Derek Knottenbelt  Photo: John Simpson

Derek, the driving force behind Vets with Horsepower is the 631st recipient of a Points of Light award.

He said: “This award is truly amazing and I am both honoured and humbled by it. I am part of an amazing team of people who care deeply about the wider world and this is as much their recognition as mine. It is simply amazing to be recognised in this way.”

The group recently completed a tour in South Africa and have raised in excess of £280,000 for causes. Plans for the seventh edition of Vets with Horsepower are already underway!

BHS Scotland congratulates our wonderful Chairman on this well-deserved honour!

Krugermac could head for Newbury

A HORSHAM-trained horse is among a total of 54 entries which have been unveiled for what promises to be a thrilling 2017 renewal of the £155,000 Betfair Hurdle, to be staged at Newbury Racecourse on Saturday, February 11, Betfair Super Saturday.
First staged in 1963 and run over an extended two miles, the Grade Three Betfair Hurdle is Britain’s richest handicap hurdle and a maximum field of 24 runners can line up. 
One local trainer with multiple successes in the Betfair Hurdle is Gary Moore, based at Lower Beeding near Horsham, who has recorded three wins- including a striking victory by Violet Dancer in 2015. 

Moore’s one entry in 2017 is the lightly-raced Krugermac currently priced at 20/1, which was a useful novice last season. The six-year-old Kalanisi gelding first caught the eye when making a winning appearance at Ascot in a maiden hurdle on soft ground, which he enjoys.

Krugermac on the right Photo: Peter Ssimpson

Krugermac on the right Photo: Peter Simpson

The Irish-bred Kalanisi gelding followed up with a second on heavy ground at Lingfield Park in a novice hurlde race,  but has been off the track for just over a year since that race.
He reappeared on January 7 at Sandown, ridden as usual by Jamie Moore, and finished eighth out of nine runners after the long lay-off. He also has another outing pencilled in for a handicap hurdle on January 27 at Huntingdon in a race sponsored by Equimark Horseboxes, prior to the big race.
Ireland is strongly represented in the initial 54-strong entry for the Betfair Hurdle but Nicky Henderson is the most successful trainer in the history of the Betfair Hurdle with five victories, most recently My Tent Or Yours in 2013.
The Lambourn handler has four entries this year – G1 scorer L’Amie Serge (20-1), Haargam (33-1), French import Discours d’Un Roi (33-) an Consul de Thaix (14-1), runner up in the valuable Wessex Youth Trust Handicap Hurdle at Ascot last month. 
Reigning champion Jump trainer Paul Nicholls triumphed in the Betfair Hurdle withZarkandar in 2012. His trio of entries this year are
Modus (16-1), Zubayr (33-1) and novice Movewiththetimes (10-1 favourite) successful on two of his three starts this month. 
 There have been four Irish-trained winners of the Betfair Hurdle, the latest being Essex in 2005. There are 14 Irish-trained entries this time around, including eight from Ireland’s champion Jump trainer Willie Mullins, and four from Gordon Elliott.
 The two other Irish-trained possibles are Rashaan (Colin Kidd, 20/1), who lowered the colours of the mighty Apple’s Jade in a G2 contest at Down Royal in November and De Name Escapes Me (Noel Meade, 25/1), successful twice in novice company last season.
 Other contenders include Clyne (Evan Williams, 25/1), successful on his latest four starts over hurdles, and Bigmartre (Harry Whittington, 25/1), winner of a competitive handicap hurdle at Kempton over Christmas.

Bigbadjohn heads for Doncaster

Ante-post favourite Bigbadjohn (Rebecca Curtis/Jonathan Burke, 10st 10lb) heads a field of 16 for the £80,000 Listed Sky Bet Chase (3.40pm) at Doncaster this Saturday, January 28.
The prestigious three-mile handicap chase is the richest Jump race of the year at Doncaster and Sky Bet are offering five places for each-way punters.
 Bigbadjohn, the 9/2 favourite with Sky Bet, is making his handicap debut over fences. He beat Our Kaempfer, an impressive winner at Kempton Park recently, by six lengths in a novices’ chase at Newbury on November 3 and was far from disgraced when beaten eight lengths by Thistlecrack in a G2 contest for novices at the same course on November 26.
Stablemate Potters Cross (Paul Townend, 10st 13lb, 16/1), successful in the Mandarin Handicap Chase at Newbury on his latest outing, also runs.
Second-season chaser Southfield Royale (Neil Mulholland/James King (5), 11st 7lb, 7/1) is set for his first start of the campaign.
Southfield Royale Photo: John Simpson

Southfield Royale in past winning action
Photo: John Simpson

He was the impressive 13-length winner of the G2 December Novices’ Chase over the course and distance last season and subsequently finished fourth in a high-class renewal of the four-mile National Hunt Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.
But the seven-year-old disappointed behind Zabana on his latest start in a G1 novices’ chase at Punchestown in April, trailing home a well-beaten seventh.
Mulholland, who trains near Bath, said today: “Southfield Royale is as ready as we can get him at home. We haven’t had the most straightforward of preparations but he has schooled well and we are happy with him.
“He won twice on testing ground last season but that is just the way the ground was. He is a Presenting and his breeding suggests the better ground on Saturday should suit.
“We have the likes of the Bet365 Gold Cup and Scottish Grand National as possible targets in the spring. We will get Saturday out of the way first and see where we go.”

Team Astra wins Polo Masters event

Team Astra took the honours in the recent inaugural Playnation Arena Polo Masters at the All England Polo Club, Hickstead..

Four teams took part in this event. The opening day of matches saw the Playnation team beat Gamestec, while Astra saw off opposition from Bell-Fruit Games.

All the players were back in action on the Sunday, with the two victorious teams from Saturday’s matches playing off for the final. The first half of the match between Astra and Playnation ended in a draw, but then Astra’s Josh Clover upped his attack in the second half to push his side narrowly ahead.

Seb Dawnay played some superb polo to keep Playnation within reach, but eventually the combined firepower of Tom Morley, Josh Clover and Simon Arber saw Astra take the title over their rivals Playnation (Sebastian Dawnay, Sarah Wiseman and John Bunn), with the final score 11-9.

Exciting action in the Playnation Arena Polo Masters 2017 at Hickstead Photo: Images of Polo

Exciting action in the Playnation Arena Polo Masters 2017 at Hickstead
Photo: Images of Polo

In the subsidiary final, Gamestec (Tim Bown, Leon Allen and Paul Knights) won 17-14 in a narrow victory over Bell-Fruit Games (Richard Le Poer, Guy Harrison and Romilla Arber).

John Bunn, chairman of the All England Polo Club, hailed the weekend a huge success.

“Congratulations to Astra, the winners of the inaugural Playnation Arena Polo Masters at Hickstead,” said John.  “Hopefully this will be the first of many more Masters Tournaments in the Hickstead arena.

“We also want to thank Playnation for their invaluable support, and for providing team shirts, bespoke numnahs, colour-coordinated horse bandages and branded jackets for the players, their partners and their grooms.”

The Masters was created as a ;snow polo-style’ tournament, with as much emphasis on the social element as the sport itself.

“We had a strict criteria where all players and partners had to stay at the luxurious five-star South Lodge Hotel, just ten minutes from Hickstead, and socialise for the duration of the tournament, which included two dinners and a post-match awards lunch. If you were not able to stay, you could not play.” said John.

Rules were based on the HPA Blue Book, so that instead of their arena polo handicaps, players were rated on their grass handicap plus 1, making it a 10-goal tournament. The main difference in the rules for the tournament was that no turning was allowed, so backhands were key, creating faster and more open play.

Plans are already underway to repeat the event next year, following the success of this year’s fixture.

The All England Polo Club has matches, tournaments and practice chukkas nearly every weekend from October to March. The Arena Polo season culminates in the International Test Match for the Bryan Morrison Trophy, which will be held this year on Saturday March  4.

Hickstead is a premier arena polo venue

While Hickstead is better known for its outstanding show jumping events, it also is home to the All England Polo Club.

This club was founded in 2006, and quickly became established as one of the premier Arena Polo venues in the country. It hosts tournaments throughout the winter season,  when there is no show jumping,  and a highlight is the International Arena Polo Test Match each March.

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

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

This facility prides itself in offering a very wide range of tournaments from 0-2 Goal right up to High Goal, ensuring that every member has the chance to play in competition.

Spectator admission and parking is free at all of the club tournaments, and everybody is welcome.

When the club first opened, former Chairman of the HPA, Nicholas Colquhoun-Denvers, was delighted at the arena facility. “Hickstead has created one of the most modern and impressive arenas in the country. Not only has it hosted very successful international matches but it has worked hard to encourage the young to play,” he said.

USA 10-goaler Tommy Biddle, who came to Hickstead for the first time in 2014 instantly became one of Polo at Hickstead’s biggest supporters: “This is the best surface I have ever played on. Hickstead has the best arena in the world!”

Founder member Jack Kidd attributes this success to the huge surge in popularity of arena polo in recent years: “In the past ten years the science of arena polo has evolved to create the most passionate, gladiatorial, fast game that I have ever played.”

The difference between summer and winter Polo is akin to that of football and five-a-side football. Arena is played with three team members, using a larger and softer ball than traditional polo, and shots and angles can be played off the boarded sides of the arena.

It is an ideal way to bring on young horses or improve those that are too much of a handful on the bigger summer pitch. Another huge selling point of Arena is that it requires less horse power, thus eliminating the need for a large string of ponies. A club member could happily play with two ponies throughout the season, only having to rent an additional one or two for tournament days.

An International Arena Polo Test match at Hickstead: Photo Russ Kirby

An International Arena Polo Test match at Hickstead: Photo Russ Kirby

The All England Polo Club at Hickstead is renowned for introducing everyone from accomplished riders and absolute beginners to polo, making the sport accessible and affordable to all. It has a thriving polo school and offers diverse instruction options from our resident instructors.

For more information contact Sarah Wiseman, Aspect Polo +44 (0)7920 023 639



Godolphin’s fifth qualifying win

Godolphin landed its fifth Fast-Track Qualifier of the 2016/2017 All-Weather Championships season with Antiquarium (Charlie Appleby/Adam Kirby, 6/4) taking the Betway Conditions Stakes at Wolverhampton in good style this week.

Staged over an extended two miles on Tapeta, the Betway Conditions Stakes was the second of four Fast-Track Qualifiers for the £150,000 Betway Marathon Championships, run over a similar distance on Polytrack at Lingfield Park on All-Weather Championships Finals Day, Good Friday, April 14.

Antiquarium is now guaranteed a free and automatic place in the Betway Marathon Championships. Godolphin also owns the winner of the first Fast-Track Qualifier in the Marathon category, Winning Story (Saeed bin Suroor).

Antiquarium was held up in mid-division in the contest as another Godolphin runner, Famous Kid (Saeed bin Suroor/Josephine Gordon, 6/5 Fav), made the running.

Half a mile from home, the Antiquarium began to make good progress to travel smoothly on the heels of the leaders.

Antiquariam and Adam Kirby winning at Wolverhampton Photo: ARC

Antiquariam and Adam Kirby winning at Wolverhampton Photo: ARC

The five-year-old son of New Approach took up the running entering the final furlong and ran on well to win a shade cosily by a length and three quarters from Famous Kid, with Steve Rogers (Roger Varian/Jack Mitchell, 13/2) a further four and a half lengths in third.

The winning time was 3m 34.39s. Antiquarium is no stranger to big-race success on the All-Weather, having taken the John Smith’s Northumberland Plate on Tapeta at Newcastle in 2016.

Adam Kirby, reinforcing his position at the head of the 2016/2017 All-Weather Championship’s jockeys’ standings, commented afterwards: “I am very pleased with Antiquarium.

“He is an easy actioned horse and very clear winded. He is very easy to ride and you can put him where you want him. We went a good gallop and then, with a circuit to go, it steadied up a little bit but we were going again in good time.

“He stays and doesn’t pull so there is no point complicating things. He is the perfect horse for the All-Weather.

“Antiquarium gave me a great feel and will be a major player on Good Friday.”

Parham Point to Point celebrates 65 years of racing

ONE of the most popular equestrian fixtures on the West Sussex Spring calendar- the Crawley and Horsham Point to Point- takes on a special meaning this year.

The event, on Saturday March 18, will be celebrating 65 years of racing at the Parham track, near Storrington. For the first time, the event will also include a dog show.

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

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

The dog show will consist of nine classes, ranging from ‘Most Appealing Cross Breed’ to ‘Golden Oldies’. It will cost just £1 to enter a class and all ages of “human and hound” are welcome to take part. Judges will include leading event rider Tina Cook.

The race card has also been given a considerable boost with Timico, current sponsors of the Cheltenham Gold Cup, sponsoring the principal race, which is the Mixed Open with record prize money on offer. This race is also a qualifier for a final at the Cheltenham Evening Meeting in May.

Point to Point chairman, Jamie Hawksfield said “We are very excited and honoured to be chosen to host the only qualifier for this series in the South East, and with the considerable increase in prize money we hope to attract a quality field.”

Plenty of exciting action expected at Parham

Plenty of exciting action expected at Parham   Photo: Jeannie Knight

With pony racing, a hunt ride, the funfair, trade stands and some new and interesting food stalls, this promises to be an excellent day out for the entire family.

Racing starts at 1.45pm with the Hunt Members Race, followed by Restricted (2.20pm), Mixed Open (2.55), South East Hunt Club Members veteran and novice riders (3.30), South East Hunt Club Members Conditions Race (4.05pm) and the final Open Maiden (4.40pm).

Last year online tickets (E-ticketing) were introduced and the prices remain the same for 2017 with a saving of £2 for online purchase. Entry for adults is £13 which includes a racecard – the price on the gate is £15 per head with children under 16 going free.

For more information see to order these tickets and for further information on group rates or contact Kitty Gibson on 07876 256924 or Becki Green on 07772 673524. The event is one of the most popular Spring events on the local calendar and promises exciting racing as well as a host of side stalls.

Eventing for riding club members

British Riding Cubs (BRC) and British Eventing (BE) have teamed up to offer an exciting opportunity to those BRC members competing at Novice level with BE.

British Riding Club initiative

British Riding Club initiative

A league will be published on the BRC website and points will be awarded to all BRC members who complete a Novice or Open Novice section at a BE event between March 1 and October 31 2017. BRC and BE will be awarding prizes to tenth place.

“We are delighted to be working so closely with BE on this exciting opportunity for our members” Laura Sanger, Head of BRC. “It is great to be able to recognise those BRC members who are competing at that level. We are grateful to BE for affording us this opportunity and are excited to see how it progresses over the season.”

BE Sport Operations Manager Chris Farr added; “This new initiative is designed for BRC members to give them the chance to compete in a league at Novice level. We thought this would be a great opportunity to work together with BRC and benefit members of both BE and BRC, along with giving them a new league to aim for throughout the season.”

For more information please see the BRC website, or call 02476 840518.