Festive jump racing at Plumpton

Plumpton Racecourse has a Christmas Raceday on Monday- December 17- with more than £50,000 of prize money on offer, which is bound to attract competitive jump racing.

Don’t miss this meeting when gates open at 10.30am and the first race is at 12.25pm with the last at 3.35pm. There will be live music, festive spirit and the chance to enjoy competitive jump racing


Course favourite, and locally trained by Zoe Davison, Frank N Fair won twice in December last year at Plumpton and her runners are always respected.

The meeting this year will have live music, a festive spirit and competitive racing, while recent rain will have eased the ground giving the right conditions for a top class meeting.

The Marquee restaurant is the perfect place to enjoy a festive spirit and see racing over the final obstacle with runners battling it out up the home straight. It costs just £65 per person to enjoy an excellent three course set meal, racecard, table for the day, betting facilities, table service and great day out at the races.

Or you could park in the centre of the course and enjoy close up of racing over the hurdles and fences.   In addition Silly Moo Cider, a local partner of Plumpton, will be serving mulled cider and mince pies to the first 300 racegoers through the North Entrance.

Tickets on the day cost £17 for the Grandstand and Paddock and competitive racing with a good view round the course can be enjoyed.







Report re Cheltenham Festival fatalities

The BHA has released the findings of its review into the fatalities at this year’s Cheltenham Festival, with changes aimed at improving welfare including a reduction to the maximum field sizes in two-mile chases and the removal of weight-claiming allowances in the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle.

The report contains a total of 17 recommendations for all Cheltenham fixtures and across jump racing as a whole following an investigation into the death of six horses at the festival in March.

BHA chief executive Nick Rust said: “British racing must work together to reduce the risk of injuries occurring at the festival and indeed jump racing as a whole. The recommendations of this review are designed to achieve this.

“I commend this review for the rigour and thoroughness of its approach. I also support the fact that its recommendations are intended to further raise the bar when it comes to welfare, not only at Cheltenham but across all of jump racing.

Nick Rust

Nick Rust said in a statement : “I am today calling on everyone in the sport to help us achieve even higher goals for welfare”

He continued: “The Cheltenham review helps demonstrate our sport’s commitment towards higher goals, but it is far from the end of our ambitions on this front.

“A cross-industry welfare board is currently being formed, with the intention of delivering a new strategy for the sport. I hope that everyone involved in British racing will join us in working to further enhance our good track record, and ensuring the sport remains relevant, understood, accepted and embraced by the British public.”

Among  changes is lowering of the safety factor to 20 (from 24) in two-mile chases, with the Grand Annual, in which three horses suffered fatal injuries last season, the race most likely to be affected by the change.

The race conditions of the Martin Pipe will be altered to remove all rider weight-claiming allowances in an attempt to encourage connections to secure the services of the most experienced jockeys.

In another development, pre-race veterinary checks will be increased to include all runners at the festival.

Following the analysis of the Cheltenham Festivals staged between 2007 and 2018, the report claims the evidence found that “no single factor was definitively responsible for the equine fatalities at the 2018 festival” and “non-track factors – such as veterinary, participant, and race condition factors – could potentially be of equal, or potentially greater, significance than track-related factors.”

The publishing of the report comes two months after a debate was held in parliament as a consequence of animal rights organisation Animal Aid gathering enough signatures on a petition calling for the BHA to be stripped of its role as the body with responsibility for equine welfare.

Nick Rust said : “I am today calling on everyone in the sport to help us achieve even higher

According to the report, an action plan for the implementation of the recommendations will be developed by February 2019.

The six fatalities during the 2018 Cheltenham Festival*

North Hill Harvey (fell, Grand Annual)
Some Plan (fell, Grand Annual)
Dresden (fell, Grand Annual)
Sandsend (broke down on flat, County Hurdle)
Mossback (fell, National Hunt Chase)
Report To Base (fell, novice handicap chase)

*a seventh horse was euthanised shortly after the festival after complications from surgery  

Victoria is BEF’s new performance director

The British Equestrian Federation (BEF) is pleased to announce that Victoria Underwood has been appointed as the new Performance Director for the UK Sport National Lottery-funded equestrian World Class Programme.

Victoria re-joins the BEF after working as the Head of World Class Development between 2001 and 2009. Most recently she has operated as the Director of Athlete Performance Support for High Performance Sport New Zealand which leads the country’s high performance sports system, working in partnership with its national sporting organisations.

Victoria Underwood

She said; “I am delighted to accept this prominent position to orchestrate the equestrian high performance teams through to the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo 2020, and beyond to Paris 2024 and Los Angeles 2028. The great success that Team GBR has had to date needs to be sustained and built upon to ensure that UK Sport continue their incredible support for our sport through future cycles.”

Chief Executive of the BEF, Nick Fellows said: “We are thrilled to welcome Vikki back to the BEF. Having worked in high performance sport for 18 years with a number of sports, including equestrianism, Vikki has a wealth of knowledge and a strong strategic mind-set which will aid the successful development and delivery of a performance-focused World Class Programme.

“Her significant leadership experience and success in previous roles will make her a valuable addition to a high quality performance team as we continue on our journey to Tokyo and beyond.”

From 2009 to 2015 Victoria led the Performance Operations team at the English Institute for Sport for the East Midlands, delivering support to athletes’ from over 40 sports. She then joined Loughborough University where she headed up their Sport Science and Medicine for Performance Sport team, leading a complete reform of their performance services and establishing practitioner development pathways linked with National Governing Bodies for sport.

She also played important roles with the British Olympic Association and the London organising committee for the Olympic Games, in and around London 2012.

As Performance Director, Vikki will lead and direct the BEF’s vision to nurture a winning environment and ensure that Great Britain maintains the most advanced performance programme in the world. Working in partnership with British Dressage, British Eventing and British Showjumping, she will oversee the management of athletes and horses, while supporting their owners, and develop emerging talent through identifiable pathways to ensure a rich pipeline for the future.

She will take up her post on 24 2019 and will be working with a team of world-leading coaches, practitioners and support staff who will continue their work towards making Great Britain the leading equestrian nation on and off the field of play.

Dubai Beach Polo Cup

The Tonino Lamborghini Residences Dubai Beach Polo Cup Dubai 2018, presented by Oriental Pearls, started on Wednesday evening with the glamorous Player’s Presentation at the Desert Palm Polo Club.

Then, on Thursday December 13 and Friday 14 December, the following two action packed polo days with thrilling matches guarantee excitement at the stunning purpose built polo arena at the Skydive Dubai.

The brothers Tariq and Rashid Albwardy from the Desert Palm Polo Club return as the 2017 title defenders. This year, they will compete in different teams for the coveted trophy. Three consecutive years, Tariq Albwardy and his team made it to the very top of the podium. Next weekend, he will play for Team Hills Advertising L.L.C alongside Sam Instone from the UK, who is a very well known player in Dubai and the Argentinean Ramiro Cordero, new local instructor and professional 5-goaler at the Desert Palm Polo Club.

Dubai Beach Polo ground

The captain of Team Tonino Lamborghini Residences Dubai, Rashid Albwardy, will of course play to win as well and to relegate his brother Tariq to second place. Together with Saoud Khoory (UAE), who starts in the Dubai Beach Polo Cup for the fourth time and Maxi Malacalza from Argentina, this young team has agreed to take on the big task to emerge victorious.

Also a well known face at the Beach Polo Cup in Dubai is the UK based polo expert, player and commentator Jan-Erik Franck. He is already very much looking forward to the unique polo setting at the Dubai Marina.

He said; “Last year, tournament directors Gaby and Sam Katiela have once again raised the bar making the Beach Polo Cup Dubai 2017 an exceptional and amazing experience. The atmosphere in the stands and the action on the field was electrifying and enjoyed by everyone. We are excited to get the 2018 matches started.“

This year, the programme of the 2018 polo spectacle will be extended by a holiday market which offers a colourful choice of gifts, handcrafts and souvenirs.

Gaby Katiela said:”Tension is rising and we cannot wait to let the first bell start the polo action on Thursday evening under the arena’s floodlight. Many thanks to all our sponsors, partners and friends for supporting this event which we think is going to be a milestone in Dubai’s polo performance.“

The matches will be livestreamed on the Website www.beachpolocup.com and on www.poloplus10.com


Competitive racing at Fontwell Park

FONTWELL Park racecourse attracted a good crowd yesterday for its Festive Raceday yesterday in good weather, with some competitive racing in a seasonal atmosphere. Victories were evenly distributed with no doubles or trebles for jockeys or trainers on the day.

The opening handicap hurdle over two miles five furlongs saw a good winning ride for local jockey Leighton Aspell on board brown mare No No Juliet, trained by Oliver Sherwood. This horse had the benefit of previous experience at the track, having finished in fourth place there in a novice handicap hurdle three weeks earlier.

No No Juliet with Leighton Aspell and connections
Photo: Jeannie Knight

Owned by the Don Sebastio Partnership, her latest run was a ten length victory over 40-1 shot Realt Or, trained by Dominic Ffrench- Davis.

The Novice Handicap Chase saw a victory for trainer Charlie Mann, when The Ogle Gogle Man impressed, sent off at evens favourite, and was ridden to a win of less than two lengths over 4-1 shot Findusatgorcombe, trained by Jimmy Frost and ridden by Bryony Frost in second.

The Oogle Google Man trained by Charlie Mann and ridden by Noel Fehily Photo: Jeannie Knight

In third was  Robin Deuz Poise, a six-year old trained by Paul Webber and ridden  by Paddy Brennan, which appears to perform much better on less soft ground.

Eleven runners contested the Axio Juvenile Hurdle, with nine obstacles. It proved to be a tussle in the closing stages with winner Fresno Emery at 6-4, trained by Robert Walford and ridden by James Best,  crossing the finishing line half a length clear of Tazka, ridden by Jamie Moore and trained by his father Gary.

Fontwell winner Scoop The Plot ridden by Richard Johnson Photo: Jeannie Knight

Flashdanza at 100-1, ridden by Andrew Glassonbury  and trained by Richard Rowe, was an extremely creditable third in the 11 runner race having previously run on the Flat twice in summer.

Richard Johnson and Philip Hobbs teamed up with 6-5 favourite Scoop The Pot to take the three miles four furlongs chase from trainer Charlie Mann’s Like The Sound, ridden by Noel Fehily by 24 lengths.

The successful combination of trainer Alan King and jockey Wayne Hutchinson continued when they  the came first in the Novice Hurdle with Midnight Referendum.

The remaining two races- a two mile five furlong handicap chase and a handicap hurdle- went to Mortens Learn (ridden  by Philip Donovan and trained by Michael Hawker, and Mazalto at 10-1, ridden by Sedan Houlihan and trained by Pat Phelan respectively.

Don’t miss this track’s Boxing Day fixture, where Kempton Park’s King George VI Chase is played on the big screen for everyone to see.

Tickets start from £19 when booked in advanced. The Premier admission tickets are likely to sell out so please book early to avoid disappointment.

WHW’s adopt a horse scheme

World Horse Welfare has a scheme which enables supporters to help equines in its care by adopting one of them.

The Adopt a Horse scheme gives you the opportunity to help a horse or pony at one of its four UK Rescue and Rehoming Centres.

Support World Horse Welfare’s Adopt a horse or pony scheme.

Each horse has its own story and the Adopt a Horse scheme gives you the opportunity to closely follow the progress back to health and a new life. Simply select the horse you would like to adopt and you will receive:

  • A pack about your chosen horse that includes: a film on DVD; a board-backed colour photo; pin badge; set of notecards; and recent updates written by the grooms and centre manager
  • Four exclusive updates each year that give a unique insight into your adopted horse’s progress, with notes and photographs from the team at the farm.
  • The chance to visit your adopted horse during centre open days.

Adopting a horse costs just £5.00 a month and is great way to help give a horse the second chance in life it deserves.

For more details about the scheme contact www.worldhorsewelfare.org/adopt

Horse safety on our roads

The British Horse Society (BHS) and UK Road Offender Education (UKROEd) are delighted to reveal that equines and equestrians will now be identified as vulnerable road users in National Driver Offender Retraining Schemes (NDORS).

The announcement follows a yearlong collaborative effort between the two groups to ensure the safety needs of equestrians are highlighted within the retraining courses and drivers are educated on how to pass horses responsibly on the road.

Alan Hiscox, Director of Safety for The British Horse Society said: “The British Horse Society has been working with NDORS for some time now and as a direct result of these conversations, NDORS will be including horse riders as vulnerable road users within all of their courses, including the Speed Awareness Course.

Horse safety in traffic
Photo: Sussex Safer Roads

“This is a really positive step forward for the safety of horses on the road and another example of how the BHS is well placed and connected to major stakeholders in the road safety community. This inclusion not only directs our safety messaging to a key audience but will instill confidence in many equestrians across the country who often fear they are the forgotten vulnerable road user”.

Ruth Purdie, Chief Operating Office for UKROEd said: “UKROEd who are the providers of the NDORS courses can confirm that every course mentions the requirement for safety when passing or considering vulnerable road users groups.

“A key priority in the group is “horses and horse riders” and I can confirm that everyone attending a course will be reminded of their obligations under the Highway Code and the specific laws covering their actions in relation to this vulnerable group of riders and animals.”

NDORS offer a range of courses which aim to cover most low level moving traffic offences. The scheme is operated across the country on behalf of the police service who outline the type of offender and the offence(s).

The inclusion of equines and equestrians as vulnerable road users within the courses provide a platform to promote the BHS’s ‘Dead Slow’ road safety campaign messages. The charity launched the campaign in 2016 to educate drivers on how to safely approach horses and riders using the roads.

The four Dead Slow behaviour change messages for drivers are: if I see a horse on the road, then I will…

1. Slow down to a maximum of 15mph

2. Be patient; I won’t sound my horn or rev my engine

3. Pass wide and slow (at least a car’s width)

4. Drive slowly away

More top awards for Enable

EVEN more accolades came the way of outstanding horse  Enable, bred by her owner Khalid Abdulla, at the Racehorse Owners Association awards in London this week, sponsored by Zeus Capital.

Enable and Frankie Dettori
Photo courtesy of Reuters

The ceremony recognised those voted by the 8,000-strong membership of the ROA, which has been promoting the interests of owners in Britain since 1945 and is a shareholder of the BHA.

Khalid Abdullah was named as Owner of the Year, while his amazing filly Enable, who won the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe for the second time and followed up with a history-making Breeders’ Cup Turf victory, was Horse of the Year. She also won the Middle Distance and Filly/Mare awards.

Her John Gosden-trained stablemates Roaring Lion (Miler), Stradivarius (Stayer) and Too Darn Hot (Juvenile) were others acknowledged at this prestigious event.

Full awards were:

Outstanding Novice Hurdler Kalashnikov; Outstanding Hurdler Buveur D’Air;

Outstanding Novice Chaser Footpad; Outstanding Chaser Altior;

Outstanding National Hunt Mare Apple’s Jade; Outstanding All-Weather Horse Captain Lars; Outstanding Juvenile Too Darn Hot; Outstanding Filly/Mare Enable; Outstanding Sprinter Mabs Cross; Outstanding Middle Distance Enable; Outstanding Stayer Stradivarius; Outstanding Miler Roaring Lion

National Special Achievement Award Cue Card; Flat Special Achievement Award Roy Rocket

Wetherby Racecourse won ROA Gold Standard for most improved small racecourse

ROA Gold Standard Large Racecourse of the Year Chester; ROA Gold Standard Small Racecourse of the Year Bangor; ROA Gold Standard Most Improved Large Racecourse Newbury; ROA Gold Standard Most Improved Small Racecourse Wetherby

Sussex Equine Hospital joins Colic campaign

SUSSEX Equine Hospital has signed up as a ‘Vet REACT Colic Champion.

With colic one of the most common equine emergencies, Sussex Equine Hospital has signed up to become a Vet REACT Colic Champion, as part of the ‘REACT Now to Beat Colic’ campaign.

Launched by The British Horse Society and The University of Nottingham, the campaign and its champion vets are committed to help horse owners combat the life-threatening condition of colic.

Photo: Sussex Equine Hospital

They will be working together to make the best decision for each individual horse – from sharing information with owners about different types of colic and how to recognise the clinical signs.

Research by The University of Nottingham found that more than 90 per cent of horse owners did not feel confident in spotting early signs of colic.

It starts with using the REACT acronym to spot any early signs of colic:
R Restless or agitated
E Eating less or dropping reduced
A Abdominal pain
C Clinical changes
T Tired or lethargic

The Sussex Equine Hospital will be posting more on its  ‘championship’ status soon. See its Facebook page for details.

And in the meantime, for more information from BHS and to see a list of other champions joining the campaign, click on the links below:


Flaming Spear heads for finals day

Flaming Spear showed a good turn of foot under Robert Winston to win the mile £45,000 Listed British Stallion Studs EBF Hyde Stakes, an All-Weather Championships Fast-Track Qualifier, on Polytrack at Kempton Park recently.

The six-year-old, now successful three times from four All-Weather starts, gained a free and guaranteed start in the £150,000 Sun Racing All-Weather Mile Championship at Lingfield Park on the £1-million All-Weather Championships Finals Day, Good Friday, April 19, 2019.

Trainer Dean Ivory was thrilled for Flaming Spear, who is owned by Tony Bloom and started the 3/1 favourite in the 11-strong field. He said: “I am delighted – we have overcome issues Flaming Spear had with the stalls and he is a lovely and relaxed horse.

Flaming Spear in action
Photo: John Simpson


“He had a good draw tonight (two), was quite handy from the start and won going away.

“It has been the plan for a while to go for the mile final on All-Weather Championships Finals Day, which is quite a long time away.

“We can now count back from Good Friday and be more laid-back in planning his races.”

Flaming Spear raced in fourth on the outside, a bit keenly initially, as Pactolus (Stuart Williams/Fran Berry, 25/1) took them along.

Winston asked Flaming Spear to move forward after turning into the straight and the son of Lope De Vega came through strongly to hit the from over a furlong out.

Flaming Spear ran on well to beat Hathal (Jamie Osborne/Nicola Currie, 10/1) by three quarters of a length, with outsider Pattie (Mick Channon/Gerald Mosse, 33/1) finishing strongly to take third, a further length and a quarter back.

The 2017/18 All-Weather Horse Of The Year, Victory Bond (William Haggas/James Doyle, 4/1), victorious in the £200,000 Betway Easter Classic over 10 furlongs at Lingfield Park on Good Friday, March 30, had his first start since May and kept on in fourth. The winning time of 1m 37.17s was the fastest on the night comparatively.

Victory Bond in action at Lingfield Park  Photo: John  Simpson

Super tough stayer Watersmeet (Mark Johnston/Joe Fanning, 11/4 favourite) gained his 14th victory – 12 on All-Weather surfaces – when beating Higher Power (James Fanshawe/George Wood, 5/1) by a length in the £25,000 32Red Handicap over two miles.

George Wood gained compensation on 16/1 top-weight Exceeding Power, trained by Martin Bosley, in the last race, the 12-furlong £11.200 32Red.com Handicap, when just holding 6/5 favourite Landue (Marcus Tregoning/James Doyle) by a short-head.