Plumpton charity raceday for Cancer Trust

Plumpton Racecourse is hosting its first Bob Champion Cancer Trust Raceday on Monday October 21, when it is hoped to raise significant funds for this worthy charity.

The day will feature pony racing before racing proper begins, giving up and coming young riders the opportunity of competing at this popular track before the main race card begins.

Pony racing at Plumpton
Photo: Jeannie Knight


The Bob Champion Cancer Trust supports and raises funds for the Bob Champion Cancer Research Laboratory. This forms part of the largest male dedicated research facility in Europe, situated at the Institute of Cancer Research in Sutton, Surrey and for the research team at the Bob Champion Research and Education Building at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, Norfolk.

The National Hunt season is in full swing now and some of good novices are appearing on the track with four of Plumpton’s seven races of the day ready for this future talent.

Over the years, Plumpton had seen the emergence of talented National Hunt horses at this popular track, which have later gone on to great success.

Back in October 2017, Highway One O’ One, trained by Chris Gordon and ridden by Tom Cannon. won the maiden hurdle that starts the card and has since gone on to win nearly £100k in prize money for owner M Anthony Ward-Thomas.

Highway One O One in action over jumps   Photo: John Simpson

This year, the  feature race on the day is novices’ limited handicap chase for horses rated up to 135, and won by some good types in the past, including Seventh Sky in 2014, before winning over £150k prize money throughout his career.

Expect some competitive jumps racing at this meeting and the chance to see horses at close quarters in paddock,  before and after racing. Gates open at 12 noon and the first race is at 2,10pm and the last at 5.10pm.



New sponsor for British Ridden Heavy Horse Championship

With just one week to go before the start of Horse of the Year Show 2019, it has been announced that Kim and Joseph McNeil will be sponsoring the British Ridden Heavy Horse Championship.

The mother and son duo are a home produced showing team that have been extremely successful in the show ring and have competed at HOYS for many years.

Now renamed the McNeil Family British Ridden Heavy Horse Championship, this class was only introduced to the HOYS programme a few years ago and has gone from strength to strength. With only 11 qualifying positions on offer, there is always strong competition between the Shires, Clydesdales, Suffolk and Percheron breeds that are eligible to compete for this prestigious championship.

The British Ridden Heavy Horse Championhip at HOYS  attracts top competitors Photo:HOYS


On behalf of the McNeil Family, Kim commented: “Joseph and I are extremely proud to sponsor the British Ridden Heavy Horse class at HOYS.

“The heavy horse is the true workman of the equine family and is a magnificent animal. As competitors in many different classes across the showing world there is no better feeling than qualifying and competing at HOYS.

“Seeing the joy that it brings to us as a family and fellow competitors is truly wonderful. Through our sponsorship we see it as a way of giving something back to the sport that we love so much and enjoy year after year.”

Event Director Emma Williams commented: “We are extremely grateful to Kim and Joseph for their support in sponsoring this incredibly competitive class.  The heavy horses are a significant part of our country’s heritage and to have them so well supported on such a large stage is great for the lifeline of these breeds. I look forward to welcoming the McNeil Family to the show next week.”

Horse of the Year Show takes place this year from October 2 – 6  at the Resorts World Arena, the NEC Birmingham for another year of breathtaking displays and unbeatable competition.

Weekday tickets are Gold Tickets, meaning that they allow you full access to the show for the full day; that’s over 16 hours of equestrian entertainment at its best with prices starting from £34.00. Visit or call the Box Office on 0844 581 8282.

Plumpton’s highly successful opening meeting of season

Racegoers were rewarded with good jump racing at Plumpton’s opening meeting of the new season yesterday when the Core Spreads Family Raceday was a good day out for the all the family, with activities and entertainment throughout.

It proved to be a memorable day of racing with more than £80,000 on offer in prize money, including two races worth £20,000 each. The feature race was the 0-140 handicap hurdle over three miles.

This season starts out at Plumpton with a new leading trainer- Chris Gordon.  He ended Gary Moore’s long reign in the Jeffrey Peate Trainers’ Challenge with a double on the final day of the 2018-19 season.  This season leaves everything to play for again between the duo.

New leading trainer Chris Gordon and jockey Tom Cannon Photo: Jeannie Knight

Also, jockey Tom Cannon, who regularly rides for trainer Chris Gordon, ended last season as leading jockey and the duo were back in form on this opening day with Mount Windsor,  which won the bumper race of the opening day.

Gary Moore started out the new season with a good win when he sent out  Zamperini to win the Maiden Hurdle, ridden by Josh Moore. This horse had been running well on the Flat and was a good winner of this two mile hurdle race.

Friends & Family Remembering Norman Sharpe Handicap Hurdle was another competitive race as Plumpton’s new season got underway.

Jonjo O’Neill’s charge, Young Wolf,  a full-brother to the ill-fated Neon Wolf, who looked a horse of such promise, made all under Jonjo O’Neill Jr. He overcame mistakes and impressed when gaining a winning position on the run in from top-weight Sizing Granite.

Young Wolf, in the lead, impressed at Plumpton
Photo: Plumpton Racecourse

Jockey Rex Dingle was also in good form, partnering Ramore Will to victory in the Mayfield Sussex Hop Gin Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle.

Dan Skelton followed up his Easter Sunday double at Plumpton with another victory when  Istimar, was an easy winner of the Julie Brown Memorial Handicap Hurdle under Bridget Andrews, winning  by an easy nine lengths.

Plenty of competitive action throughout the day at Plumpton   Photo: Plumpton Racecourse

Goodthyneaway gave Bridget Andrews a double when winning the Backyard Coffee Handicap Chase, overtaking Well Smitten from the home turn and going clear for victory.

Bryony Frost has enjoyed a tremendous run at Plumpton this season with Brandon Castle, and made her only ride of the day a winning one on Riddlestown in the Brewers Decorator Centre Cup Handicap Chase. Caroline Fryer’s veteran responded well to the fitting of a visor and was a good winner.

Chill In The Wood made a successful return from ten months off after a breathing operation in the Andrew “Super Wack” Jackson Memorial Handicap Chase. Success looked unlikely for the Dominic Ffrench Davis-trained mare as she was held in third turning for home, but her stamina kicked in and she swooped past her fading rivals under Mark Grant.

Alanjou made a successful debut under Connor Brace for Barry Brennan in the Happy 30th Birthday Timothy Mellett Handicap Hurdle, ending a long losing run.

The next meeting at Plumpton is not to  be missed. It is the  BOB CHAMPION CANCER TRUST CHARITY RACEDAY, which takes place on Monday October 21. Gates open at 12 noon, with the first race at 2.10pm and the last at 5.10pm.

 Please call the Racecourse Office for Hospitality bookings on 01273 890383.


New sponsor for HOYS Mountain and Moorland First Ridden Pony class

The Mountain and Moorland First Ridden Pony of the Year class- a strong feature at HOYS -has welcomed a brand new sponsor.

 The Feed Shed is the latest company to add its name to the top quality brands supporting Horse of the Year Show 2019.  A family owned business with more than 53 years experience in supplying a wide range of livestock feed, healthcare products and equipment, The Feed Shed offers more than 621 product lines to both their online and local customers.

The Feed Shed exhibiting at a show

Following their support, the popular Mountain and Moorland First Ridden Class that sees the best of 23 qualifiers held throughout the season come together on Wednesday October 3  in the TopSpec Arena and will now be renamed The Feed Shed Mountain and Moorland First Ridden Pony of the Year.

Horse of the Year Show is highly regarded among the showing community as being ‘the’ show to qualify your horse/pony for to highlight and reward the quality breeding, conformation and performance of each animal. With an astounding 30 different showing championships available to qualify for, thousands of competitors set out each year for a place in the final at HOYS.

Nick Penn, owner of The Feed Shed commented: “We are very proud at The Feed Shed to be sponsoring the Mountain & Moorland First Ridden at Horse of the Year Show 2019. We are looking forward to seeing our customers at the show and wish all competitors the best of luck.”

Event Director Emma Williams commented: “I am delighted to welcome The Feed Shed as a new sponsor for the show. As a business based locally to the event, they are focused on customer service and going the extra mile for their clients, many of which will be competing throughout the week. I look forward to seeing their brand associated with such a popular class.”

Horse of the Year Show takes place this year from October 2 – 6 2019 at the Resorts World Arena, the NEC Birmingham for another year of breathtaking displays and unbeatable competition.

Weekday tickets are Gold Tickets, meaning that they allow you full access to the show for the full day; that’s over 16 hours of equestrian entertainment at its best with prices starting from £34.00. Visit or call the Box Office on 0844 581 8282.

RDA qualifier for National Championships

Disabled carriage drivers from the Riding for the Disabled’s South East Region met at Sands Farm, Warnham recently in the annual qualifying competition for the RDA National Championship held in July 2020.

Drivers from across Surrey, Kent and Sussex went head-to-head in the three combined disciplines of dressage, cones and obstacles with only the top placed competitors qualifying.

The Carriage Driving Groups represented included East Sussex’s Kipling County (Chalvington), West Sussex’s Cherry Park (Chichester) and Happy Landings (Billingshurst), Surrey’s Stella Hancock group (Worplesdon), Kent’s Bradbourne (Sevenoaks) and for the first time, Alkham Valley (Dover).

Steven Holland of Alkham Valley drives Ted through the cones. Photo: Joanna Sale

There was edge-of-the seat excitement, particularly in the Novice Whip where young sisters, Gemma and Stacey Tiley from the Stella Hancock Group competed against each other in their first competition. Happily, they came first and second (respectively), both qualifying for Hartpury and both scoring exactly the same time in the cones.

Sisters Gemma and Stacey Tiley both qualify for the Nationals Photo: Joanna Sale

The final results showed less than a point between them. Linda Redmond, also of Stella Hancock, came third to make the hat-trick of qualifiers.

Following his second place at the Nationals this year, Jack Marr from Bradbourne continued his winning streak in the Intermediate Whip qualifying again but at the higher level. Amanda Hardy of Happy Landings also qualified for coming second.

Sandra Spininer of Cherry Park, hot on the heels of winning the Championship at the Nationals this year, qualified safely in the Open Class.

Jean Leverett of Bradbourne drives Disney in the cones Photo: Joanna Sale

In the non-qualifying Assisted Whip’s Class, Amanda Wakefield pipped team mate, Josie Cyster, both from Kipling County, to first place.

Julia Hockin of Regional Sponsors, Cowan Architects, presented the awards. She was impressed by the speed and agility. “These drivers are really inspirational but it’s also lovely to see their warmth and pleasure at having achieved so much. I’ve been amazed today” she commented.

The day’s organiser, Helen Pritchard, gave thanks to the hard work of the team behind the scenes in putting the event together saying: “I take a lot of pride in the events that we offer to our regional members and the team is amazing at getting stuck in when we really need it. We’re also very grateful to our wonderful judges led by Sara Howe, an internationally acclaimed carriage driver and Team GB member.”.

Successful polo challenge for retrained racehorses

Earlier this month 43 former racehorses competed at The Royal County of Berkshire Polo Club to contest the RoR Racing to Polo Challenge, kindly supported by Lycetts.

The event continues to grow in popularity and is open to all RoR registered horses who have been in training or raced under any recognised racing authority.

As the rain fell, competitors arrived to declare their horses for one of the four classes being held on a ground at this prestigious Polo Club. This year, for the first time, an award was presented to the best playing lady rider.

Polo action with ex-racehorses
Photo John Simpson

The judges panel included Judith Balding, Senior Judge for conformation, joined by Rob Cudmore, Will Brasher, Nick Evans, Chris Price and Piers Plunkett who were judging performance. Each competitor presented their horses to the Conformation Judge prior to commencing their one and a half minute performance element of the Challenge.

The first class of the day was for three-year-olds, with nine horses coming forward to compete and demonstrate their adaptability to a second career on the Polo field. Judges focussed primarily on performance with type and conformation being taken into account in case of a tie, the winning combination was Ireland’s Angel, ridden and owned by Sebastian Chiavlo. The filly, by Lethal Force, was formerly trained by David Evans with whom she had four starts on the flat before retiring in September 2018. Second place was awarded to Cheeky Lola, formerly trained Tim Easterby, ridden by Nick Johnson and owned by Alan Kent

The four year old class, saw 11 horses come forward and was won by Whererainbowsend, formerly trained by Bryan Smart, owned and ridden by Ed Hitchman with second place awarded to Newton Place, formerly trained by Pat Fahy, ridden by Adam Buchanan and owned by Aurora Cotton-McKean.

The five year olds then came forward with 14 horses entered, the winner was Powerpuff owned and ridden by Ed Hitchman with No Luck Penny owned and ridden by Ben Eeley receiving the second prize.

The day culminated with the six year old and upwards class where nine horses were presented to the judges and proved to be a good class for Ed Hitchman who took first and second place with Sweets‘N’Sheets and Mrs Frosty respectively. Sweets’N’Sheets, part owned by Will Brasher, was in training with Paul Midgley when she ran twice finishing plum last in both starts. Clearly she has found her calling on the Polo field.

Lady riders, Katrina Thomas and Hannah Parry-Jones were awarded the inaugural overall Ladies prizes for their performances in the four classes.

RoR would, again, like to thank the Royal County of Berkshire Polo Club for hosting this wonderful event and also the judges, players and organisers for making this event such a success year on year. Special thanks to the HPA and Lycetts for their continued support.

Full results:

Class 1 – 3 year olds

1st. Ireland’s Angel owned and ridden by Sebastian Chialvo
2nd. Cheeky Lola ridden by Nick Johnson, owned by Alan Kent
3rd. Annie’s Bow ridden by Monty Campbell and owned by Jack Richardson

Class 2 – 4 year olds 

1st. Whererainbowsend owned and ridden by Ed Hitchman
2nd. Newton Place ridden by Adam Buchanan, owned by Aurora Cotton-Mckean
3rd. Runway Bay ridden by Nick Johnson, owned by Alan Kent

Class 3 – 5 year olds 

1st. Powerpuff owned and ridden by Ed Hitchman
2nd. No Luck Penny owned and ridden by Ben Eeley
3rd. Joy ridden by Miguel Ayala, owned by Pedro Harrison

Class 4 – 6 year olds and upwards 

1st. Sweets’N’Sheets owned and ridden by Ed Hitchman
2nd. Mrs Frosty owned and ridden by Ed Hitchman
3rd. Palavicini’s Girl ridden by Rupert Lewis, owned by Richard Le Poer

Fontwell Park’s two-day October Festival coming up

Fontwell Park Racecourse is one of the most popular National Hunt racecourses in the South of England, located in the village of Fontwell, West Sussex, where it is now owned by ARC Racing.

The oval racing track, over jumps, has good viewing facilities and also has an interesting history- as well as good jump racing coming up.

Highly competitive jump racing at Fontwell Park
Phoro: Jeannie Knight

It was founded by Alfred Day, who trained racehorses at The Hermitage, by the Chichester to Arundel road, from 1887. Day brought the name Fontwell back into use after researching the history of the area, and by 1924 he had purchased enough land to open a racecourse there.

The hurdles track was a normal shape, but the steeplechase course was laid out in a figure of eight shape to use the space on the site. The first meeting took place on 21 May 1924. The grandstand and the weighing room were built with thatched roofs. The opening race was won by the 5/4 favourite Gem, ridden by jockey Fred Rees.

It was the course where Queen Elizabeth II, then Princess Elizabeth, had her first winner as an owner when Monaveen won the Chichester Handicap Chase there in October 1949.

In 1984 John Francome rode his 1,036th career winner at Fontwell Park, passing Stan Mellors record for a National Hunt jockey – Francome’s record has subsequently been beaten.

The feature race of the season at Fontwell Park is the Grade Two National Spirit Hurdle run over a distance of two miles and four furlongs in February. It is  has such standing that it is a recognised Cheltenham Festival trial.

Previous National Spirit Hurdle winner Lil-Rockerfella, trained by Neil King and ridden by Trevor Whelan. Photo: Jeannie Knight

.Fontwell Park remains a popular and well-maintained track, attracting racegoers from a wide area with some competitive and often exciting jump racing over both hurdles and fences.

There is the chance to watch racing at close quarters in the centre of the course, from the rails or one of the grandstand areas at the track.

The next meeting there is a two-day October Fest meeting on Friday October 4 and Saturday October 5- with more fixtures to follow in every month through until the end of the season in June. The new season will start on August 2.

For more information see:

BHS aims to make horse welfare universally protected

THE British Horse Society is working for a world in which the welfare of horses is universally respected and protected, and in which all those who ride, drive or work with horses can do so safely, enjoyably and with the highest personal competence.

The Society, along with its dedicated network of 200 volunteer Welfare Advisers, works hard to promote the prevention of neglect, cruelty and harm to horses and provide support, advice and education to horse owners to try and remedy problems before they become too serious.

BHS Welfare Advisers respond to around 2,000 welfare concerns annually. They send thanks to everyone who takes the time to contact it and raise concerns.

But the society can only continue its welfare work if it has the funds to do so. Help it to do more for horses – by considering  making a donation to the BHS or joining it.


  • The British Horse Society strives to promote equine welfare by educating, advising and supporting horse owners and carers to prevent cases of neglect.
  • It trains and supports a network of welfare advisers to deal with local welfare concerns
  • It promotes responsible breeding with our Healthcare and Education Clinics
  • Its Welfare Advisers work tirelessly to help improve the lives of horses around the UK.

Royal opening for WHW facilities

The expanded facilities of star attraction World Horse Welfare’s Penny Farm Rescue and Rehoming Centre in the Northwest of England has received a royal stamp of approval at the official opening of its redeveloped visitor centre as the charity highlights its work in the area, and overseas.

World Horse Welfare President HRH The Princess Royal recently formally opened the expanded facilities at popular Lancashire attraction

View the video:

Established in 2001, Penny Farm, one of the charity’s four rescue and rehoming centres across Britain, has long been a destination of choice for tourists and Lancashire families seeking fun, food, activities and education with rescue horses, ponies, donkeys and mules.

HRH opens Penny Farm Visitor Centre
Photo: WHW

Now the expanded facilities will enable so many more visitors to enjoy the company of these amazing animals who seek new homes – and have so much to teach us through their heart-breaking stories of rags to riches transformation – and the charity’s work helping horses in the UK and far afield in Africa, Latin America and Asia.

Addressing the 60 guests who attended the opening, World Horse Welfare President HRH The Princess Royal said:

“This [event] does give us the opportunity to celebrate what has been achieved here … and to understand how horses are still very much a working animal in many parts of the world. For World Horse Welfare that extended programme of education in farriery and saddley and nutrition is so important to those who still rely on them for their livelihoods.

“Sometimes you say to people – ‘people still work with horses’ – and they don’t understand why that can be true.  I’m sure that here it is made very obvious, particularly with the projects in Haiti which make such a difference to those who really do depend on their horses and donkeys for their livelihoods.”

World Horse Welfare is currently appealing for donations to its ‘Helping Horse Owning Communities in Haiti’ appeal, which will be matched pound for pound by the UK government if received before 17 September.

“The understanding we get from making sure that they are properly trained in their care… also reminds us that there are people here who have lost part of that knowledge, and we need to be ready to support those who don’t manage here in the UK.

“This visitor centre has always been important but now it can play an even bigger role … to have more space to help the understanding, fundraising, education, training and seminars which are part of extending the knowledge that is gained through the staff working at Penny Farm.

“Their ability to change the life of those animals who come here in a really poor state – who may be unlikely to survive – to living a life which has real value not just in themselves, but to those who have them as rehomed horses or as an interest to those visiting here. This place will add a huge amount to what Penny Farm can achieve.

“They start as really hard stories, but they have the potential to have really good endings.”

Penny Farm is located on Preston New Road just outside of Blackpool and is open every Wednesday, weekend and Bank Holiday from 11am to 4pm.

Find out more at

Season finale at Brighton Racecourse on Monday

BRIGHTON Racecourse stages its season finale on Monday, September 16- with the chance to get £5 off admission for anyone cycling to the racecourse.

This will be the season’s finale at this stunning seaside course with plenty of ticket options to choose from, whatever the weather.

Thrilling racing promised at Brighton’ final fixture of the season.
Photo courtesy of Connor Press Associates

This September, the popular racecourse has partnered up with Love to Ride for Cycle September. Love to Ride is an organisation designed to encourage cycling in return for online points, allowing you to win a range of prizes.

Brighton Racecourse is offering £5 off tickets and a complimentary soft drink to those who cycle to this September Race day, so hop on your bike, and come and see some thrilling racing!

Cycle September is a fantastic programme encouraging you to get active and have fun, all while helping the environment. Cycling for as little as 10 mins a day can earn you points, which gives you the chance to win prizes such as a seven-day mountain bike trip in New Zealand. To register for free, go to or go to the Love to Ride website to find out more.

At Brighton’s season finale, dress code in hospitality areas and the Premier Enclosure is smart casual. Sportswear, trainers and fancy dress are not permitted. There is no dress code in the Grandstand, or when One Enclosure is in operation. Fancy dress is allowed, providing it is decent and would not cause offence to other guests. The dress code does not apply to children under 10.

There are a range of ticket opportunities if bought in advance for the Grandstand and Paddock.The Grandstand & Paddock Enclosure allows access to the Long Bar, The Café, Tote betting facilities, the Parade Ring, and the picnic area. There are a wide range of food outlets in this area serving hot and cold snacks.