Another good winner for Downs Stables

Downs Racing Stables at Findon are continuing to have a fine season. Trainer Nick Gifford saddled up another impressive winner at Lingfield Park at the weekend.

Didtheyleaveuoutto, a four-year-old chestnut gelding by Presenting, owned by John P McManus made his debut in a competitive National Hunt Flat Race at Lingfield Park.

Under a good ride from Leighton Aspell, who rode a double at the meeting, this young horse won easily by ten lengths in the eight-runner field.

Didtheyleaveuoutto in the Winner’s spot with Andrew Tony Veale Photo: Downs Stables

He will come on for this comfortable introduction to racing and seems to be a progressive sort and one to watch out for in the future.

Held up in last place, his rider ensured he made smooth progress on the outer more than three furlongs from home.  He tracked the then leader, Ceara Be trained by Alex Hales and ridden by Wayne Hutchinson, taking the lead from him more than a furlong from home.

A good turn of foot ensured he went clear of Ceara Be and Didtheyleaveyououtto and he won in assured style.

It was an impressive winning debut for this Findon runner and he should go on to even better things over obstacles.

His rider enjoyed a good double at the meeting, following up with a victory in the Intermediate Handicap  Chase over two miles seven furlongs on board Full Irish. Leighton was on board  4-1 shot, trained by Emma Lavelle,  which won by a comfortable seven lengths from Two Smokin Barrels trained by Michael Scudamore.

There is racing again at Lingfield Park on Wedneday December 20, Saturday December 23 and Thursday December 28. For full details contact

Czech superstar in action today

Czech horse Subway Dancer, trained by Zdeno Koplik is in the line-up         Photo:



A high-class line-up includes Subway Dancer, trained in the Czech Republic by Zdeno Koplik and ridden by Christophe Soumillon, who stormed to victory in the 2016 G3 Prix Andre Baboin and was beaten a short-neck in the G2 Prix Dollar at Chantilly on September 30.

Royal Julius (Jerome Reynier/Clement Lecoeuvre) was edged out on his latest outing in the G3 Premio Ribot at Capannelle, Italy, while Silver Look (Satoshi Kobayashi/Fabrice Veron), a dual G2 winner in Argentina, makes her French debut for new connections.

Qatar Racing, who took the 2016 renewal of the Prix Lyphard with Mr Owen, aim for a repeat victory with this year’s G1 Deutsches Derby fifth Promise Of Peace (Andreas Wohler/Thierry Thulliez).

Four British-trained runners include recent Lingfield Park handicap fourth Utmost (John Gosden/Tony Piccone), classy Sinfonietta (David Menuisier/Franck Blondel) and four-time All-Weather winner Abareeq (Mark Johnston/Ioritz Mendizabal).

Prost, trained in Newmarket by Ed Vaughan, is unbeaten in two All-Weather appearances, having captured a Polytrack maiden at Deauville at the end of last year and stayed on well for a length victory in a mile handicap on Tapeta at Newcastle on October 10. Gregory Benoist partners the three-year-old son of Tin Horse.

Vaughan commented: “Prost was back on a surface that he liked at Newcastle. I had him ready for the Britannia Handicap at Royal Ascot but he missed the cut and hadn’t been working well through the summer.

“He started to really come into himself before Newcastle, so we were expecting a big run. We are going back to France because he is eligible for French premiums, even though he is German-bred, and we will see if he is a horse that we can travel with over the winter.

“I don’t think the step up to nine and a half furlongs will be a problem, especially as they tend to go steady early on in France. He wasn’t stopping at Newcastle, when he hit a little flat spot and then picked up again.

“I will keep him going over the winter and Good Friday could be among the plans. We might go pot hunting abroad at some point as he is as effective on turf once he gets a nice, flat track and good or faster ground.”

Also today, Listed Betway Churchill Stakes victor Master The Worldsteps up to a mile and a half for the £40,000 Listed 32Red Wild Flower Stakes (6.40pm) at Kempton Park.

The 10 runners also include Red Verdon (Ed Dunlop/PJ McDonald) and multiple Group race winner Western Hymn (John Gosden/Robert Havlin), who were second and fifth respectively behind Titi Makfi over the course and distance in the Listed 32Red Floodlit Stakes on November 6.

Mountain Bell (Ralph Beckett/Martin Harley), one of two runners for Qatar Racing, comes into the race on the back of one start this year when an encouraging fourth in the G3 St Simon Stakes at Newbury on October 28.

Her Majesty The Queen is represented by promising filly Daphne (William Haggas/Jim Crowley), who made her mark at Pattern level last time out with victory in the 32Red EBF Stallions River Eden Fillies’ Stakes at Lingfield Park on November 2.


£1,000 prize for top stable person

We all know that ‘Britain’s Got Talent’, but now it’s the turn of the racing industry to prove that those working in stable yards up and down the country have a diverse range of skills.

Goodwood Racecourse is launching a digital competition to reward racing staff, who are some of the hardest working people in the sport.  A prize of £1,000 will be awarded to an individual that works in a racing stable, who produces the most entertaining video showcasing their life – and talents – in the industry.

Qtar Goodwood Festival
Photo: Drew Gibson

Racing staff work outdoors in all weathers, doing unsocial hours with early starts, long days and regular weekend work, as well as always having the risk of working with highly-strung thoroughbred racehorses.  

The backbone of the sport, racing would not function without the dedication and love of these professional horsemen and women, who focus their lives on caring for the equine athletes that we see and enjoy on the racecourse.

As a thank you for their efforts, Goodwood will show, first-hand, what these individuals undertake on a daily basis. 

The videos submitted will be shown on Goodwood Racecourse’s social channels throughout December, with a shortlist of four being selected before a public vote in the New Year. 

The judges are looking for videos which are humorous, creative and insightful, best telling the story of what racing staff get up to in their daily working lives.

Entries to the #RacingLife competition can be sent via email to or via WhatsApp to 07971 598287 between December 1 and 31.

Full terms and conditions can be found at

Also tickets for Goodwood’s 2018 fixtures are now on sale, including early-bird prices for the flagship meeting, the Qatar Goodwood Festival, which takes place from July 31 to August 4 2018. More information from


Second Thought is all-weather star

Trained by William Haggas for Liam Sheridan, he  is a real All-Weather star and his recent thrilling victory in the £40,000 mile Listed British Stallion Studs EBF Hyde Stakes on Polytrack at Kempton Park means he is unbeaten from five starts on an artificial surface.

The Kodiac colt, successful over six furlongs in the £150,000 32Red Three-Year-Old All-Weather Championships Final at Lingfield Park on Good Friday 2017, was tackling a mile for the first time, which was reflected in his starting price of 5/1.

Held up seventh of the 12 runners by James Doyle, Second Thought started to make progress with two furlongs to run on the inside and came to challenge the leaders approaching the distance.

He knuckled down well to get the better of Keystroke (Jeremy Noseda/Adam Kirby, 10/1), another who came from off the pace, by a half-length, with a neck back to the third Mr Owen (David Simcock/Oisin Murphy, 16/1), in 1m 37.71s.

The 5/2 favourite Accidental Agent (Eve Johnson Houghton/Charles Bishop), slightly slow into stride, could never make an impression, finishing eighth.

Second Thought is qualified for All-Weather Finals Day again as this was the first of four Fast-Track Qualifiers for the £150,000 Sun Bets All-Weather Mile on Polytrack at Lingfield Park on Good Friday, March 30, 2018.

Haggas commented: “I am very pleased with Second Thought. He did it well and is obviously quite a good horse on the All-Weather – the nice, even surface suits him.

“We fancied trying a mile with him, even though he is not bred for it. He will go for the mile final on Good Friday and, as he had a long All-Weather season and then ran on turf this year, we will probably give him a quiet time now.

“He is likely to have one run before the final – the Lady Wulfruna Stakes (Listed, 7f, March 10) at Wolverhampton is just one of the options.”

The Newmarket trainer enjoyed a 21.5/1 double at Kempton Park today, having earlier sent out 11/4 chance Tanseeq, with Jim Crowley up, to win the mile 100% Profit Boost At Novice Median Auction Stakes for two-year-olds.

Bloodstock agent Jill Lamb, who buys all of owner Liam Sheridan’s horses, purchased Second Thought for 70,000 guineas as a yearling.

Soldier In Action (Mark Johnston/Jim Crowley, 6/1) made all to defy top-weight of 10st 1lb in the nine-runner £19,000 32Red Handicap over two miles.

Speed limit reduction call for horse areas

A new report by The British Horse Society recommends reducing the national speed limit on roads where there is frequent equestrian activity.

The report, ‘Conspicuity of horses and riders on the road’ conducted by Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) for the BHS, was commissioned due to a lack of evidence-based research currently available about what horse riders should do to protect themselves.

Horse safety on the roads being emphasised

The BHS reports that in the last year there has been a 29 per cent increase in accidents involving horses on Britain’s road. Since the BHS launched its horse accidents website more than 2,510 incidents have been reported to them; 222 horses have died and 38 riders have lost their lives.

In the last year:

•    81% of incidents occurred due to the driver not allowing enough room between the vehicle and the horse
•    One in five incidents resulted in the car colliding with the horse
•    Almost 40% of riders were subjected to road rage

The charity behind the successful ‘Dead or Dead Slow’ campaign, which educates drivers on how to pass horses safely on roads, conducted the research to help lobby Government and to advise riders on the best way to be seen when riding out.

The report also recommends that riders should wear LED lights, ideally in a pattern that highlights the body of the horse and rider, along with bright and reflective clothing, and that high visibility should always be worn.

Alan Hiscox, Director of Safety at the BHS: “We want to reduce the number of incidents involving riders and horses on the road. Roads are getting busier, and we have seen an increase in incidents in the last year, something has to be done. This report recommends reducing the national speed limit on rural roads, where there is frequent equestrian activity; it could save the lives of both the horse and rider, and other vulnerable road users.”

Brendon’s Children In Need success

A fantastic weekend was had by all at Brendon Stud in Pyecombe at their annual Children In Need show, which is a major annual event on the centre’s calendar. The two-day fundraiser included fun pony classes, arena eventing and showjumping.

More than 200 riders attended the show wearing superb costumes, including Pudsey, Batman, Superman and a whole host of other superheroes.

Belle and Harry Plunkett enjoying the day at Brendon Photo:Spidge Photography

Pudsey popped in on Sunday to help present the rosettes in one of the lead rein classes proving a big hit with the younger generation. From donations received from entries, auctions, lucky dips, cakes and the table top sale this top class equestrian centre raised a whopping total of more than £2,500 for Children In Need.

Classes were extremely well supported both days with lots of winners including Sunday Champion of the day Madeline Rainer on her wonderful ‘Octopus’ Bailey.

Madeline Rainier with Bailey
Photo: Spidge Photography

MJ the super terrier kept his dog agility title for another year running with Ruby Light, who also won fancy dress on Saturday on her pony Pepper as Superwoman.

On Saturday, the adults turned out in fancy dress to support the cause too with spots and costumes galore in every class including two of our loyal supporters Team Nuth – Ruth Corbett and Nikki Swannack who were adorned in spots.

Brendon says a big thank you to everyone that supported this weekend (more than £10,000 raised since we started this event 7 years ago) and hope to  see you all again next year.

This was another truly outstanding success achieved  by everyone at Brendon, not only raising even more money for Children In Need, but hosting a superb fun event for those taking part. Well done to all those concerned.

Doris and Teddy set for Olympia

With less than a month to go until Olympia, the London International Horse Show, the event’s official charity, Hannah’s Willberry Wonder Pony, sent their two favourite live mascots, miniature ponies Doris and Teddy, to London for the first time ever to help the Mounted Branch of Metropolitan Police (MPS) on patrol.

Stepping on to the Mall, one of London’s most iconic locations, Doris and Teddy lined up with Police horses 10 times their height, Merlin and Quixote, who will be taking part at Olympia as part of the MPS Police Activity Ride. Despite the noticeable size difference, the tiny Shetlands just about kept up as the steady Police horses took them under their wing as they walked side-by-side towards Buckingham Palace.

Metropolitan Police (MPS) Horses, Merlin and Quixote, were joined on patrol in central London by some special helpers, Doris and Teddy, ahead of their appearances at Olympia

 Teddy the Shetlands’ owner, Alice Goring, also the charity Scientific Advisor, spoke of the occasion “This is the first time Teddy and Doris have been to central London, so it is great they could familiarise themselves before Olympia Horse Show starts in December. Doris was Hannah’s own Shetland and meant the world to her.

“I am not sure they are quite ready to join the Police Force yet, they only have little legs, so it would take them a long time to get around all the streets of London! But we are so grateful to Inspector Simon Rooke for letting them be part of his incredible team for a morning and helping to raise awareness for Hannah’s legacy.”

Inspector Rooke commented, “We were really pleased to welcome Doris and Teddy to the team this morning. They might not be the usual type of horse we have on patrol, but they certainly added something different! The Metropolitan Police Activity Ride are extremely proud to be performing in front of the wonderful crowds at Olympia this year.

“The show gives us an opportunity to demonstrate the extraordinary bravery of our horses and the unique bond of trust they have with our officers. The horses that will be performing at Olympia, including Merlin and Quixote, are all operational and patrol the streets of London daily.”


Trainer George Baker’s new base at Robins Farm

Trainer George  Baker is looking forward to sending out winners from his impressive new premises at Robins Farm Racing Stables near the Sussex/Surrey border at Chiddingfold.

He opened the gates to the public for an Open Day last week when visitors were able to see the excellent facilities and also had a chance to meet his team and some of the horses.

George Baker and his wife Candida outside Robins Farm Racing Stables       Photo George Baker Racing

George has taken over the racing stables where Olly Stevens trained until he quit two years ago.  The premises were previously owned by Sheikh Fahad Al Thani, for whom Olly trained and sent out Extortionist to win at Royal Ascot during his first season at the premises in 2013.

“Not only are the premises easily accessed from London, but they are within easy reach of the French racing, being so close to the coast, should owners wish to have runners there too,” said George.

Having rented at two previous premises, George and Candida have welcomed the opportunity to invest into Robins Farm Racing Stables this time.

The facilities at Robins Farm are outstanding, with racehorses stabled in three barns with spacious and warm boxes.  The barns are all light and airy with windows and views out on to the yard and plenty of ventilation. Rubber matting under the bedding gives extra warmth in winter and there are automated water systems throughout.

Impressive gallops at Robins Farm

Gallops provide plenty of variety. Two all-weather gallops are supplemented by a round three-furlong gallop for a warm-up. This leads to a useful six furlong uphill stretch, For additional variety there is a seven-furlong gallop through a valley, with a testing climb at the end.

In addition to the gallops, Robins Farm Racing Stables has always had outstanding turnout facilities, with 14 individual paddocks.

George said:” We believe in turning our horses out as much as possible and these ‘turn out’ paddocks will be filled with our horses whenever the weather allows. This is a massive opportunity for us.

 “We’ve been lucky enough to train in two of the most reputable facilities with Whitsbury and Manton, but the chance to own our own yard was too good to miss.”

Dawn Approach filly on show
Photo: Jeannie Knight

For prospective owners, eight impressive yearlings for sale were paraded in front of visitors at the Open Day, with three ready to race also on view- Crazy Horse, Dazibao and one by Sunday Break.

Impressive colt by Sunday Break out of Miss Alabama on show at the open day
Photo: Jeannie Knight

In addition , other horses could be seen in their boxes within the barns. These included grey gelding Fifty Shades of Grey, son of sire Verglas, and he was bought at Tattersalls Breeze  Up sales for £27,300.

He was the first of a trio of greys bought and trained by George Baker, named after the trilogy by author Erica James.

Fifty Shades of Grey, happy and alert, in his light and airy indoor stable
Photo: Jeannie Knight

Key members of the team are assistant trainers Patrick and Valerie Murphy, who spent many years as work riders in Dubai, but have been valued members of the team for a number of years.

Head girl is Gemma Spanswick, who joined them when they were training at Manton, while Andrew Cox is finance manager at Robins Farm. Experienced racing secretary, Julia Clutterbuck, remains at Robins Farm, having worked there previously with Olly and Hetta Stevens.
George said: ” Julia has been hugely instrumental in ensuring our early months here have passed smoothly, and her organisational skills are superb.”
Robins Farm currently has 55 boxes, but George is already planning an expansion, and said: “There’s planning permission for plenty more so that will be one of the first things we do.”
For more information about ownership and training contact 01428 682059

Plumpton treble for Mulholland and Fehily

Trainer Neil Mullholland and jockey Noel Fehily continued their outstanding and seemingly unstoppable form on slow ground at Plumpton yesterday with a treble.  The unusually slow conditions undoubtedly contributed to some unusual results.

Winning jockey Noel Fehily

Their winning sequence was initiated by 5-6 favouriteTikkanbar in the opening Novices’ Hurdle race over two-and-a-half miles, winning by 19 lengths. Landin, trained by Seamus Mullins had to settle for runner-up spot with Book of Gold close behind in third.

The Mullholland/Fehily  combination’s second victory of the day was with 4-9 favourite Dalaman in the two mile one furlong handicap hurdle, this time by 24 lengths from another Seamus Mullins runner, Kastani Beach, sent off at 5-1. Laura Mongan’s Keppel Isle at 20-1 was third.

Trainer Neil Mulholland

The last leg of the treble came when Master Burbridge (4-1) beat Gary Moore’s  Mr  Muddle ridden by Jamie Moore by just over four lengths in the two miles three furlongs handicap chase. Neil King’s Little Windmill with Trevor Whelan up came home a further 33 lengths back in third place.

There was success for the Moore family in the two  mile three furlong Novices’ Chase when 4-9 favourite Benatar justified his short price to win  by nine lengths in the two mile three furlong novices’ chase, where just three runners went to the post.

Keeper Hill took second place for trainer Neil King with Trevor Whelan on board. The only other runner in the race, Gary Moore’s 40-1 shot  Brittanio Bella , was out of the race at the first obstacle  when unseating rider Andrew Glassonbury.

One winner which  really  impressed was the Warren Greatrex-trained 12-1 shot Sandhurst Lad in the Plumpton twinned with Pompadour handicap hurdle for amateur riders.  Given a fine ride by amateur Adam Elias, he won by a short head from Rothman, trained by Chris Gordon and ridden by Miss G Andrews.

LawneyHill continued her good success rate

Oxfordshire trainer Lawney Hill rarely goes away from Plumpton empty handed and this meeting was no exception. Her ten-year-old mare, Miss Mayfair, ridden by Aidan Coleman, was prominent throughout in the three mile one furlong handicap hurdle over three miles one furlong, taking the lead three from home before going clear to win easily fom Linda Jewell’s Mab Dab.

Plumpton’s next meeting is on Monday December 4 when gates open at 11am and the first race is 12.40pm


Goodwood Racecourse wins top award

Goodwood Racecourse was delighted to receive the Digital and Social Media Excellence Award at the Racecourse Association (RCA) Showcase at Newbury on 16 November – a national event that celebrates the best in class within the racing industry.

Facing strong competition from Sandown Park, Chepstow, Chelmsford City and Arena Racing, Goodwood was given the accolade by the judges for its revolutionary racecourse content, which focused on informative videos that helped provide a fitting narrative to the season and had over 2.8 million views.

L-R Fran Everist, Joe Daborn and Lewis Donnovan of Goodwood receiving the award

As well as taking one award, Goodwood was also given a Special Commendation in the Food and Beverage category – alongside Ascot – for the ‘Drunken Botanist’ experience in the Sussex Roof Garden, which opened at the start of the 2017 season.

With amazing views across the Sussex Downs and cheese and charcuterie boards to enjoy, the Sussex Roof Garden allows guests to become a ‘mixologist’ and create their own botanical cocktails from the bar-top gin garden.

In addition, Goodwood had already been named as the Special Merit Award winner at the RCA Racecourse Groundstaff Awards, run in conjunction with the Showcase, for the team’s remarkable effort in maintaining a raceable surface during extremes of weather at the Qatar Goodwood Festival.

After accepting the Digital and Social Media Excellence Award, Frances Everist, Head of Sports Marketing, said; “We wanted to put the customer at the heart of what we do and create a real community online. We have some amazing stories to tell and so we decided to put the spotlight on the jockeys, owners, trainers and the huge number of people who create a raceday. I have to give credit to the team who has worked so hard over the last six months to achieve this success.”


 Tickets for Goodwood’s 2018 fixtures are now on sale, including early-bird prices for the flagship meeting, the Qatar Goodwood Festival, which takes place from 31 July to 4 August 2018. Please visit for further information.

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