Major Pusey contests series finale

The 10-race Sky Bet Summer Sprint Series at Royal Windsor Racecourse concludes today, Monday, August 21, with the £75,000 Sky Bet Windsor Sprint Series Finale Handicap at 6.50pm. A maximum field of 16 runners is set to line up in the six-furlong contest.
To qualify for the finale, horses must have finished in the first six in any of the nine qualifying races, which were staged at Royal Windsor Racecourse between April 24 and August 7.
Trainer John Gallagher hopes that his runner, Major Pusey,  a five-year-old, will perform well with underfoot conditions in  favour.

Major Pusey in action earlier in the year  at Windsor. Photo courtesy of Gallagher Racing

Major Pusey was second at Newmarket on August 11. Earlier in 2017, he was a winner at Windsor over six furlongs in another handicap on May 26. T
Gloucestershire-based Gallagher reported: “Major Pusey has run well on his latest two starts and seems to like Windsor.
“We wanted to qualify him for the finale and hopefully he is in there on a nice weight. If the ground stays on the easy side, he should have a cracking chance. Looking at the forecast, there should be a nice drop of rain which will suit us.
Five winners of qualifying races are set to line up in tomorrow’s finale, including top-weight Stake Acclaim (Dean Ivory/Robert Winston, 9st 10lb, 6/1 with Sky Bet) who scored at Windsor on June 5 and was last seen out when successful at Ascot’s Shergar Cup fixture on August 12.
Sky Bet’s 11/2 favourite is Upstaging (Paul Cole/David Egan (5), 9st 9lb), who was second to Stake Acclaim on June 5 before going on to take a course and distance handicap on July 2. The five-year-old was last seen out when an excellent third, beaten three-quarters of a length, in the very valuable Stewards’ Cup at Goodwood on August 5.
Atletico (Roger Varian/Andrea Atzeni, 9st 1lb, 6/1) landed the July 24 qualifier while Ice Age (Eve Johnson Houghton/Edward Greatrex (3), 9st, 8/1) was successful in the final qualifier on August 7, when seeing off the re-opposing Major Pusey (John Gallagher/Fergus Sweeney, 8st 6lb, 20/1) by a length and three quarters.

Gold for GB eventing team

Great Britain’s eventing team has won the first European Championships team gold since 2009.

GB scored 113.9 in Strzegom, Poland, with Germany (123.0) in second place and Sweden (148.4) taking bronze.

British rider Nicola Wilson, on Bulana, won bronze in the individual event, with Germany’s Ingrid Klimke and Michael Jung taking gold and silver.

GB’s Tina Cook was fourth, with Ros Canter fifth and Gemma Tattersall in eighth.

The German team had been in the gold medal position after the dressage event on Friday, before an impressive performance by GB in Saturday’s cross country saw them lead going into the final showjumping stage.

Wilson, Cook and Canter all put in clear rounds to secure GB’s first European gold since the 2009 event in Fontainebleau, France.

British eventing team wins gold medal Photo courtesy British Dressage/Getty Images”

I think I’m still pinching myself. It’s just been amazing,” said Nicola Wilson.

Tina Cook added: “We were really wanting that gold, it’s been a few years and it’s fantastic to be back in this position.”

It was a spectacular start for new British performance coach Chris Bartle, the Yorkshireman who left his role with Germany earlier this year after masterminding Olympic, World and European gold medal successes.

“I can’t put it into words how impressed I am – I just couldn’t be more proud,” he said.

“They all rode exactly as they trained and what they’re capable of. We now want more golds, for as long as we can.”

Leading individual positions after cross-country: 1 Ingrid Klimke (Ger) (Horse: Horseware Hale Bob OLD) 30.30, 2 Michael Jung (Ger) (fischerRocana FST) 32.80, 3 Nicola Watson (GB) (Balana) 35.50, 4 Kristina Cook (GB) (Billy The Red) 38.20, Ros Carter (GB) (Allstar B) 40.20, Kai Ruder (Ger) (Colani Sunrise) 40.30, Sarah Ennis (Ire) (Horseware Stellor Rebound) 43.40, 8 Gemma Tattersall (GB) (Quicklook V) 44.70, 9 Sara Algotsson Ostholt (Swe) (Reality 39) 47.0, 10 Thibaut Vallette Lt Col (Fra) (Qing du Briot ENE HN) 57.70

Team standings: 1 Great Britain 113.90, 2 Germany 123.0, 3 Sweden 148.40 4 Italy 211.80 5 Ireland 269.20 6 Belgium 286.30 7 Spain 290.10 Switzerland 324,10 9 Poland 408.80 10 Belarus 425.50

British eventing team’s top performance

Cross-country day at the eventing FEI European Championships saw some fantastic performances from all six British riders, to see Great Britain head into theshowjumping phase leading the team competition, with four athletes – Nicola Wilson, Gemma Tattersall, Tina Cook and Rosalind Canter – featuring in the top eight of the individual standings.

First out on course, Oliver Townend with Angela Hislop’s Cooley SRS, got the British team off to a good start. Two refusals on course and time penalties saw them finish on 85 penalties.

Oliver said: “He just went a bit green; he’s still young and just got a little overawed by the crowd. It’s disappointing but at the same time it was good to get back for the team.”

Championship debutant Ros Canter with Caroline Moore and her own Allstar B, were next on course, and produced a stunning round to go clear, just 4 seconds over the time, giving them a total score of 40.2 penalties.

Rosalind Canter (GBR) riding Allstar B
Photo: British Eventing

Ros said: “It feels amazing; I owe so much to my horse. He’s a big strong horse, he always makes me work hard but he’s so honest and such an amazing jumper. My aim was to go clear inside the time and I’m very delighted with how we went. He’s just the most phenomenal horse.”

Next up for GB was Piggy French with Jayne McGivern’s Quarrycrest Echo. Putting the disappointment of the dressage behind her, Piggy had a superb round but was unlucky to have one refusal and incur time penalties to see her finish on a score of 83.4 penalties.

Piggy said afterwards: “He was amazing and I’m really pleased with him. He just started to get a bit tired before and I think I just went slightly to the left (on fence 24) and the reaction wasn’t there. The rest of the round was fab; it would definitely have been his toughest test to date.”

Tiny Cook and Billy The Red
Photo: British Eventing

Tina Cook produced a flawless jumping round aboard Elisabeth Murdoch and Keith Tyson’s Billy The Red, for a clear round inside the time, to leave them on 38.2 penalties.

“The team needed a clear round and I’m delighted that we delivered that,” said Tina, “I have every belief in this horse. He is careful but he is sharp and a million per cent genuine. He’s only 10, so still young at this level, but it’s another horse I’ve produced to top level and I’m thrilled.”

Lying in fourth place overnight, Gemma Tattersall with The Pebbles Syndicate’s Quicklook V produced yet another fantastic round, finishing clear, just nine seconds over the time allowed for a score of 36.7 penalties.

An ecstatic Gemma said; “I’m absolutely over the moon with my horse; she dug so deep and tried so hard. She just got a bit tired at the end and we lost a few seconds there. She gave me the most wonderful ride; she’s such a wonderful little horse. I could not have asked for more.”

Final rider up for Great Britain, Nicola Wilson with James and Jo Lambert’s Bulana had everyone on the edge of their seats as they stormed round the cross-country course. As they came to the last fence they were just one second over the time allowed, to finish as the leading British rider with 35.5 penalties.

“I’m so delighted,” commented Nicola, “she tried so hard and I had to rely on her jumping ability and her honesty. She just gets better and better. It’s been a fantastic team result today and it’s a great position to be in two thirds of the way through the competition.”

At this point, Great Britain lead the team event, with Germany second and Sweden third. Individually, Ingrid Klimke heads the leaderboard, with Great Britain’s athletes occupying fourth (Nicola Wilson), fifth (Gemma Tattersall), sixth (Tina Cook), eighth (Ros Canter), 35th (Piggy French) and 39th (Oliver Townend).

The final phase of the competition, the showjumping, will see the team and individual medals decided tomorrow.

The British senior teams are supported by the BEF’s UK Sport National Lottery funded World Class Programme.

Personal bests for British eventers

Faultless dressage tests saw three Personal Best scores delivered for Great Britain’s Tina Cook, Gemma Tattersall and Nicola Wilson, on day two of the dressage phase out at the FEI Eventing European Championships in Strzegom. Gemma finishesd the day as the leading British rider after a fantastic ride with Quicklook V left the duo on 33.1 penalties, putting them into fourth place overnight.

First into the arena for Great Britain in the morning was Tina Cook, who produced a beautiful test with Elisabeth Murdoch and Keith Tyson’s Billy The Red, to get the team off to a great start on a personal best score of 38.2 penalties, to sit twelfth on the leaderboard.

Commenting afterwards Tina said: “I’m really, really pleased with him, there’s a lot of atmosphere in there. He’s only a ten year old so he’s still a relatively young horse and I hope I’ll have him at this level for many years. He’s a lovely, lovely horse, very elegant horse but also very bright.”

Tina Cook and Billy The Red

With The Pebbles Syndicate’s Quicklook V, Gemma Tattersall delivered a stunning test with the striking twelve-year-old grey mare to record a personal best of 33.1 penalties.

Gemma commented: “It feels incredible and a relief. She came down here [to the warm-up arena] and for the first time in her life was a little bit nervous so I started off in my dressage just quietly with her and she realised it was just a dressage test and she was then perfect and picked up more and more marks as she went on.

Gemma Tattersall and Quicklook

“I’m just so proud of her, my aim was to get a personal best and that’s what we’ve done and I’m so very, very proud. I feel that Quicklook and I are on great form, that we can ride for ourselves and get an individual medal for GB – that’s the aim, and I’ll be doing my absolute best to try and achieve that.”

The final British rider, Nicola Wilson and Bulana, owned by Jo and James Lambert, delivered another outstanding performance for the British camp for 35.1 penalties – a personal best for the combination – to see them finish the day in seventh place.

“I’m just thrilled with her, she is such a competitor, and I’m just so incredibly proud,” commented Nicola afterwards, “she gave me as much as she could and really coped with the atmosphere and the pressure in there. She just keeps getting better, that was another personal best for her, so that’s three in a row for her now. I’m just over the moon and I’m so pleased for James and Jo Lambert who own her.”

Nicola Wilson

Speaking about tomorrow’s cross-country, Nicola added: “There’s loads to jump. It’s a fantastically designed and built course. This is the first phase complete and it’s so lovely to have got a PB out of Bulana for this phase but there’s two very difficult phases to come – we just have to enjoy the moment now and then really focus on tomorrow and Sunday.”

Adding to Oliver and Rosalind’s performances yesterday, the scores delivered by Tina and Nicola today see Great Britain lying in third place in the team event behind Germany and France. Germany’s Bettina Hoy (Seigneur Medicott) still leads the individual rankings, heading into tomorrow’s cross-country on her dressage score of 24.6 penalties.

The British senior teams are supported by the BEF’s UK Sport National Lottery funded World Class Programme.

Goodwood’s Bank Holiday racedays

Goodwood Racecourse is preparing for its most fun-packed fixture yet; the August Bank Holiday Weekend on Friday 25 to Sunday 27 August. An enchanting long weekend that celebrates the Great British summer holidays of yesteryear, the August Bank Holiday Weekend fixture will feature top quality horseracing, fireworks and a host of nostalgic activities for the whole family.

The fixture opens with racing and entertainment on the Friday evening, the highlight of which is a dramatic fireworks display set to music – put on by the team that produced the display for the Queen’s Jubilee. Quickly gaining a reputation as one of the most exciting displays on the South Coast, the fireworks are expected to take guests’ breath away once again.

Goodwood’s August Bank Holiday racedays Photo: Matt Stills

Preceding the fireworks, six races will be accompanied by live music from jazz bands, a string quartet and a Rock ‘n’ Roll band, as well as activities for children such as a traditional fairground and coconut shy. As the racing concludes and the sun goes down, fire performers and stilt walkers will make their way around the grandstands, as a band of Batala drummers set a hypnotic beat.

On Saturday August  26, the action on track hots up, with the Group 2 Celebration Mile being the feature race of seven during the afternoon, while on Sunday the Group 3 Supreme Stakes leads another enthralling card.

Racing plus family entertainments at this meeting Photo: Matt Stills

For those wanting to take to the saddle themselves, albeit at a slightly slower pace, donkey rides will be a new attraction throughout the weekend. A petting zoo is adds to the family entertainment, while complimentary rides on various traditional attractions, such as a helter skelter, carousel and big wheel, will also make a welcome return. A replica beach front, complete with sun loungers, ice cream, fish and chips and jazz bands will be the perfect place to relax away from the action.

Youngsters will no doubt be keen to visit the circus tent, with circus tutors teaching tricks and skills, regular Punch and Judy shows and face painting. The popular Goodwood Actors Guild will return, playing games of ‘invisible cricket’ and entertaining guests with a pantomime horse.

Tickets to the August Bank Holiday Weekend start from just £10 per day, with under 18s going free. All of the additional entertainment and activities are free on entry. For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit

Crafty Ponies sponsor Musical Ride

The Pony Club has announced that Crafty Ponies are the new headline sponsor of The Pony Club Musical Ride.

With support from Crafty Ponies, a revolutionary new way for children to learn about ponies through soft toys, Members will be able to take part in The Pony Club Crafty Ponies Musical Ride at The Pony Club Championships.

The Musical Ride is an entertaining spectacle which sees teams of up to twelve riders perform a choreographed routine to music wearing elaborate costumes. A highlight of The Pony Club Championships, the event is thrilling for both competitors and spectators, and previous themes have included Minions, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and the Wizard of Oz.

A Crafty Ponies event

Mary Tuckett, Chairman of The Pony Club, said: “Musical Ride is one of the most popular and accessible Pony Club events involving both Branch and Centre Members. They are fun to watch and take part in, and our Members take great pride in creating their production with unique costumes.  We’re excited to be building on our new relationship with Crafty Ponies, whose educational toys are helping children learn about pony care.”

Crafty Ponies Musical Ride event

The award winning Crafty Ponies come ready made with luxurious fur fabric and leatherette tack, or in kit form to make your own pony. With their miniature realistic working toy tack and equipment, on-line videos and cartoon horse and pony lessons they are perfect for children who would like to learn more about ponies. Children can even take their crafty pony through Dressage and Show Jumping activities.

Karen Clithero, owner of Crafty Ponies, said: “We’re delighted and excited to join with The Pony Club to help children everywhere have fun and learn about ponies. I have a long association with The Pony Club having been a founder member of our local Branch, the Wheelton Pony Club, where my children had lots of fun (and learnt too!) at rallies, summer camps and competitions.”

Karen continued to talk about the friends she made through The Pony Club and the wonderful memories she holds.

Spectators can head to The Pony Club Championships at Cholmondeley Castle, Cheshire, on Monday Monday 21 August to watch the Musical Ride, or go any day from 18 to 22 August to visit the Crafty Ponies stand to see their full range. For more information about Pony Club Musical Ride see

Fontwell treble for jockey Noel Fehily

Racing returned to Fontwell Park yesterday in fine style, with a brand new all-weather cambered bend at the bottom corner on the far side of the course.

This substantial  investment on the course will eliminate drainage problems which have plagued that section for many years and will take the course into the future. It now provides a consistent surface around the ideal racing line.

This was a highly competitive meeting with a treble for jockey Noel Fehily and a double for Bryony Frost.

The track was rewarded with an excellent crowd, which enjoyed good racing . Jockey Noel Fehily was in top form, notching up a treble, which started in the opening handicap hurdle with a fine win when partnering 10-1 shot Magical Shot to victory for trainer Neil Mulholland.

Noel Fehily and Code Of Law, trained by Neil Mullholland, winners of the handicap steeplechase.  Photo: Jeannie Knight

Then Fehily was soon back in winning form taking the three mile one furlong handicap chase with Gingili for trainer Johnny Farrelly, despite hanging left approaching the finish of the race.

The two mile two furlong handicap chase saw the combination notch up another impressive win with 7-2 favourite Code of Law, depriving Findon trainer Nick Gifford of a victory with his second -placed Houseparty ridden by amateur rider Tabitha Worsley.

Bryony Frost initiated the start of a family double in the three mile one furlong handicap hurdle, when partnering Findusatgorcombe to a 5-1 win for trainer Jimmy Frost, at the expense of runner up Lee Side Lady, trained by Neil Mulolland and ridden by Noel Fehily.

Bryony Frost and Find Us At Gorcombe
Photo:Jeannie Knight

Then Bryony continued in impressive form and clocked up a personal treble aboard French-bred Black Corton for trainer Paul Nicholls in the Novices Chase coming home 14 lengths clear of the Nicky Henderson-trained Forever Field.

Pulborough trainer Amanda Perrett is better known for her runners of the Flat from Coombelands Racing Stables at Pulborough. But she sent out Balancing Time, ridden by Leighton Aspell, to take the Novices Hurdle Race impressively by a nose from Psychedelic Rock, trained by Ian Williams.


Balancing Time trained by Amanda Perrett, ridden by Leighton Aspell. Photo:Jeannie Knight

The next meeting at Fontwell Park is on Thursday August 24, a Ladies Evening meeting, with the first race at 4.50pm.


‘Tying up’ in horses

Dr Chris Baldwin BVetMed(hons) MRCVS of  Sussex Equine Hospital, based at Ashington, discusses ‘tying up’  in this latest veterinary feature.

Arundel Equine Hospital vet Chris Baldwin

‘Tying up’, also known as Azoturia, Monday Mornings Disease or Recurrent Exertional Rhabdomyolysis (RER) is the most common muscle disorder in horses, frequently limiting performance in sport horses of varying breeds. Tying-up is basically muscle cramps, the largest muscles in the horse (back and hindquarters) are most often affected by a combination of different (it is not fully understood) mechanisms, leading to a buildup of lack of muscle oxygenation, lactic acid and muscle cell death.

The condition usually affects horses in a high level of work that are rested for one or more days and still fed a high carbohydrate:low fat diet. It most often occurs after 20-30mins of work during the first exercise following a period of rest.

However, it may also occur as a result of increasing intensity of work or unfit horses undergoing prolonged periods of exercise. Any breed of horse can be affected. It most often occurs amongst younger horses and affects fillies more than males. Some horses experience only one or two isolated cases, whilst others suffer repeat episodes which subsequently limits their athletic potential.

Stress, excessive sweating, lack of drinking before and after work or not travelling well will cause electrolyte imbalances or disturbances which predispose a horse to ‘tying-up’. As can a diet high in cereals (as these contain a high potassium:sodium ratio) or deficient in certain minerals and vitamins. Some blood lines are also prone to producing horses that regularly ‘tie-up’ so there is a suspected genetic component too.

Depending on the severity of the episode, horses will demonstrate varying clinical signs from a mild discomfort and stiff gait to a very stiff gait and refusal to move or even in severe cases recumbency due to the pain. Most horses will have firm painful muscles in the gluteal, hamstring and back area, some horses will develop muscle swelling. Tying up is very painful and horses may become distressed and anxious, they may increase their respiratory rate, sweat or even show colic like behaviour.

If you are out riding away from your horses stable and your horse ‘ties-up’ phone for help. The horse should be transported by lorry or trailer to limit any further muscle damage. Once the horse is in a stable, keep them warm with plenty of rugs and offer water.

Diagnosis is made based on clinical signs and a blood test measuring muscle enzymes and kidney parameters. The enzymes are released from inside muscle cells when they are damaged. Myoglobin is a product also released by damaged muscle cells This can discolour the urine brown or orange, potentially causing kidney damage if severe enough.

Immediate treatment depends on the severity of the episode but the aim is to provide pain relief, reduce further muscle damage and protect the kidneys. If mild; encourage the horse to drink (restoring electrolyte balance) and if the horse is comfortable you can walk them round to stop them stiffening up further, but do this with caution!

If the horse is very painful, reluctant to move or recumbent do not try to move the horse! This may lead to further muscle damage. Call your vet and allow them to provide pain relief and anti-inflammatories. The vet may also give acepromazine (ACP), a drug that calms the horse down and causes the blood vessels to dilate, increasing blood supply to the muscles. If the horse is dehydrated there is a risk of kidney damage so the horse may require rehydration by oral fluids or intravenous (IV) fluids. Other drugs are available to help stabilise the muscles and protect from further damage.

Prevention is better than cure and so if you have a horse prone to tying up it is important to provide a high-fat (bran and oils), low-carbohydrate (grains) diet, ensure your horse is properly warmed up and cooled down before and after work and exercise the horse every day, as one or more days of inactivity seems to preclude ERE episodes.

Vitamin E and selenium supplements can also be of benefit as can antioxidants and other drugs and herbal supplements which your vet can inform you about.

Moorcroft’s winter programme

Moorcroft Racehorse Welfare Centre at Huntingrove Stud, Slinfold in West Sussex starts a winter series of lectures following a demonstration of ridden and long reined ex-racehorses at the centre on Saturday September 30 at 11am.
This will enable visitors to see the current horses being cared for at this outstanding centre in their various stages of retraining and at the same time understand better the basic schooling techniques used at Moorcroft.

A retrained racehorse being ridden at Moorcroft
Photo: Mark Beaumont

The techniques are a fundamental part of the retraining process for the many ex-racehorses which arrive at Moorcroft at the end of their racing careers, where vastly experienced manager Mary Frances BHS11, BHS.M ensures they have the time and rehabilitation needed to enable them to go on to an active life outside racing.
Three recently rehomed horses have recovered from chronic sacro-iliac joint pain, suspensory ligament, and kissing spines problems respectively thanks to the expertise veterinary help and retraining available at Moorcroft.
To find out more and to book your place for September 30, contact or ring 07929 666408

Shane Breen’s daughter wins at Hickstead

A team from the local Handcross Park School was victorious in the recent Junior Schools’ competition at the Hurstpierpoint College National Schools and Pony Club Jumping Championships at Hickstead .

The trio of Bryony Martin (Golden Liberty II), Brooke Tusler (Elliot I Am) and Lorna Breen (Dorrito) were the only team to produce three clear rounds to take the title.

Lorna is following in her parents’ footsteps – her father is top Irish international showjumper Shane Breen while her mother Chloe (nee Bunn) is also a successful rider as well as being the daughter of Hickstead founder Douglas Bunn. The family lives at Hickstead Place, so the win came on home turf for the young rider.

“I have had Dorrito for a year now, and he mainly does showjumping,” said Lorna (10). “Winning today was better than watching daddy’s wins here!”

The winning Junior Team Photo: Julian Portch

Grace’s win came courtesy of her 16-year-old showjumper Brillview Quelle Surprise, with whom she has qualified for the Pony Club National Championships. “We rode here last year as a team but came 10th – I never expected to win,” she said.
Senior schools
Imogen Hule from the Godolphin School took the top spot in the Senior Schools Individual Final.“I have been waiting for years for this moment!” said a delighted Imogen, 18. “I have been trying for six years consecutively to win this final and it has finally happened.”

In the teams, Millfield won for the third time in four years, having already taken the title in 2014 and 2016. The trio of Flo Norris (Darling HDX), Alanna Clements (Tinka’s Rox) and Katy Cabourne (Cupid) all produced clear first rounds and had to jump-off against New Hall School in Chelmsford, but a steady clear by Flo Norris was enough to seal the win for Millfield.