About Jeannie Knight

Jeannie Knight confesses to a lifelong passion for horses, which started at the early age of four when accompanying her father and uncle to a race meeting at Wetherby. Born and bred in Yorkshire, she has been a journalist all her life, working for a range of northern papers, including the Northern Echo and Middlesbrough Evening Gazette, later moving to the south of England. She worked for The Sporting Life, writing features and racing news for Sussex area when her three sons were small, and later joined the West Sussex Gazette as chief reporter. There she created a full page of equestrian news for the West Sussex Gazette, which still continues. The first woman to fly a hang glider in this country, she and her husband Tom ran a hang gliding school for ten years and when Tom turned to microlights and light aircraft, she sold her hang glider and bought a racehorse that had been destined for Ascot sales. She used her to hack across the Downs around Findon and Washington, later breeding a foal from her, which she sold to go eventing in the north of England. "There are so many untold stories about horses and their riders, whether in racing, show jumping or any other sphere, that my aim is to highlight as much equestrian news and achievements as possible," she said,

Rising dressage star impresses ahead of BHS conference

A DATE for the diary for all riders is the National Access Conference on Saturday November 16 at British Horse Society Headquarters in Warwickshire.

This offers the chance to hear from expert speakers about project 2026, the future for access in England, Active Travel and more. There will also be opportunities to increase  knowledge during interactive breakout sessions and great opportunities to network with others interested in equestrian access.

Experts Sarah Bucks and Will Steel will be running a 2026 surgery as a follow-up to their training days. Appointments have been booked with the Access Department in advance and prior to the conference to allow time for Sarah and Will to assess them. Appointments have been given on a first come, first served basis.

Ahead of this month’s National Convention in association with Harrison Clark Rickerbys, there has been the chance meet international sensation Daniel Bachmann Andersen at Addington Equestrian for his first training convention in the UK.

Daniel Bachmaan Anderson  has become a  major dressage star      Photo courtesy of British Dressage

Daniel Bachmann Andersen became a household name to those passionate followers of the FEI dressage scene. Numerous Western European World Cup league wins followed, and this 28-year-old Danish rider is rapidly becoming a major star through his partnership with Blue Horse Stud and the string of talented stallions under his care at the esteemed Randbøl breeding and training centre.

This season, Daniel earned fourth spot in the World Cup Final on board Blue Hors Zack – the impressive Rousseau x Jazz stallion with major achievements in both the sports arena and the breeding industry – before going on to achieve further strong results at this summer’s FEI European Championships in Rotterdam.

From  being a  notable under 25s rider, he has progressed to become one of the most exciting talents of the modern dressage era.  Daniel will make his first UK training appearance at this year’s National Convention in association with Harrison Clark Rickerbys.


Fusil Raffles in action at Wincanton

Today’s meeting at Doncaster has been cancelled because of wet weather but racing is set to go ahead at Wincanton.

There, jockey Daryl Jacob has high hopes for his mount Fusil Raffles, which runs in the Grade Two Unibet Elite Hurdle.

Jockey Daryl Jacob
Photo: John Simpson

Trained by Nicky Henderson, this four-year-old gelding has impressed with his performances so far. He has three wins and a second to his credit so far, accumulating more than £80,000 in prize money so far.

Fusil Raffles and Daryl Jacob in action  Photo: John Simpson


Daryl Jacob told the racing press that Fusil Raffles impressed when he schooled him on Thursday. But he also warned that the Grade Two race could be tough for four-year-olds. He believes that the way he performs in this race will be a good indicator of where to aim Fusil Raffles in the future.

He said it could show whether he could be a Champion Hurdle horse, or one to bring on carefully looking ahead to a future chasing career. So far this horse has only had two runs in England but his rider said he has grown signficantly and filled out in recent months.

With the Champion Hurdle division looking wide open, Daryl Jacob believes that going down this route will give a good indication of how far has has progressed and can continue to do so.

He could be the rider in form today, with another promising ride on Kalahari Queen, trained by Jamie Snowdon. The mare is back over hurdles, having gone novice chasing last season. There, she was second to Roksana, a subsequent Cheltenham Festival winner, and Kalahari Queen has continued to improve.

He also rides Whisper for Sam Thomas in the Badger Beers Silver Trophy Handicap.  Whisper is now 11 years old and rated highly,  but has a formidable task off top weight- though if he jumps well and enjoys himself, he could have a chance here.




Isabella wins BHS Charity race

Jockey Isabella Budge secured a victory on Bird to Love in The British Horse Society’s (BHS) second annual charity flat race at Newbury Racecourse yesterday (7 November).

The midday, one mile flat race saw a tense finish with racehorse trainer Michael Appleby following a close second on Bancuanaheireann (IRE).

Eleven jockeys, from across the country competed in the race at Newbury and had to undertake months of intense training to reach the fitness levels and stamina required to compete. The jockeys were also tasked with each raising a minimum of £2,500 for a BHS campaign of their choice.

Isabella Budge in the paddock
Photo: British Horse Society

Following her win, Isabella Budge said: “I don’t know when I last travelled that fast, it was over in a flash! It was just an unbelievable, unforgettable day. I’m on cloud nine and I don’t think I’m coming down anytime soon!”

Tracy Casstles, Director of Fundraising at The British Horse Society said: “We are hugely grateful to all the jockeys for their incredible efforts over the past couple of months whilst preparing for the fantastic race at Newbury yesterday. It has not been an easy challenge but the money they’ve all raised so far will make an invaluable difference to the work of the BHS. We’d also like to extend our thanks to all the owners and trainers who loaned a horse to our jockeys and the trainers who trained them so perfectly for the closely fought race. Without their time and generosity, the race would not have been possible”.

To find out more about the BHS’s second annual charity race please head to bhs.org.uk/fundraising.

RDA South East Regional conference marks outstanding successes

Two Riding for the Disabled carriage drivers, who are heading into the world of the para elite, were part of an inspirational morning of presentations and awards at the RDA’s recent South East Regional Conference.

The event was sold out with delegates from across four counties. They were treated to several presentations from World Championship Para Driver, Joanne McNicol and current RDA National Champion, Sandra Spinner, while the RDA Regional Vet, Judy Scrine spoke on Equine Flu, Carol Perryer from Sight for Surrey who gave top tips on handling blind or visually impaired participants and Andrew Pinner spoke on his life as a Royal Coachman. 

Conor Crozier of Hope in the Valley RDA receives the Cowan Trophy from Cowan MD, Phillip Mumford

There was also the annual presentation of the regional awards by the presenters, as well as from the Regional Sponsor, Phillip Mumford of Cowan Architects with the Cowan Challenge Trophy in recognition of the Young Volunteer of the Year.

Hilary Gilson of Cherry Park with Phillip Mumford
Photo: Joanna Sale

The morning started with Sandra Spinner for Cherry Park RDA Group (West Sussex) describing her journey from ailing physical health into the world of carriage driving which in a little over 3 years has seen her rise to be National RDA Champion.

Carol Perryer, a Habilitation Specialist from Sight for Surrey, gave some extremely useful advice on helping visually impaired or blind riders the best experience and highlighting how important it is to know the difference and subsequent impact on their lives.

Receiving her award for 25 years of service is Jenna Leight of Bradbourne RDA Photo: Joanna Sale


Joanne McNicol from Kipling County RDA, described her journey from the RDA to the GB National Para Team culminating in being placed fourth at the World Championships in Kronenburg last year. Judy Scrine, the RDA’s Regional Vet, gave a fascinating presentation on Equine Flu and how best to manage it with the latest vaccination advice. The morning was completed with a humourous and fascinating insight into the Royal Mews by Coachman Andrew Pinner who is also an RDA volunteer.

Interspersed through the day were a number of well-deserved accolades and awards, not least of which was a presentation of a beautiful bronze resin sculpture called The Knight by Peter Newell to outgoing Chair, Lindsay Correa.

Isla Williams, Quest Participant of the Year
Photo Joanna Sale

Lindsay has left a significant legacy over seven years of her rein, introducing numerous new initiatives and improved systems to the region to make it one of the most progressive in the UK. She’s achieved this with an energy and enthusiasm that has been second to none.

Twenty five years service award received by Jenna Leight of Bradbourne RDA Photo: Joanna Sale

The presentation of the sculpture, theatre tokens and garden centre vouchers which came from donations from the Groups from across the region, was made by Pauline Roestenburg of Chalkdown Group. Lindsay will now join the RDA UK Trustees responsible for volunteer development.


Cowan Challenge Trophy for the Young Volunteer of the Year – Conor Crozier (Hope in the Valley): Conor started volunteering at Hope in the Valley as a D of E student, and soon became a much valued member of the team and stayed on Plumpton. “In my view, Conor embodies the true qualities and values of a volunteer, giving his time selflessly and consistently to the benefit of others who rely on his help” says Phillip Mumford, Managing Director of Regional Sponsor, Cowan Architects. “He sets and excellent example to us all at an age where there are so many other distractions and demands on his time. He is a worthy winner of the Cowan Trophy”.

Young Volunteer Hebe Award – Joe Roud (Fairlight Hall): starting as a participant with two side walkers, Joe is now a coach in training and competes at National level. In Joe’s own words ”lots of people helped me achieve. I can now help others”

Young Volunteer Hebe Award – Kate Pole (Quest): a volunteer with disabilities of her own, Kate has given total commitment and dedication to her role at Quest, taking great pride in everything she does. She has a maturity beyond her years and is now a coach in training.

Participant of the Year Titan Award – Isla Williams (Quest): from the start of her riding two years ago, Isla had very limited movement in her neck, shoulders, back and spine and her arms were locked bent at the elbow. Despite this, she has shown resilience and resolve, facing challenges head on and being creative to overcome her physical limitations, always rewarding us with her infectious smile. She is a true inspiration.

Horses of the Year – Jim (Cherry Park), Marigold (Epsom) and Fenella (Chalkdown)

Buchan Bobby Group Award – presented to Bradbourne (Kent) as the group who has battled through thick and thin, struggled to find horses who will stay fit enough to work and even take their drivers to great heights of regional and national competitions and a group who selflessly host regional events and lend their trainer, Sara Howe, for the wider benefit.

Tora Bray Award  Hilary Gilson, Chair, Cherry Park RDA. Despite her own difficulties, Hilary has steered the group through a tricky venue change and turbulent times, always as cheerful as she can be. She is totally committed to the Group and always trying new ways to raise funds and recruit new volunteers. 

Volunteers of the Year – Jo Angear (Heron’s Ghyll), Diana Cotell  and Joe Coulman (Epsom). 

Long Service Awards

25 years: Graham Bourne and Anne A’hearne (Godstone) Suzi Dyer (Court Meadow), Jennifer Capon and Sue Underhill (Happy Landings), Gill Sherratt (Kingley Vale), Jenna Leight and Jan Hills (Bradbourne)

30 Years:  Jan Abrahams (RDA UK), Gill Morrison and Fiona Bigg (Godstone).

35 years: Carol Rycroft (Court Meadow)

40 years: Stella Fuller (Horsehills), Paddy Porter (Court Meadow)

50 years: Trish Lebus (Happy Landings)

Plumpton double for Nicholls and Cobden

Trainer Paul Nicholls

PLUMPTON’S new jump racing season got underway in style this week with trainer Paul Nicholls and jockey Harry Cobden teaming up in the opening Maiden Hurdle race for a victory from promising French-bred Calva D’Auge.

The same winning trainer/jockey combination went on score a double, with 13-2 shot Dan McGrue in the two mile four furlong handicap hurdle later on the card

In treble form was jockey Nick Scholfield, who notched up three impressive winners in fine style, all for different trainers.

Jockey Nick Scholfield

He said after the race: ” I can’t remember my last treble – but it is the first of the season, so it is all good. Paul Henderson, Jack  Barber and Jeremy Scott are all good trainers to ride for- and I know the horses well, which was a great help.”

His first victory came in the Novice Handicap Chase over three miles one furlong for trainer Paul Henderson, with Crossley Tender at 12-1. The second was in the two mile three furlong handicap chase on board Shintori, trained by Jack Barber, and his final winner of the trio was on board Two Sams, trained by Jeremy Scott in the final handicap hurdle.

The Mares Novice Hurdle Race went to Penny Mallow, trained by Venetia Williams and well ridden to victory by Daryl Jacob. They finished three lengths clear of runner-up Outonpatrol. a 16-1 shot trained by Alan King and ridden by A P Heskin.

Jockey Daryl Jacob and winner Penny Mallow, trained by Venetia Williams
Photo courtesy of Plumpton Racecourse

Plumpton’s next meeting is a Sky Sports November Raceday on Monday November 18, when plenty of competitive jump racing will be on the card at this popular  Sussex National Hunt track.

Ballyoptic win sets Haydock and Grand National targets

TRAINER Nigel Twiston-Davies will enter Ballyoptic again for both the Betfair Chase at Haydock and then for the Grand National again, following a sjuperb performance at Wetherby yesterday.

At this popular northern track, ridden by Sam Twiston-Davies, Ballyoptic gave the trainer his fifth victory in this race, despite heavy rain and testing underfoot conditions.

This was the 50th running of the popular Grade Two race at Wetherby- and the second winner for this trainer there in the last three years .

Ballyoptic on his way to victory
Photo: John Simpson

Wetherby’s,two-day meeting started on good-to-soft ground but rain on Friday, followed by more overnight and during the day, jockeys reported that course conditions were much softer than that.

The consensus of opinion was that the track was riding way softer than that with ‘heavy’ being the consensus.

Some horses struggled on the softened track, but it suited the Scottish National runnner-up, Ballyoptic, whose previous chase wins had all been on soft or heavy ground, and being a Scottish National runner-up, had plenty of proven stamina.





Palomino pony transformed by charity

A Palomino gelding named Graham has been completely transformed since coming into the care of hard-working charity World Horse Welfare and going to an active life in a new home.

This success story highlights just how much rescue ponies have to offer as World Horse Welfare closes Rehome a Horse Month.

Graham arrived at World Horse Welfare in 2017, along with three other horses, after being found kept in a filthy stable, underweight and in poor condition. But thanks to the dedication of the team at the charity’s Penny Farm Rescue and Rehoming Centre, Graham, a Welsh cross standing at 11.2hh, flourished and was soon unrecognisable from the scraggly forlorn colt he was on arrival.

Graham on arrival at World Horse Welfare

Once Graham reached four years old, the team began his education in earnest and his potential as a future driving pony quickly shone through. Once he was ready, the team got him put to a carriage and he took to it like a duck to water.

Graham had only been driven twice when rehomers Nichola and Amelia Waddicor met him, but they could see his potential straight away. Nichola and Amelia, who compete as Team Khoja along with backstepper Morag, were extremely experienced with driving ponies and it was clear very quickly that they were a great match with Graham.

Nichola explained that Amelia, her daughter, was looking for another driving pony and Graham caught their eye saying: “For some reason Graham just took our fancy, so we applied for him online and then had a call from the team to have a chat about him. We traipsed up to Penny Farm in the middle of January – it was freezing! – to see him and Amelia just fell in love with him.”

A transformed Graham,  seen enjoying life  with Amelia, following successful rehoming by World Horse Welfare   Photo: World Horse Welfare

Following a successful home check Graham, then aged four, joined Team Khoja along with Caspian gelding Khoja and Dartmoor hill pony Cosmo.

Nichola and Amelia had initially planned that Graham would partner up with Amelia’s star pony Khoja, but the ponies’ paces proved too different for that partnership to work. However, Amelia then realised that Graham worked really well alongside Nichola’s pony Cosmo – at which point Nichola ended up handing over her pony and the dynamic duo was born!

Nichola said:“Graham’s absolutely full of it – he’s so inquisitive and bold, which is always good for driving. He’s always into the wheelbarrows, the poop scoop, the rugs…everything! He’s so lovable, he’s adorable, he really is.

“He’s so up for it and so willing, and that’s what you want in a driving pony. They’ve got to want to do it and he absolutely loves it. His ears are always forward looking for the next thing and we’ve got high hopes for him.”

Graham was allowed to grow into his role, following the lead of his experienced team-mate Cosmo, and the partnership went from strength to strength. Competing in the distinctive yellow colours of Team Khoja, Graham, now aged five, is thriving as a competitive driving pony and the team have high hopes for his future career.

Nichola continued: “Driving is so inclusive, anyone can do it. It doesn’t matter how old or how young you are; it’s a family atmosphere out there. It is not an individual sport – you can’t do it on your own – but you can have any pony at all and it is just the most inclusive and fun sport.

“If anyone is looking for a riding pony or a driving pony, I can 100% recommend that they should really try World Horse Welfare. I cannot fault this place – they were obviously totally open and you know if it doesn’t work out the pony can come back and will find a good home. The horses and ponies come with a full MOT and you couldn’t ask for more.”

Graham’s story shows just what rescue ponies can go on to achieve, despite a sorry start in life. If you’re feeling inspired to rehome by Graham’s success, you can see all the World Horse Welfare horses and ponies ready to find new homes now at www.worldhorsewelfare.org/rehoming

Goodwood’s 2019 Magnolia Cup raised £187,000

THE 2019 Magnolia Cup at Goodwood Racecourse this has raised a total of £187,000 for the charity Wellbeing of Women.

The ninth running of the annual charity race, run on Ladies’ Day at the Qatar Goodwood Festival in August, made headlines around the world when Khadijah Mellah completed the unlikely fairy tale by winning aboard the Charlie Fellows trained Haverland.

Magnolia Cup winner Mella following her victory Photo:Goodwood Racecourse

This year’s total means that the race has now raised in excess of £1.6 million for charitable causes since its inception and Goodwood is indebted to all the riders, silk designers, horse sponsors, trainers and owners who have supported the race.
Wellbeing of Women funds vital medial research in women’s health across the whole of a woman’s lifespan including pregnancy, fertility and birth.

Funds raised from the 2019 Magnolia Cup will help the charity to continue investing in the next generation of women’s health experts to develop new diagnostic tests, treatments and cures that will save and transform the lives of thousands of women and their babies in the UK and beyond.

Janet Lindsay, Chief Executive of Wellbeing of Women commented; “It was a real honour to partner with Goodwood for the unique and very special 2019 Magnolia Cup. The event was an enormous success, raising an incredible £187,000 to help save the lives of women and babies. It also helped to shine a spotlight on women’s health which is too often overlooked.

“We are so grateful to everyone at Goodwood, the inspirational jockeys for their generous support, the sponsors of the horses, the trainers and owners for supporting the event, helping Wellbeing of Women to find the next breakthrough in women’s health.”

It has been confirmed that the tenth Magnolia Cup will once again take place on Ladies’ Day at the Qatar Goodwood Festival in 2020, which falls on Thursday July 30 . The full list of riders, a designer and the charity partner will be announced later.

Riding A Dream – the sensational story of Khadijah Mellah’s journey, will be aired on ITV1 at 12:15pm on Saturday,November 2, immediately after the Rugby World Cup final.

Two racedays at Fontwell Park in November

Fontwell Park racecourse in West Sussex has two racedays to look forward to in November at this only figure of eight jumping track in the country.

The first is a Winter Afternoon Raceday on Friday November 8, when gates open at 11.30am for the six jumps races. The first race starts at 13.25, with the last one at 16.10pm.

Highly competitive jump racing at Fontwell Park
Photo: Jeannie Knight

This raceday will operate in one enclosure at this meeting. This means you can enjoy the perks of Premier Admission with a Paddock Ticket.

The second raceday in November features the return of the Southern National to Fontwell Park on Sunday November 17, which will be covered by ITV Racing. Gates open at 10.30am and the first of seven races is at 12.25pm.

The Southern National fixture is one of Fontwell Park’s biggest race days of the year. It is a three mile three furlongs test of endurance. Be there to experience the thrill and the action of National Hunt Racing at close quarters.
This race last year, sponsored by Sun Racing, was won by nine-year-old Shanroe Santos (IRE) trained by Lucy Wadham and ridden by local jockey Leighton Aspell.  This winner was sent off at 4-1 on that occasion.

Local jockey Liam Treadwell who rode the winner of the Sussex National at Fontwell Park in 2018 with Shanroe Santos, trained by Lucy Wadham    Photo: Jeannie Knight

Fontwell Park admission prices at this meeting include access to an additional bar, food outlets and betting facilities in the Land & Power Premier Grandstand,  as well as seating opposite the Winning Post and additional seating out on the terrace, overlooking Fontwell Gardens – the perfect, peaceful spot to study the form.
The relaxed nature at Fontwell Park carries through to its requirements for dress code,  with a smart casual policy for the Premier Enclosure and Hospitality suites.  Racegoers are asked to dress for the weather because Fontwell Park holds race meetings all year round and conditions can vary. 

Children under 18 go free when accompanied by an adult. ID may be required.


Judges announced for HOYS 2020

FOLLOWING the success of the 2019 Horse of the Year Show, the showing judges for the 2020 show have been announced.

Each year the NEC transforms into a hub for equestrian fans as they arrive in their masses to compete or watch who will be crowned the ultimate horse or pony of the year for their given discipline and championship.

The 2020 Horse of the Year Show will take place from Wednesday 7th – Sunday 11th October, with the first qualifier taking place in spring. Here is a list of the judges for HOYS 2020:

Class Conformation Ride/Show
British Ridden Heavy Horse W E Massey Jack Cochrane
Children’s Riding Pony of the Year Penny Clifford Stephanie Smith
Cob of the Year Moggy Hennessey Kathleen Barley
Coloured Horse and Pony of the Year Philippa Kirby Emma Boardman
Supreme In-Hand Championship Charles Gordon-Watson Rosemary Rennocks
Hack of the Year Anne Varley Lucinda Haines
Harness Champion of the Year Vanessa Neal Allen King
Intermediate Show Hunter of the Year Jack Cochrane Hannah Buchanan
Intermediate Show Riding Type of the Year Nigel Oliver Katie Davis
Junior M&M Ridden Pony of the Year Vivien Hampton Adrienne Dale
Ladies’ Side Saddle Horse of the Year John Maynard Jo Hales
Lead Rein Pony of Hunter Type of the Year Hannah Buchanan
M&M Mini Pony of the Year Nigel Oliver
M&M Ridden Pony of the Year To be released at a later date due to possible reformatting of the class
M&M Working Hunter Pony of the Year Lorayne Ahmet Anna Stevens
Maxi Cob of the Year John Poole Kathleen Barley
Mini Show Pony of the Year Anne Leaver
Miniature Horse of the Year John Maynard
Ridden Partbred Pony of the Year Anne Leaver Sarah Coulter
Ridden Purebred Arab of the Year Annette Dixon Jordan Cook
Riding Horse of the Year TBC John Poole
Shire Horse of the Year Richard Green
Show Hunter of the Year Mary Low Louise Daly
Show Hunter Pony of the Year Phillip Williams Clare Frost
Small Show Hunter of the Year Angus McDonald Margaret Hopkins
Supreme Horse and Pony of the Year To be confirmed
Working Hunter of the Year Angus McDonald Margaret Hopkins
Working Hunter Pony of the Year Sarah Coulter Peter Molloy

The M&M Ridden Pony of the Year judges will be released later this autumn while changes to the class format are discussed.

A list of qualifying shows/venues will be released in due course and tickets will go on sale in the New Year for what promises to be another exceptional event. For show information, visit https://hoys.co.uk/