Plumpton treble for Tom O’ Brien

Thanks to high quality work by groundsmen, who keep Plumpton racecourse in excellent condition, racing was able to go ahead yesterday.

Jockey Tom O’ Brien continued his fine run of form at the meeting. Hot on the heels of a double at Chepstow on Saturday, followed by a good win at Fontwell Park on Sunday with Colin Tizzard’s Wizard King, he notched up a magnificent treble at Plumpton.

Jockey Tom O' Brien

Jockey Tom O’ Brien

His first victory in the first race came with Cigarisi, trained by Philip Hobbs, which justified the 1-3 favouritism with an efficient win.

Then with Snippetydoodah, a 4-1 shot trained by Michael Roberts in East Sussex, he won going away in the heavy ground from Comanche Chieftain, trained by Neil King.

The treble came in the final race- a three mile one furlong handicap chase. There he rode 6-4 favourite Minella Gathering to victory for trainer Paul Henderson.

Tom O’Brien pictured with trainer Paul Henderson after a previous Plumpton win Photo:Jeannie Knight

That victory was his 66th of the current season- and there should be plenty more to come.

Sea Wall, trained by Chris Gordon, was a fine winner of the two mile Memorial Handicap Hurdle with Tom Cannon in the saddle. He handled the heavy ground for a well-deserved victory.

Plenty of action at PlumptonPhoto: jeannie Knight

Plenty of action at Plumpton Photo: jeannie Knight

Meanwhile Cool King, which had previously been trained by Chris Gordon with success, made his first appearance for his new trainer, Gary Moore,  winning the Amateur Riders Handicap Chase when partnered by James King.

The next meeting at Plumpton is an Anglo-Irish Raceday on Monday March 13, when gates open at noon and the first is at 2pm.

 An Injured Jockeys Fund Raceday follows on  Monday March 27 with the same times.




Fontwell National Spirit meeting

Fontwell Park’s popular National Spirit Hurdle meeting attracted an excellent crowd on Sunday with competitive races and  top class runners supported by a good crowd.

The opening race of the meeting was the Josh Gifford Memorial Novices Steeplechase, which was won by Kilcrea Vale, trained at Lambourn by Nicky Henderson.

Kilcreaa Vale with jockey Jeremiah McGrath and trainer Nicky Henderson Photo: Jeannie Knight

Kilcrea Vale with jockey Jeremiah McGrath and trainer Nicky Henderson Photo: Jeannie Knight

The seven-year-old, sent off at 10-11 was well ridden by Jeremiah McGrath, disputing the lead for most of the way. He rallied after dropping back four out , making a fine challenge between the last two to beat As De Mee, sent out by trainer Paul Nicholls by two lengths in the  two mile one and a half furlong race.

Nicky Henderson received the Josh Gifford Memorial Trophy from Mrs Anthea Gifford along with son Nick, who took over the training licence at Down’s Stables, Findon after his father’s death.

Mrs Anthea Gifford presents the Josh Gifford Memorial Trophy to trainer Nick Henderson Photo: Jeannie Knight

Mrs Anthea Gifford presents the Josh Gifford Memorial Trophy to trainer Nick Henderson Photo: Jeannie Knight

Wizards Bridge, trained by Colin Tizzard, with Tom O’ Brien on  board was impressive when winning the Handicap Steeplechase. This 2-1 favourite took the lead after the last and looked comfortable throughout this steeplechase.

He had run well over hurdles at Wincanton the previous month and matched that at Ascot. Back over fences, he  dominated the race and impressed.

Horsham trainer Gary Moore dominated the day with an impressive treble at the meeting, when he said it was a relief to have his runners back in top form.

The treble started when he sent out Camping Ground,  a seven-year-old ridden by Joshua to win the novice hurdle race over two miles three furlongs with ease by 29 lengths at  attractive odds of 9-1. His nearest rival was 2-1 favourite Le Rocher, trained by Nick Wiilliams,at 9-2. Back in third was Nicky Henderson’s L’Ami Serge.

Camping Ground with Josh Moore and connections Photo: Jeannie Knight

Camping Ground with Josh Moore and connections Photo: Jeannie Knight

Then son Jamie gave him a memorable winner in the Novices Hurdle Race over two miles, three furlongs partnering Crystal Lad . This five-year-old made an impression, winning by seven lengths from  Alan King’s Sir Antony Brown, with Oliver Sherwood’s Robinesse in third place with the remainder of the nine runners totally out of contention.

Crystal Lad and Jamie Moore Photo: Jeannie Knight

Crystal Lad and Jamie Moore Photo: Jeannie Knight

Gary Moore said: ” He is a good horse and I am going to look after him for the rest of the year. Ultimately he will go chasing and has a bright future.

“It has been a terrible, terrible year and my horses have simply not been right. Yesterday was a bad day, with all my horses beaten and another fell,” he added.

The treble came when Jamie partnered Larry, a Midnight Legend four-year-old to victory in the Maiden Open National Flat Race at the end of the meeting.

The Open Hunter Chase went to 1-3 shot Mon Parrain ridden by Mr David Maxwell for trainer Paul  Nicholls, while Ciaran Gethings won the two mile five furlongs handicap hurdle with 12-1 shot Seas of Green 13 lengths  for trainer Paul Cowley.




Colin Tizzard’s Festival hopes

Colin Tizzard has paraded 11 horses before the media at his Spurles Farm Stables on the Somerset/Dorset border  ahead of The Festival next month.
The trainer has plenty of entries over the four days, headed by Cue Card, Native River and Theatre Guide,  in the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup on the final day of The Festival, Friday, March 17.   Though Thistlecrack’s season was sadly curtailed following an injury last week.

Theatre Guide, now ten and winner of five chases, holds two entries at  Cheltenham- the Grade 3 Ultima Handicap Chase on Tuesday March 14 and the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup on Friday March 17.

Trainer Colin Tizzard Photo: John Simpson

Trainer Colin Tizzard
Photo: John Simpson

Of Native River, Colin Tizzard said: “Native River has shown what a good horse he is this season, winning the Hennessy and Coral Welsh National, and then we saw something different at Newbury recently, which we didn’t know he had, when sprinting clear on the run-in – we don’t have to go on six or eight fences out now.
Native River in action Photo: John Simpson

Native River in action
Photo: John Simpson

“We can save that spurt for two out and we know he will gallop up that Cheltenham hill. He has got everything and is in the form of his life. He has what it takes to win a Gold Cup, whether or not he does so this year. He is only seven and he is going the right way.”

Of Cue Card he said:

“I am sure he stays the Gold Cup trip – he has got it all. I am so proud of the horse – this morning he was loving being out on the gallops and it was as though he was doing it for the first season.
“Cue Card has done everything bar winning a Gold Cup and we have everything to play for. We thought his chance (of winning a Gold Cup) might have gone, but he has an equally good chance this year as he had last year.”

Goodwood Racecourse’s 2017 Friday night stars

Tinie Tempah, Pete Tong and Sigma will be the acts for the Three Friday Nights fixtures at Goodwood Racecourse on June 2, 9 and 16 June respectively. The hugely popular evening events are expected to sell out quickly.

Tinie Tempah, with seven UK number one singles to his name, is the most decorated rap artist in the country. His Platinum-selling album ‘Disc-Overy’ contains the massive singles ‘Pass Out’ and ‘Written in the Stars,’ which launched him to the very top of the British hip-hop tree and his second album, ‘Demonstration,’ has kept him there.

A previous Goodwood Friday night concert

A previous Goodwood Friday night concert

Few people can claim to have had as much influence on dance music as Pete Tong, who has spent more than two decades shaping the tastes of the electronic generation. The definitive voice of dance music, Tong’s national radio shows and anthemic compilations are the go-to soundtracks for the UK’s house, techno and jungle fans.

But his reach extends far beyond just the British Isles; his American radio show is broadcast on over 90 stations and he is considered a global ambassador of dance music. The Goodwood crowd will be treated to a masterclass in mixing, featuring some of the greatest dance tracks ever made.

Sigma, best known for their number one singles ‘Nobody to Love’ and ‘Changing,’ as well as recent hit ‘Find Me,’ have quickly risen to their position as one of the leading dance pop acts in the world.

With more than 4million singles sold and YouTube views of over 308million and counting, the duo from Greater London have also sold out live shows in the USA and Australia, as well as playing Glastonbury and Reading Festival.

Racegoers should expect a night of dynamic musicality, cutting edge production and a spectacle of light and sound with one of the most beautiful Racecourses in the world as a backdrop.

Each of the Three Friday Nights fixtures will feature a six-race card of quality horseracing in the evening, before the sun goes down and lasers light up the dance floor in the Parade Ring.

Now in its seventh year, Goodwood’s Three Friday Nights have been enjoyed by thousands, who have flocked to see the likes of Mark Ronson, Basement Jaxx, Trevor Nelson and Rudimental in the intimacy of this unique setting.

Tickets go on general sale on Thursday March 2. Adult tickets start from £35, with junior (13-17 years old) tickets from £26.25. Gates for all three fixtures open at 4.30pm and the music performance runs from 9.30pm to 11pm. For tickets, hospitality and more information, please visit or call 01243 755055.

Qurbaan qualifies for Lingfield Championship

Qurbaan was the decisive winner of the Listed mile Prix Saonois at Cagnes-sur-Mer on Polytrack today Saturday, February 18, a French Fast-Track Qualifier for the All-Weather Championships.
The four-year-old beat his Francois Rohaut stable companion, the filly Cersei, by a length and a half eased down and gained a free and guaranteed place in the £150,000 Sun Bets Mile on Polytrack at Lingfield Park on All-Weather Championships Finals Day, Good Friday, April 14.
Qurbaan, partnered by Francois Xavier-Bertras, has now been successful on all five of his starts on Polytrack and is on the upgrade.
Lingfield all weather championships are attracting competitive qualifiers

Lingfield all weather championships are attracting competitive qualifiers

He beat British raider Sovereign Debt by a short-neck in the Listed Prix Luthier at Deauville on December 17 and today was always travelling strongly, racing in second of the seven runners before going to the front just past the quarter-mile post.
Qurbaan ran on well to triumph over Cersei, with Stephane Pasquier up, who stayed on out of the chasing pack. The winning time was 1m 35.22s.
Rohaut said afterwards: “We know that Qurbaan is a very good horse, especially on Polytrack, but he could probably win a Group race on good to firm ground.
“Today’s race was run at a good pace, he was always going well, took up the running in the straight and waltzed away.
“He is now qualified to run in the mile All-Weather Final and whether he does will be up to Sheikh Hamdan (owner) and (racing manager) Angus Gold. Qurbaan will be prepared for the Lingfield Park race.
“Cersei is a nice filly who proved she stayed a mile today.”

Exercise bikes for jockeys

Today, together with the Injured Jockeys Fund (IJF), Ascot has unveiled two state of the art exercise bikes in the jockeys’ changing room which it hopes will encourage jockeys to warm up sufficiently, therefore reducing the potential for injuries.
Former Champion Jump Jockey and President of the IJF, Sir AP McCoy OBE, said:”As President of the IJF, I am delighted that Ascot have chosen to support the work they are doing in this way and hope the bikes help to reduce the injuries that can be sustained out on the track whilst riding. The charity is very important to me and in the past, helped with my own recovery on numerous occasions.”

Tony McCoy on an exercise bike designed for Injured Jockeys

Sir AP McCoy on one of the two exercise bikes at Ascot yesterday
Investment in preventative measures is a key new area for the IJF and Ed Stroud, Head of Rehabilitation at the IJF, supported the new additions saying:”The Injured Jockeys Fund primarily aims to take a jockey from the point of injury and get them back fit to ride, depending on their injury level.
“The bikes here today represent the second facet of what the charity aims to achieve. Injury prevention is high on the list and, giving jockeys the resources to warm up correctly here at Ascot, will greatly assist in this.”
Paul Struthers, Chief Executive at the Professional Jockeys Association, added:”The welfare, wellbeing and fitness of jockeys is paramount to us and we are delighted that Ascot has chosen to invest in this way. It supports the ongoing work in this area by the PJA, Jockeys Employment and Training Scheme and the IJF and demonstrates yet again that Ascot leads the way amongst racecourses in how they view and treat jockeys.”
Ascot also launched a new ambassador programme in its hospitality areas which will see £1 per cover donated to the charity, along with additional on the day donations from racegoers.
This initiative will form part of Ascot’s charitable strategy to support Racing charities and will enable guests to learn more about the sport from a jockey’s perspective.  Ascot will be able to provide IJF staff (jockeys and ex-jockeys) with employment in addition to being able to donate to the charity.
The programme will engage four jockeys and ex-jockeys (Emily Jones, David Crosse, John Andrew Reid and Mattie Batchelor) on an ambassadorial basis to deliver overviews of racing to fine dining guests at all 20 Ascot racedays in addition to those in the Parade Ring, Panoramic, Trackside and On 5 during Royal Ascot.
Jockeys will introduce themselves with a brief summary of the work that the charity does and how it benefits jockeys and their families including how it has benefitted them personally before running through the card and offering tips. Jockeys will be available throughout the day to provide their experience of the racing industry and answer any questions as well as demonstrate riding equipment.
Customers will have the opportunity to visit a fence during the jumps season to experience the action close-up and will be taken to the starting stalls or the Parade Ring, subject to raceday, during the flat season.

Don’t miss this point to point



The NFU Mutual Basingstoke and Hampshire Hunt Point to Point at Hackwood Park near Basingstoke, takes place on Sunday March 12 and promises to be the biggest and best yet.

A packed programme of races and activities has all the ingredients for a great day out for all the family. Thrills and spills are guaranteed as the runners and riders take on the course’s downhill back straight and uphill finish, travelling over 4ft jumps at speeds of up to 30 mph.

There will be six point to point races on the traditional parkland course, including the Farmtech Restricted Race, the NFU Basingstoke Ladies Open Race and the Gwynn Dental and Quilter Cheviot Open Maiden Races.

Younger members of the family will love the pony racing which starts the day’s events at 11.30, as well as the Hampshire Hunt parade of hounds at 12 noon, with the main races starting at 1pm.

There is also an action packed fun fair, bouncy castle and face painting for the kids, plus trade stands including Rain Hat Collection, Andrassy Living, Blue Bowl and La Di Da for those who like country fare and an opportunity to shop!  There will be plenty of food and drink vendors, but visitors are also encouraged to bring their own picnic.

Entry costs £10 per adult, £5 for under 18s, while under 12s go free.  Premium Inner Car Parking will allow race-goers to get even closer to the action on the track and can be pre-booked for £40 if paid before 1 March.

For more details call Vanessa Vasey on 07977 920705, or email  or visit

Charlie Corbett of the Hampshire Hunt commented “We’re really excited about this year’s event which promises to be bigger and better than ever before, with lots of activities to suit all tastes, both on and off the track. We would like to thank our sponsors, including NFU Mutual Basingstoke, for their continued support and look forward to a great day’s point to point racing.”

Mark Wilson of NFU Mutual Basingstoke said, “We are very happy to be supporting the Hampshire Hunt Point to Point which has become a highlight of the winter calendar in the area, attracting more and more people every year.  We look forward to welcoming visitors at our stand.”


SE RDA committee changes

A number of retirements has meant some changes on the South East Regional Committee of the Riding for the Disabled, including  new chairperson for West Sussex with Janice Massey now at the helm.
Miranda Purves has become Regional Carriage Driving representative, Grace Lloyd Jones the new Regional Dressage representative and Carole Mounce new county  chairperson for Kent.
Miranda has taken over the carriage driving position from Carol Porter, who has done an excellent job there for some years. Miranda started as a volunteer with Cobbes Meadow Group in Canterbury and has a wealth of experience.
Miranda Purves in the front seat

Miranda Purves in the front seat

 She is currently Chairman and Secretary of The Shepway Harness Club,  has been a British Carriage Driving Club assessor since 2002, and an RDA carriage driving assessor since 2013.
“I started carriage driving in 1978 and since then have driven singles and pairs in indoor and outdoor National and Club competitions. In addition to navigating for pony teams,  I have also qualified for my Tandem Bars,” she said.
Also she has been taking Fell driving ponies to Cobbes Meadow since 1997 and has been an approved RDA Whip for as long, accompanying the Group’s drivers to the Regional Summer Show and Indoor Event.
Grace Lloyd Jones is the new Regional Dressage Representative.  She has been a volunteer at Leatherhead RDA Group, and works as a full time as a Senior Environmental Consultant.
Her equestrian experience includes being president, teams manager and team captain of National Riding Championship Team whilst at University; pony club manager at Pony Academy.
Grace Lloyd Jones, second from left, helping with a rider

Grace Lloyd Jones, second from left, helping with a rider

In addition she has Bronze and Silver Young Equestrian Leaders Awards, which involved 60 hours of volunteering in Equestrian organisations building leadership skills.
Her other roles have included being a volunteer at Leatherhead Riding for the Disabled group, assisting with lessons and preparation, collecting donations and fundraising events, as well as a volunteer at Pony Club, assisting in organising and running competitions and Jump Judge role
Janice Massey from Happy Landings Driving Group has taken on the role of West Sussex County Chair from Janie Lawson. She has been with RDA for more than 20 years and a trustee and committee member for Happy Landings since 2007.   She is a qualified RDA coach and a very active member of her group as she is also Safeguarding Officer, volunteer coordinator, first aider, and fundraiser.

Janice Massey

Kent County Chairperson,Jenna Leight, has joined Fi Dent as a Regional Coach, and her successor is Carole Mounce of Cobbes Meadow.
Carole has been a volunteer for more than a decade and Group Coach since 2009. During this time, she has seen a number of riders through their ASDAN training, and has attended Kent County training in the RDAC Syllabus, Autistic Spectrum Disorder, Makaton training, Proficiency Grade testing 1 – 4, First Aid Courses and Safeguarding. She has also been a keen supporter of the Group at Regional events and has already visited some Groups in the area with Jenna.
 In the South East, RDA has 35 groups across Surrey, Sussex and Kent with more than 2,000 riders of all ages. They come to enjoy the experience of riding, carriage driving, show jumping, dressage endurance and western style, with opportunities to learn a new skill, enter competitions or even take a holiday.
This can bring a new dimension to necessarily restricted lives, encourage independence and does much to improve a wide range of medical conditions. RDA has the commitment of more than 1,000 volunteers who regularly and cheerfully give up their free time.
Its instructors work closely with physiotherapists and other health professionals to encourage every individual to aim for attainable goals – some modest, others far more ambitious.

Champion jockey double at Fontwell Park

Champion jockey Richard Johnson was in fine form at Fontwell Park yesterday afternoon, when he rode a double on his return to the saddle after a bout of ‘flu, which sidelined him over the weekend. It was also a double for trainer Philip Hobbs.

Bound Hill and Richard Johnson Photo:Jeannie Knight

Kayf Adventure and Richard Johnson
Photo:Jeannie Knight

His first win came with  1-2  favourite Kayf Adventure in the 2m5½f novice hurdle, by an impressive 14 lengths.

Richard Johnson with his second winner, Caspar King Photo:Jeannie Knight

Richard Johnson with his second winner, Caspar King Photo:Jeannie Knight

He completed the  double, notching up his 151st win on 4-7 favourite Casper King in the 2mile 1½f Novices Hurdle, by five lengths.

The opening race at the meeting, a handicap hurdle over  2m 3 furlongs,was won impresssively by Bound Hill- an eight-year-old Kayf Tara gelding trained in Dorset by Fiona Shaw and well ridden by amateur Michael Legg to a seven length victory.

Bound Hill with jockey Michael Legg and owners John and Heather Snook

His trainer said: ” He had terrible muscle problems and has started recover and show some form. He was fourth of 17 on his latest outing in a hurdle race at Exeter over 2m 7f (soft) last month and has wonderful owners in John and Heather Snook.

Harry Cobden, conditional Jockey to Champion trainer Paul Nicholls, gave the Geegeez Geegee a fine ride to win the handicap chase over 2m 1f.

The Geegeez Geegee with Harry Cobden Photo: Jeannie Knight

The Geegeez Geegee with Harry Cobden
Photo: Jeannie Knight

This horse, trained by Anthony Honeyball, came home one and a half lengths clear of 6-2 shot Un Anjou, ridden by Aidan Coleman and trained by David Dennis at Hanley Swan.

East Sussex trainer Anna Newton-Smith had an excellent win when Goring One won the handicap chase over 2m 5f at 9-2 under an excellent ride by Paddy Brennan.

Goring One, ridden by Paddy Brennan, has an impressive win as a 12-year-old at Fontwell Park. Photo courtesy of Fontwell Park

Goring One, ridden by Paddy Brennan, has an impressive win as a 12-year-old at Fontwell Park. Photo courtesy of Fontwell Park

The 12-year-old gelding, owned by Mr George Goring, has had multiple wins over the years, leaving the Broadway Flyer gelding struggling under a big weight- which has dropped substantially in the last two years.

The next meeting at Fontwell Park is the National Spirit Hurdle Raceday on Sunday February 26- a day not to be missed,


Plumpton’s excellent raceday

Racing at Plumpton yesterday had all the top ingredients- a good crowd,  sunshine and  an afternoon of excellent racing.

It started in fine style with the improving  brown mare Postbridge winning the opening Mares Novices’ Hurdle race at 3-1 under a fine ride from Gavin Sheehan with a winning margin of five lengths.

Postbridge pictured with jockey Gavin Sheehan and owner Mr P Mott. Photo copyright Jeannie Knight

Postbridge pictured with jockey Gavin Sheehan and owner Paul Mott. Photo copyright Jeannie Knight

Trained by Warren Greatrex at Upper Lambourn, the mare’s rider predicted that she would get further than yesterday’s two mile trip. ” She is improving, honest and was sharper today. She will get further.”

Another promising horse for the future was Minella On Line, trained by Oliver Sherwood and ridden by Leighton Aspell. The eight-year-old King’s Theatre gelding won the Novices Limited Handicap impressively by 35 lengths from Royals and Rebels, trained by Charlie Mann.  Leighton Aspell said the 5-4 shot would be even better in a race with more pace.

Jockey Leighton Aspell with Minella On Line and owners AHB Partnership.Photo: Jeannie Knight

Jockey Leighton Aspell with Minella On Line and owners AHB Partnership.Photo: Jeannie Knight

Six-year-old mare Ding Ding, trained at Lewes by Sheena West and ridden by Marc Goldstein was a gutsy 12-1 winner of the handicap hurdle race over two and a half miles. Owned by Mr Ian Poysden, she has been a dual winner over shorter trips. Mr Poysden predicted that next year she could win at an extended trip of three miles.

Ding Ding with jockey Marc Goldstein, trainer Sheena West and owner Ian Poysden (left) Photo Copyright Jeannie Knight

Ding Ding with jockey Marc Goldstein, trainer Sheena West with owner Ian Poysden  Photo Jeannie Knight

He added:” She is my first horse and is a superstar. Before I bought her she had won three times and been placed several times. Next year she may well get a three mile trip.”

Trainer Linda Jewell does well at Plumpton and claimed another win yesterday in the novices’ handicap steeplechase – this time with Clonusker ridden by 3lb claimer Thomas Garner. The nine-year-old, sent off at 14-1,  had fallen on his chase debut at Plumpton two weeks previously but won this well enough.

Clonuskr with trainer Linda Jewell (right and jockey Thomas Garner. Photo Copyright Jeannie Knight

There was success for trainer Anthony Honeyball and Noel Fehily with eight-year-old mare Act Now in the three mile one furlong handicap hurdle. The  11-4 favourite beat Charlie Mann’s 3-1 shot Wishicould by 18 lengths.

East  Grinstead trainer Zoe Davison pulled off an impressive victory with The Game Is A Foot in Conditional Jockeys Handicap Hurdle. The ten-year-old, partnered by 8lb claimer Frankie Penford had a winning margin of just under two lengths over Anthony Honeyball’s Dragoon Guard.

The next meeting at Plumpton is on Monday February 27 with advance tickets from £15.