Chalkdown RDA saved by local company

Chalkdown Riding for the Disabled Group (near Staplehurst in Kent, were shocked earlier in the summer when scurrilous thieves went to great lengths to steal their brand new, distinctive red trailer in the middle of the night.

A social media and online campaign was launched to try and retrieve it. But they have found a white knight in the form of John Page Trailers from Biddenden in Kent which has charged to the Group’s rescue with an equally fabulous replacement.

Chalkdown RDA celebrates a new trailer donated by William Page ( far right) of John Page Trailers Photo: Joanna Sale

The Group spent nearly two years raising the necessary funds, with a top up from the People’s Postcode Lottery, to buy the £5,000 trailer so that they could transport the ponies to and from their RDA sessions and the children and adult participants could enjoy their much-needed riding therapy.

The thieves pushed the trailer half a mile through paddocks before breaking through a hedge to escape with their ill-gotten prize. Pauline Roestenburg, the Group’s Chairman said “We were appalled that people would do this, especially to a charity. They must have known as it was written on the side”.

The Group’s online campaign to retrieve their beloved trailer was spotted by William and Michala Page of John Page Trailers in Biddenden, Kent who charged to the rescue.

Under the subterfuge of inviting them to view a second-hand trailer that they could buy cheaply, William lured Pauline and fellow volunteer, Kay to a viewing before surprising them with the donation of a sparkling, red, branded trailer that he had be-decked in ribbons and bows.

“We were very emotional and quite speechless at the Page’s generosity” said Pauline.
About Riding for the Disabled (RDA) in the South East:

In the South East there are 35 groups across Surrey, Sussex and Kent with over 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.

It has the commitment of more than 1,000 volunteers who regularly and cheerfully give up their free time. Instructors work closely with physiotherapists and other health professionals to encourage every individual to aim for attainable goals – some modest, others far more ambitious.

Lingfield Park is finalist for top award

Lingfield Park Racecourse has been named as  one of five finalists in the Community and Corporate Social Responsibility category for the prestigious Showcase & Awards, hosted by the Racecourse Association (RCA).

The Showcase & Awards is the marquee event of British racecourses which annually celebrates first class customer experience in partnership with Moët Hennessy and Racing Post.

The winner will be revealed at a ceremony at Newbury Racecourse on November 16. This particular award recognises initiatives relating to the local community, environment or charitable causes.
Entries were asked to demonstrate how a community engagement programme has and continues to improve relationships with the local community through working with key stakeholders.
Lingfield Park Racecourse particularly impressed the judges through its Take The Reinsinitiative which is carried out in association with sports charity, Active Communities Network.
David Toulson-Burke, Executive Director at Lingfield Park, said: “We are thrilled to be recognised for our work on the fabulous Take The Reins project which aims to introduce this wonderful sport and its career opportunities to inner-city teens.

Youngsters from a London school learning about importance of  testing ground conditions for racing  Photo: BHA

“Take the Reins is a nationwide campaign centred around Lingfield Park in the south and Richard Fahey Racing in the north. It is championed by sports charity Active Communities  with the backing of the British Horseracing Authority’s Racing Together.

“We continue to host career days for groups of teenagers from South London boroughs and are now looking at offering work placements to five young people who have indicated an interest in the industry.”

Stephen Atkin, RCA Chief Executive, said, “I am delighted for Lingfield Park Racecourse for their success in being named a Finalist at the 2017 Showcase and Awards.
“It is a highlight of our year to see all of the quality Showcase Awards submissions go before the judges to measure the impact and growth of the initiatives that our racecourses have delivered and clearly Lingfield Park has enjoyed an excellent year.
“I extend my congratulations to the team for their hard work in securing this achievement and wish them the best of luck for the ceremony at Newbury on Thursday November 16  where we will see if they can join our esteemed list of winners.”


BHS achieves new milestone

The largest and most influential equestrian charity in the UK, The British Horse Society can now celebrate a new milestone, having reached 100,000 members.

Membership helps the BHS to fund its vital work in education, equestrian welfare, access and safety. An increased membership gives the BHS a greater voice when it lobbies government on behalf of the horse, and those who care for them.

British Horse Society staff have helped the organisation reach a membership landmark. Photo: BHS

BHS Membership Director, Emma Day: “We are absolutely delighted to reach this huge milestone. We wouldn’t have been able to achieve what we have today without our members; they help us to protect horses and those who care for them. We are continuing to grow, and I’m already looking forward to being able to celebrate the next milestone! ”

By joining the largest equestrian charity in the UK, Gold members of the BHS receive public liability up to *£20 million and personal accident insurance up to **£10,000 , along with access to a free legal helpline. The BHS also offers a Helping Horses and BHS Friends membership packages.

To find out more, visit



Goodwood marks Seamus Buckley’s retirement

Seamus Buckley was given a guard of honour by jockeys in the Winner’s Enclosure at Goodwood Racecourse on Sunday 15 October, with a large crowd gathered around to celebrate the retirement of the popular Clerk of the Course.

Seamus Buckley applauded by jockeys at Goodwood to mark his retirement Photo: George Gunn

Buckley, who has overseen the ground-staff operations at the West Sussex venue for 23 seasons, was taking care of his last fixture at the Season Finale and the reception he received from riders, trainers, owners, racegoers and Goodwood staff was held in great affection.

 Buckley said; “I’ve got mixed emotions about things and my main concern was that everything went well on the final day. It’s been a privilege being at Goodwood all these years and wonderful to have my ‘racing family’ down here to enjoy this day with me.”

 Attended by 10,475 racegoers, the Season Finale proved a fitting end to Goodwood’s racing year, with an autumnal atmosphere created by traditional hog roasts, craft beers and brewery talks, marshmallow toasting and a fiddle band.

Alex Eade, General Manager, said; “It has been another truly memorable year here and the racing has been superb. Today’s new theme has been extremely well-received by a great crowd and it was wonderful to give Seamus such an emotional send-off. We are already excited for 2018 and tickets for next year’s fixtures will go on sale on Monday [16 October].”

The crowd were treated to some exciting action on track and the conclusion of a closely fought battle for the Dick Hern trophy, awarded to the trainer who had the most winners at the course throughout the season.

Trainer Mark Johnston

Mark Johnston, who made the 588-mile round trip from his Yorkshire base, was crowned the victor having saddled eight winners – the eighth of which was Teofonic, who won the ‘Download the app at 188Bet’ Handicap.

Cheltenham’s exciting new season

Cheltenham’s exciting new season starts with The Showcase on Friday, October 27 and Saturday, October 28.
The two-day meeting at the Home of Jump Racing boasts increased prize money of £319,000, and Saturday’s programme includes two £50,000 handicap chases sponsored by Randox Health – the opening Handicap Chase (2pm) over three miles and a furlong and the Randox Health Handicap Chase (3.10pm) over two miles.
Star chaser Fox Norton started last season with an emphatic 11-length success in the Randox Health Handicap Chase and subsequently finished the head runner-up in the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase at The Festival before landing G1 contests at Aintree and Punchestown.
JCB Triumph Hurdle victor Defi Du Seuil (Philip Hobbs), who scored four times at Cheltenham last season during an unbeaten campaign, is set to reappear in one of the other highlights of The Showcase, the £35,000 Masterson Holdings Hurdle (2.35pm) for four-year-olds over two miles, also staged on the Saturday.

Defi Du Seuil (left) in impressive action
Photo John Simpson

Bedrock (Dan Skelton) is likely to be in opposition following an eight-length success in a two-mile novices’ hurdle at Bangor on October 4, his second victory of the new campaign after a wide margin triumph at Warwick in May.
The son of Fastnet Rock was pitched in against Defi Du Seuil in the G1 Doom Bar Anniversary 4YO Hurdle at Aintree in April, when he was far from disgraced in third, six lengths behind the winner.
Trainer Dan Skelton is preparing a strong team for The Showcase as he bids to consolidate his lead in the Jump trainers’ championship. Skelton has sent out 75 winners so far this season at a strike rate of 27 per cent.

Trainer Dan Skelton Photo: Jeannie Knight

The Warwickshire handler said: “Bedrock is fine after Bangor and the plan is to take on Defi Du Seuil at Cheltenham in a couple of weeks.

“Bedrock has won two Mickey Mouse novice hurdles since Aintree with no real opposition and certainly nothing of Defi Du Seuil’s standard.
“You would presume the extra experience is a positive, but Defi Du Seuil was the leading juvenile last season and you have got to be respectful.
“We will be getting a bit of weight this time, which we didn’t at Aintree, and we have had a run whereas he hasn’t. There a few positives for our case, but ultimately this is a nice race to go for and should give us a pointer for the rest of the season.

“We will have a nice team for The Showcase, all being well. North Hill Harvey won the Stan James Greatwood last season and will go for a novices’ chase, Two Taffs will go for the two and a half mile novices’ chase, Blairs Cove has won a couple this season will go for a novices’ hurdle, and Stick To The Plan is pencilled in for the three-mile novices’ hurdle.”
Friday’s seven-race programme, starting at 2.00pm, features several non-graded novice contests over both hurdles and fences. Past winners on the day include subsequent G1 scorers The New One and Lac Fontana.
As well as all the action on the track, racegoers will also be able to get behind the scenes of “The Sport of Kings” at The Showcase. There will be guided tours of the Parade Ring and Weighing Room before racing, as well as various activities and displays about the sport.
Tours will take place approximately every half an hour, starting from the Best Mate plaza, once gates have opened, up until half an hour before the first race.

Tragic death of stable lad

An experienced stable lad attached to Coombelands Racing Stables, Pulborough, died after after being kicked in the head when preparing a horse for a race at Kempton Park on Saturday night.
The man was named as Kenneth Dooley and he was believed to have been saddling up trainer Amanda Perrett’s third runner at the meeting, Parnassian , for the 8.45pm race, when it was believed, but not confirmed, that he may have been kicked in the head inside the stable.

Ken Dooley- tragic death at Kempton

He was seen staggering outside before collapsing.  Emergency services were on the scene immediately but Mr Dooley is believed to have been confirmed dead shortly after they arrived.
Connections said that Parnassian was a very quiet horse with a good temperament in the past. It was not confirmed if the horse was involved in Mr Dooley’s death.
Trainer Mrs Amanda Perrett paid tribute to Mr Dooley, saying he was ‘a very special member’ of her team.

Trainer Amanda Perrett paid tribute, describing Ken Dooley as ‘a very special member of her Coombelands team’.

She added:”Ken had been with us for seven years and was a very special member of our family  business at Coombelands.
“He was an excellent employee and was very experienced with racehorses, having worked all his life with them as a former jockey, trainer and jockey coach around the world.
“He was always first into work in the morning, hugely enthusiastic and dedicated to his horses and a very valued  and integral member of our team.
She thanked her staff, the Kempton stable and racecourse staff, trainer Hugo Palmer’s travelling head lad and racecourse doctor, Dr Lucy Free, who were on the scene so quickly to help Ken.
She added:” Our thoughts are with his family at this very sad time.”  Friends of Mr Dooley described him as the ‘loveliest, kindest man’ and added that he had travelled the world while working in the racing industry.


Ballymore to sponsor Cheltenham race again

Ballymore is returning to sponsorship at The Festival by supporting the race it used to back after an eight-year gap.The Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle re-emerges after being staged as the Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle since 2010.
 The Grade One two mile, five furlong novices’ hurdle, the first race on the second day of The Festival at Cheltenham, was sponsored by Ballymore, together with the main races leading up to it, for three years between 2007 and 2009.
Then Neptune Investment Management took over and was the loyal backer for eight runnings up to and including this year’s renewal in March, which was won by the David Bass-ridden Willoughby Court, trained by Ben Pauling for owners Paul and Clare Rooney, who beat the favourite Neon Wolf by a head.

David Bass and Willoughby Court
Photo: John Simpson

The illustrious roll of honour for the race, founded in 1971, includes Faugheen (2014), The New One (2013), Hardy Eustace (2003), Istabraq (1997), Danoli (1994), The West Awake (1987), Ten Plus (1986), Sabin Du Loir (1983), Gaye Chance (1981) and Davy Lad (1975).
Ballymore is a property investment and development company with vast and varied experience, acknowledged as pioneers of some of Europe’s largest regeneration projects, 100% owned and managed by Sean Mulryan and his family, who founded the business in Ireland in 1982. Mulryan is an avid fan of Jump Racing.
As well as sponsoring the Cheltenham Festival contest, which will be run on Ladies’ Day, Wednesday, March 14 in 2018, Ballymore is again backing the series of races beforehand.
These contests are staged at Cheltenham on Friday, October 27, 2017; Cheltenham on Friday, November 17, 2017; Sandown Park on Friday, December 8, 2017; Cheltenham on Monday, January 1, 2018; Warwick on Saturday, January 13, 2018 and Cheltenham on Saturday, January 27, 2018.
Carey Weeks, Regional Head of Partnerships, Jockey Club Racecourses South West, said: “Ballymore has agreed to sponsor the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle at The Festival for the next three years and we welcome them back as one of our supporters.
“I would also like to thank Neptune Investment Management and its founder Robin Geffen for supporting the race between 2010 and 2017.”
Sean Mulryan commented: “The Cheltenham Festival is the pinnacle of the Jump Racing season each year and it is tremendous news that Ballymore is once again sponsoring there.
“The ambition has always been to return to the sponsorship if possible and this has now been achieved with the help of Cheltenham Racecourse.”
The 2018 Cheltenham Festival takes place at Cheltenham Racecourse from Tuesday, March 13 to Friday, March 16 and tickets are on sale through
Cheltenham Racecourse
Cheltenham Racecourse is situated in Prestbury on the northern outskirts of the historic spa town of Cheltenham.
The Home of Jump Racing, Cheltenham Racecourse is the venue for the world’s pre-eminent Jump meeting.
The Festival, which happens in March over four days every year, next takes place in 2018 from Tuesday, March 13, to Friday, March 16, 2018 inclusive and tickets are on sale.
Set against the beautiful backdrop of the Cotswolds, Cheltenham Racecourse is a stunning natural arena and offers the highest-quality action throughout the Jump season.

Top award for equine and rural PR

A Sussex-based PR firm, which specialises in rural and equestrian news, has been named one of the country’s best rural creative businesses at the Amazon-sponsored Rural Business Awards 2017.

Holdsworth PR, from Washington, was highly commended in the Rural Entrepreneur of the Year and Best Rural Creative or Media Based Business categories at a glittering ceremony.

This PR company has strong rural connections through Rachael Holdsworth’s family farming background and uses local suppliers and services wherever possible.

Rachael said, “Being highly commended at the Rural Business Awards will provide a huge boost to our small but dedicated team. We work with some fantastic rural businesses so to be included among the best in the country in two categories at this year’s awards is a great achievement.”

Rachael Holdsworth celebrates success Photo copyright Daydream Equine

“Programmes like the Rural Business Awards are crucial in ensuring the rural economy continues to grow and we have really enjoyed being involved in this year’s event.”

Doug Gurr, UK Manager for sponsors Amazon said: ““The stories of these successful rural businesses are incredibly inspiring and just go to show the immense talent that exists at the heart of our rural communities in the UK. I would like to extend a hearty congratulations to those who were successful in the awards, and to thank all those who entered and shared their successes, and wish them the very best for the future.”

This year’s glittering awards ceremony was held at Denbies Wine Estates in Surrey earlier this month.

Support Moorcroft’s Raceday at Plumpton

Please support the annual Plumpton Raceday supporting Moorcroft Racehorse Welfare Centre Charity again this year.

It takes place on Monday next week, October 23, when gates open at 12.30pm, and the first race is at 2.30pm.

This is an important day in the calendar for this outstanding charity, which carries out vital work of expertly retraining former racehorses so they can go on to enjoy a fulfilling life outside racing. after they leave racing.

Unfortunately, this superb centre does not receive the major support it deserves from national charity Retraining of Racehorses, which instead funds a network of competitions for ex-racehorses, once they have been retrained.

Moorcroft’s retrained racehorses Bien Faire and Inler parading at a previous Plumpton Raceday Photo: Jeannie Knight

Fundraising is therefore vital for Moorcroft, which is a centre of excellence, with a comprehensive retraining programme backed up with top veterinary care. It has a mission to re-school and rehabilitate former racehorses that have been gifted to it, so they can have a real chance at a second career.

The expertise of manager Mary Frances ensures that all ex-racehorses there are given every possible chance to go on to a happy and active lives outside racing in suitable new homes.
Not only that, but this impressive centre has a programme of demonstrations and lectures to share expertise with ordinary horse owners.  For more information see Moorcroft’s website:

Kicking off proceedings on the raceday is the infamous Shetland Pony race followed by seven horse races.

Shetland pony racing on Moorcroft Day at Plumpton Photo: Jeannie Knight

Plumpton Racecourse is delighted to be supporting The Moorcroft Charity again this year. A Silent Auction will be available to all in the Plumpton Marquee Reception. A tack sale selling bridles, bandages and rugs as well as Christmas cards and stationary is available in the small marquee by the weighing room.

Chairman of Moorcroft trustees, Tim Fox presenting Vera Akehurst, pony race organiser with a bouquet at a previous raceday
Photo: Jeannie Knight

Admission tickets are on sale now. Prices start from £15 for Grandstand and Paddock tickets when booked in advance. Bring youngsters in half term, they go racing free and will receive a free kids pack and young racegoers badge.

Watch the Shetland Pony Race before the full racing programme begins, and meet Cuddles, the infamous Shetland who shot to fame on social media for giving the racehorses a run for their money on the gallops. Cuddles will be next to The Winning Connections Room for photos and of course, cuddles!

For more information and tickets

Pony Club celebrates HOYS double

The Oakley Hunt West Pony Club has won the Prince Philip Cup after dominating the competition over five nail-biting days at the Horse of the Year Show (HOYS).
The team, consisting of Charlie Yates (14), Charlotte Sabatier (14), Jaimsye Bailey
(14), Sophie Grimshaw (14), Jaime Medcalf (14) and reserve Luke Grimshaw (12) won
every session they took part in to clinch victory with 124 points; a massive 24 points
ahead of joint runners-up West Hants and Eglinton Hunt.

Oakley Pony Club Action at Horse of the Year Show
Photo: HOYS

Three other teams, including Romney Marsh who finished fourth, Banwen and District
and first timers North Herefordshire also qualified to compete at HOYS after battling
it out at the Area competitions.
The final at HOYS captivated the crowds, with the teams giving it
their all to thrill spectators with some very close finishes. Classic games such as the
Bending Race race tested the Members’ control and athleticism, but the loudest
cheers were for the novelty games which included the 3D Worms game which saw a
team member dressed as a worm!
The Pony Club Mounted Games is a competition requiring courage, determination
and all round riding ability. The concept of the competition was first introduced by
HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, who suggested that Cavalry competitions could
be adapted for young riders on ponies in an entertaining and visually engaging
format. The first competitions were held in 1957 and the winner received the
coveted Prince Philip Challenge Trophy.