Competitive card at Fontwell races tomorrow

Competitive jump racing is promised at Fontwell Park tomorrow, Monday January 14, with all races well-subscribed.

The first race at 1.20pm is a handicap hurdle over two miles three furlongs with twelve runners.  In the opening two mile three furlong handicap hurdle, the field is headed by Not Never, a seven-year-old chestnut gelding trained by Gary Moore, and ridden by son Jamie.

Horsham trainer Gary Moore

Not Never has two previous wins to his credit at Plumpton early last year but was well beaten when he reappeared at Ascot in December, after a  very  long break -but will have come on since then .

Stablemate Master of Speed, to be  ridden by Joshua Moore, runs in the same Fontwell race. This seven-year-old has one win to his credit in 2016 at Kempton for Moore and had been off since then until a run at Kempton over Christmas.

Another stablemate Dancecraft, fourth last time out, runs in the second race, a Mares Maiden Hurdle, where opposition includes past winner Oriental Cross, trained  by Tim Vaughan and ridden by William Kennedy, which was third on his last outing.

Dan Skelton runs five-year-old So Lonely in the race, placed four times this season and ridden by Harry Skelton.

Harry Skelton with a past winner at Fontwell Park
Photo: Jeannie Knight

Eight runners contest the three miles two furlongs handicap chase. Caroline Fryer runs Midnight Bliss with Bryony Frost in the saddle. Midnight Bliss was pulled up last time out but has clocked up four good wins this season.

Meanwhile Invicta Lake, trained at Lewes by Suzy Smith, was fourth at Fontwell Park in early December and improved on  that, finishing third at Fontwell Park on Boxing Day.  The 12-year-old gelding seems better suited by Fontwell than other tighter tracks and could go on to do even better there.

The two mile three furlong maiden hurdle race has twelve runners and Carrick Roads, trained by Colin TIzzard and in-form jockey Harry Cobden could well win this race.

In the two mile three furlong handicap chase, trainer Lawney Hill travels triple winner Clondaw Westie from Oxfordshire to be ridden by Aidan Coleman. Her eight-year-old gelding was a dual Fontwell winner last season and clearly likes this track, and this trainer rarely goes away empty handed from here.

Trainer Chris Gordon and jockey Tom Cannon Photo: Jeannie Knight

The final race- over two miles 1½furlongs-could go to Sky Full of Stars, trained  by  Chris Gordon and ridden  by Tom Cannon. This nine-year-old gelding was second at Fontwell last time out and should improve on that.

Don’t miss Fontwell Park’s National Spirit day

The richest and most prestigious race in the Fontwell Calendar- the National Spirit Hurdle Race-  will be run for the 54th time on Sunday February 24 at Fontwell Park racecourse

This race is certain to attract some of the country’s finest talent. This £80,000, Grade 2 race originated 53 years ago and is named after the dual winning champion hurdler, National Spirit.

Past National Spirit Hurdle winner Lil Rockerfeller with connections in the winner’s spot Photo: Jeannie Knight

After the prize fund increased by a further £30,000 in 2016, the National Spirit Hurdle has continued to attract some of the best horses with excitement beginning to build for months in advance.

Recent winners include Old Guard, Lil’ Rockerfeller,  and Black Corton.

At Fontwell Park, there are two enclosures to choose from:

The Grandstand & Paddock Enclosure which grants access to three grandstands, the parade ring, winning circle and a number of bars and food outlets.

Or, you can choose the Premier Enclosure which includes entry to all of the above – plus access to the ground floor of the Premier Grandstand. In here, you’ll find a large indoor bar, the Premier Café as well as seated viewing overlooking the Winning Post. There is also access to a beautiful rear terrace – the perfect quiet spot to study the form.

Popular ticket options include the Premier Lounge Enclosure with a raffle and live auction presented by resident tipster Colin Brown. The £95 package includes a hospitality ticket, champagne reception, three course served meal, tea, coffee and chocolates, afternoon tea and cake, a Raceday programme, table for the day in the Premier Restaurant and reserved car parking.

Top jockeys and family atmosphere at Fontwell Park

There is also a £29 complete raceday package includes Premier Enclosure Ticket, Raceday Programme, £2 bet, Drink & Hot Meal from the Premier Café. PLEASE NOTE: This package is only available in advance and must be purchased by midnight the day before racing. *Drink Includes selected Draught Beer, Wines & Soft Drinks.

The Premier enclose allows access to all public areas of the racecourse, including the ground floor of the Premier Grandstand and Fontwell Gardens.

The Premier Grandstand offers additional indoor and outdoor seating opposite the finishing post, as well as a terrace area over looking Fontwell House and Gardens. There are full food and drink facilties as well as betting and flat screen television to watch the racing action close up.

Meanwhile there is racing at this popular track tomorrow, Monday January 14, with the first race at 1.20pm, followed  by fixtures on Sunday January 27 and Thursday February 14.



Glen Rocco wins again for Downs Stables

Glen Rocco fulfilled all expectations for West Sussex trainer Nick Gifford at Kempton Park races today, Saturday. He was sent off as 11-4 favourite  and won the three mile handicap chase by 23 lengths from Colin Tizzard’s Bally Longford at 9-1.

An eight-year-old chestnut gelding, by Shirocco, Glen Rocco has always been highly regarded and has proved to be a progressive horse.

Glen Rocco, trained by Nick Gifford at Downs Stables, Findon Photo: Jeannie Knight


He put in an excellent performance to win the three mile handicap chase comfortably under a fine ride from jockey James Davies,

There has always been plenty to like about Glen Rocco, owned  by Jeremy Khyle,  G Mason and D Stevens.

This eight-year-old chestnut gelding has been brought on patiently by Nick Gifford at the famous Downs Stables at Findon and placed carefully in races to suit him.

By Shirocco, which missed last season. This horse, which has a distinctive white blaze, is owned by Jeremy Kyle, G Mason and D Stevens, is half brother to a horse which won the famous Czech race, the Velka Pardubicka, which is run over varied and testing terrain.

Attention to detail in his training has reaped a good reward at Kempton where Glenn Rocco, partnered by James Davies, scored a memorable  victory after jumping fluently throughout the race.

Nick Gifford Racing commented:”Glen Rocco jumps for fun and was given a great ride by James Davies to win this three mile chase at Kempton . A big shout out to Vova who led him up and rides him everyday at home .

“Rocco is a pretty strong ride and has been bouncing and fresh since his last run on Boxing Day . His owners are thrilled and as are all the team at home.”

Trainers contest new shoeing rule for racing

A ROW has broken out about a new rule being introduced by the British Horse Racing Authority, which will insist that all horses taking part in jump racing should be fully shod for safety reasons.

The regulation already applies in Flat races and is set to come into force over jumps on February 1, in the belief that it will make jump racing safer by reducing the risk of horses slipping.

But there is widespread opposition to the move to introduce the rule for jump racing. One trainer said: ” Jump racing is totally different from Flat racing and the British Horse Racing ought to understand that.

A racehorse about to bring hind legs forward for landing  Photo: John Simpson

“The very act of jumping means the hind legs come through on landing and if the horse has to wear shoes it would automatically create an enormous risk of the front legs being sliced into.”

It has been said that any trainer disregarding the new rule will be able to have their horse re-shod prior to a race, or their horse will be withdrawn by the starter. Trainers have expressed concerns to The National Trainers’ Federation, which has asked the BHA to review the situation.

Trainer Mick Easterby

Mick Easterby said his brother Peter and other trainers agree with him and he is not going to put shoes on his horses’ hind feet when they race. Meanwhile  the BHA has said shoeing all four hooves will be compulsory in jumps races from February 1.

He pointed out that one of the most common injuries in racing over hurdles and fences is an overreach caused by the hind hoof cutting into the back of a front leg. This can cause damage to the tendon or even result in removal of a front hoof.

Mick Easterby told reporters :”I ran a horse over hurdles at Newcastle the other day. It wasn’t a good jumper and it came back with a nasty over reach. Luckily it didn’t have hind shoes on, so it will be able to race again, but if it had it would probably have cut its leg in two.

Other trainers have agreed with him but the BHA said in a statement issued to the Press: “Following a two-year process which has involved review of data and consultation with participants, the Rules Committee has approved a change to the rules in order that horses running in jumps races must wear hind shoes, as is the case in Flat races. This is a safety initiative for the benefit of horse and rider to reduce the risk of a horse slipping.

“Trainers will require special dispensation to run horses over jumps without shoes on their hind hooves and can apply for dispensation.”

But NTF chief executive Rupert Arnold says the BHA needs to look at the issue again. He said in a statement :”Since we communicated to trainers the intended change in the rules regarding the shoeing of jumpers, several have expressed their disquiet about it,”

“As a result of that, and because none of the incidences of horses slipping in the BHA survey involved horses who weren’t wearing hind shoes, we have gone back to the BHA to ask them to review their decision to change the rule pending further discussion.”

Pets At Home supports Moorcroft Racehorse Welfare charity

Former racehorse Galizzi greeted two very special visitors to Moorcroft Racehorse Welfare Centre at Slinfold, West Sussex when they presented centre manager Mary Frances with a cheque for £15,000 to support this very special West Sussex charity.

Moorcroft is dedicated to retraining ex-racehorses so they can go on to lead active and happy lives when their racing days are over. Under Mary’s expertise, assisted by her staff, this outstanding centre plays a vital role in ensuring the horses are individually rehabilitated for a new life outside racing.

Galizzi, a seven-year-old bred by Darley, and originally trained by J Rainier raced mainly in France, before coming to England, where he raced for Tim Vaughan at Ascot and Epsom.

Moorcroft chief executive Mary Frances with Pets at Home store manager Anita Charman and assistant manager Lucy Lempriere and  Moorcroft’s head girl Lianne Bird far right.

Mary said : “He has settled in well at Moorcroft. He is a lovely horse and his retraining is developing well. We are extremely grateful for this financial boost from Pets at Home, which will help us continue our vital retraining work with ex-racehorses so they can go on to lead active lives in the future.”

The money donated by Pets At Home branch in Horsham was  from its Support Adoption for Pets, an independent charity established by Pets at Home in 2006.

Since then it has helped more than 1,000 re-homing centres and animal welfare organisations across the UK. In addition to its fundraising work, it also runs an adoption centre in more than 440 Pets At Home stores.

Both store manager Anita Charman and fundraising manager Amy Wilson own horses and ride regularly.

Anita said: “It was an honour to be able to present Moorcroft Racehorse Welfare Centre with a cheque for £15,000 on behalf of Support Adoption for Pets. Seeing the amazing work that the charity carries out on a regular basis is a real inspiration and we are delighted this money will go towards helping make the lives of the horses in their care better.”

Amy commented:” It is a real privilege to help an organisation that works so hard to rehabilitate race horses. The team at Moorcroft Racehorse Welfare Centre is doing a superb job and the effort it puts in is an inspiration.

” We wish the team all the best for 2019 and look forward to hearing how this grant helps horses in their care.”





British Dressage has plenty to offer

If you are passionate about dressage, at whatever level, unaffiliated or affiliated, British Dressage is here to help further your enjoyment and ensure the sport continues to go from strength to strength.

Whether you are already a competitor or just starting out, a regular spectator, or keen to get involved in other ways, British Dressage has plenty to offer you from quality training, a packed schedule of competitions and the latest news from our international teams.

British Dressage rider Carl Hester competing at the Olympics Photo: Georges Souvier

British Dressage is committed to making sure dressage is the very best it can be, for grassroots riders to Olympians alike – look into it and see what it can offer you:

A variety of memberships to suit individual needs

Access to invaluable training and also events in your area at every level

More than 2000 days of affiated competitions every year

Careers and development opportunities in dressage

Training and support to become a listed judge.

As well as a company limited by guarantee, British Dressage is a registered charity with a trading arm, British Dressage Trading Ltd.

For more information see:

Plumpton charity raceday for IJF

Don’t miss Plumpton Charity Raceday on Wednesday February 13 when all proceeds will go to the Injured Jockeys Fund.

Highly competitive racing plus a Spacehopper race featuring jockeys will be enjoyed by all racegoers, while there will also be a charity lunch in the marquee for racegoers who want to support the Injured Jockeys Fund further.

Enjoy great racing, lunch and afternoon tea, raffle and auction and the Grand Hop Gold Cup race.

This space hopper race will feature jockeys past and present and takes place down the home straight before racing.

Meet some of the jockeys riding or hopping on the day and enjoy a relaxed day of racing at this picturesque friendly racecourse.

Tickets just £100 to include; admission, racecard, lunch, wine and afternoon tea.

For lunch tickets, call  Mandie at Injured Jockeys Fund on 01638 676219





Equines and their riders ‘vulnerable road users’

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

The announcement follows a year-long 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 Riders Warning sign

“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

Quality racing at Plumpton’s Sussex National day

PLUMPTON racecourse not only attracted a good crowd yesterday, but racegoers had the opportunity to see a top class performance from top French hurdler, Master Dino, when he won the two mile three furlongs novice chase in fine style under Daryl Jacob.

The four-year-old, trained by Guillaume Macaire at Les Mathes, France, was last year’s French champion four-year-old hurdler. He has switched to fences in winning style, and was sent off at 6-1.

Master Dino en route to victory
Photo: Plumpton Racecourse

The race, over 2m3½f was part of Plumpton’s bonus scheme, and attracted a classy field, including  Colin Tizzard’s Slate House, impressive Newbury winner, Knocknanuss, Glenloe – Gordon Elliott’s first runner at Plumpton, and Slate House sent out by Colin Tizzard.

Gary Moore’s Knockanuss was second, seven lengths further back at 9-4, with Alan King’s Good Man Pat another seven lengths behind in third under Wayne Hutchinson.

Master Dino is now eligible for a £60,000 bonus if he can win a chase at the Cheltenham Festival in March. His next target is likely to be the Scilly Isles Chase at Sandown.

French bred Duc Kauto, a runner in the two and a half mile chase for trainer Colin Tizzard, ridden by Harry Cobden, impressed with the way he kept on under pressure in the closing stages. The six-year-old beat Gary Moore’s Zante, with Neil King’s Leeside Lady in third.

Trainer Neil King
Photo: Jeannie Knight

The opening Novice Hurdle race was won by 10-11 favourite Brandon King, trained by Neil King and ridden by in-form Bryony Frost.  The winner finished seven lengths clear of Knockanuss, sent off at 7-1, trained by Chris Gordon and ridden by Tom Cannon. Alan King’s Good Man Pat was third, ridden by Wayne Hutchinson.

The feature race- the Sussex National- went to 11-8 favourite The Two Amigos, a dual winner over fences earlier this year for Somerset  trainer Nicky Martin. Nicky had been concerned that drying ground might not be in her runner’s favour, but the seven-year-old gelding did her proud.

The Two Amigos  Photo: John Simpson


Under a good ride from Matt Griffiths , he  came home clear of runner-up Calin Du Brizais, trained  by Colin Hawke, ridden by Tom Cannon. Third place was filled by the Peter Bowen-trained Pearl Swan, ridden by Sean Bowen, 21 lengths further back.

The Alan King-trained Good Man Pat stayed on well to take third under Wayne Hutchinson on his first start over fences, seven lengths adrift of runner-up Knocknanuss.

Slate House came home fourth, ahead of JP McManus-owned pair of Glenloe, who had plenty to do when blundering away any chance at the 11th on his chasing debut, and 33-1 outsider of the six Onefortheroadtom, who brought up the rear.

Support Plumpton’s first Wednesday fixture of 2019 on January 16 for the Timeform Raceday, a proper national hunt fixture.

Plumpton offers top class jump racing
Photo: Jeannie Knight

After all the excitement over the festive period, there is quality midweek action at Plumpton with some good racing, featuring the class 3 Handicap Chase worth over £11k for 10 year olds and above.

Two novice hurdle races and some old favourites  will be alongside some stars of the future like Dawson City- a Plumpton winner in 2015 before taking the Devon National in February 2018.

Gates Open – 11:30

First Race – 13:30

Last Race – 16:10

.Plumpton now has the newly increased size of the Southdown Bar and with a new café area (serving hot and cold foods, as well as bean to cup coffee), new bar and extra seating – no matter the weather you can enjoy a fantastic day with us. There are plenty of other food and bar outlets as well as our fantastic catering vans with hog roast, burgers and noodles all available to keep you warm and enjoy your day.

Tickets are available from just £13 per person and this is a day you can get up close and see all the action as it unfolds perfectly.


ARC takes stock on funding review

Arena Racing Company (“ARC”) today confirms that the racecourse group will not ‘unlock’ qualifying races across its race programme from Monday February 11 2019 onwards.  This decision is a direct reflection of the current retail betting media rights landscape.

Following a tripartite funding review in 2017 between BHA, RCA and the Horsemen’s Group, a new mechanism by which funding is distributed was developed which required investment in certain races to ‘unlock’ enhanced prize money allocation, including the Race Incentive Fund  and the Appearance Money Scheme  which extends prize money payments to placed horses.

Competitive racing on all weather tracks thanks to Arena Racing Company and sponsors

Due to the nature of ARC’s race programme, this represents 3,406 races and £3 million per annum in extra executive contribution. ARC’s total commitment to prize money for 2019 will be £15.3 million, still substantially up from £11.3 million in 2015.  Further reductions cannot be ruled out.

Martin Cruddace, Chief Executive Officer of ARC stated, “The British racing industry is today in a considerably different position than when we underwent the funding review of 2017 which came about as a direct result of the increase in Levy income to the sport, itself a result of the Levy being extended to cover online betting companies.

“This increase of approximately £40 million per annum to the Levy, through this extension to cover online operators was, to a large degree, a result of the Authorised Betting Partner policy adopted by British racing in 2016. ARC played a central role in leading and supporting this policy, albeit at the cost of some very significant sums in sponsorship agreements.

“At the time of the 2017 funding review it was agreed that the Race Incentive Fund and Appearance Money Scheme, paid for by these Levy increases, should be unlocked alongside further direct investment from racecourses.

“Today, however, the well-publicised impact of betting shop closures on racecourses’ media rights income has already started to take effect, and will only increase in the months and years to come.  As a result of this, ARC simply cannot continue to support our current levels of executive contribution to prize money and unlock all qualifying races, as was the case throughout 2018.

“We fully understand the importance of prize money across the industry, and do not take such a decision lightly.

“It is for this reason that we are working with the whole industry to review funding and the allocation of the substantial and hard won increased Levy income to support the prize money levels for grassroots racing that we have, until now, been able to provide.  It is therefore hoped, contingent on the support of our colleagues at the BHA and Horsemen’s Group, that owners and trainers who are kind enough to run their horses at our racecourses do not then see an appreciable difference.

“We completely accept the rationale behind the Government’s decision to reduce FOBT stakes to a maximum of £2 and we will continue to pursue a strategy to reflect the inescapable shift from retail to online as well as working with the retail betting industry.

Chairman of the Racecourse Association, Maggie Carver, said, “These are challenging financial times for Britain’s racecourses as the media rights landscape, in particular, has fundamentally shifted in recent months, so we can understand ARC’s decision.

“The RCA and its members will continue to work with Horsemen and the BHA to try to mitigate the situation as the funding environment evolves.”