Ascot big race could move to inner course after 30mm rain

The Qipco Champion Stakes and two other races on the round course at Ascot, due to take place this coming Saturday, October 19, have been affected by waterlogging after 30mm of rain at the weekend.

It is possible they could now  be moved to the inner course following emergency plans drawn up in 2016 to guarantee that racing takes place under the best possible underfoot conditions.

Ascot’s outer track, which would normally be used for the fixture and for all others on the Flat, was waterlogged in places following the downpour.

The inner track, left unwatered through the summer, unlike the Flat track, is good to soft, soft in places despite the heavy downpour that resulted in 134mm  rainfall on Ascot since September 21.

Clerk of course Chris Stickels

After walking the track on Sunday morning, clerk of the course Chris Stickels described conditions as the softest and wettest he had ever known them.

The change in going has resulted in a switch in betting, with French soft ground specialist The Revenant, trained  at Longchamp by Francis Graffard, emerging as current favourite.

West Hants Pony Club victory

West Hants Pony Club did it again in the final of the Thistledown Developments Pony Club Mounted Games Prince Philip Cup. Entering the final round of games in the lead on 81 points, there was still all to play for with the double points on offer at Horse of the Year Show.

The four teams through to the final round were; West Hants Pony Club, Atherstone Hunt Pony Club, Staff College & Sandhurst Hunt Pony Club and Strathearn Branch of the Pony Club. The Games this year were themed around the Pony Club’s 90th birthday and included games such as the balloon race, the birthday cake race and the traditional flag race with a celebratory twist.

Winners of the Prince Phillip Cup- West Hants Pony Club                 Photo: Julian Portch

With three riders from last year’s winning team, West Hants members led the way in the Pony Club’s 90th anniversary year. Showing great camaraderie, athleticism and skill, they embodied everything Prince Philip wanted to achieve when he set up the games 62 years ago. Going into the last game over 20 points ahead of the other three teams, it was clear that they would be out right winners.

The final scores were as follows:

  • West Hants: 127 points
  • Atherstone Hunt: 95 points
  • Staff College & Sandhurst Hunt: 85 points
  • Strathern: 83 points

The West Hants Branch was established in 1967 and their mounted games team is trained today by Jo Morris. Team member Libby Hawkins spoke for the team: “It’s absolutely amazing to win here once let alone twice! We just wanted to go out there and have fun because it is the last year on the team for some of us. Competing in the arena in front of so many people is an amazing feeling.”

The Pony Club is a training organisation where you can take part in rallies, train for Pony Club tests and earn achievement badges. The Pony Club is the only equestrian organisation to cover every discipline, including dressage, showjumping, eventing, Mounted Games, pony racing, polo, polocrosse, tetrathlon and endurance. Above all, you can make friends and have fun!

Membership is open to boys and girls under 25 years of age. For more information, visit the website www.pcuk.org or call 024 7669 8300.

Evie (87) fulfills ambition to spend a day at the races

When Evie Wallage pinned her hopes to the Wish Tree at her care home, she
never dreamed it would lead her to the Winners’ Enclosure at Lingfield Park Racecourse.
The 87-year-old not only fulfilled her wish to spend a day at the races, but was
proud to take centre stage at the Surrey track, by presenting the prize to
winning connections of Revestar, which won The Evie Wallage Wish Tree
Maiden Auction Stakes.

Evie Wallace making the presentation at Lingfield Park  Photo: Lingfield Park Racecourse

Evie, who lives at Bowes House Care UK home in East Sussex, was thrilled to see
her name in lights when she visited Lingfield Park.
“I had absolutely no idea there was a race named after me today until I arrived –
what a lovely surprise!’ said Evie, who was accompanied on her day out by Care
UK receptionist Frances Gaunt – a former member of the Lingfield Park raceday
sales team.
Frances, who retired from the racecourse in 2017 after a career spanning 30 years, said she was delighted to help Evie’s wish come true, saying: “It was wonderful to be able to pick up the phone to Lingfield Park and ask my old colleagues to organise this for Evie today.”
“I now work one day a week at the home and love to see the wishes come true for the residents.”

Grandeur wins Racehorse to Riding Horse Championship

It is always exciting to see a line-up of top-quality ex-racehorses who have swapped the track for the arena at Horse of the Year Show (HOYS). This time it was an ex-racer with 10 race victories and just under £600,000 of winnings, which showed that a successful change of career is entirely achievable.

Yvonne Jacque’s 10-year-old grey gelding Grandeur came to showing producer Jo Bates just six months after finishing his racing career as a six-year-old. It was third time lucky for the pair after they claimed the title, having been placed twice before in this class at HOYS.

Yvonne has owned ‘Grandy’ since a two-year-old, and he was race trained by Jeremy Noseda. He is now thriving in his showing career with Jo, having been placed third in the Hack of the Year last year, which he will contest again this year at HOYS.

Grandeur, winner of the Racehorse to Riding Horse Championship. Photo:

“What a star!” exclaimed Jo as she left the Andrews Bowen International Arena. “He was totally with me today and relished the big occasion.”

Jo said it is Grandeur’s intelligence which has made him so successful in the show ring. She said they have “travelled a long, hard road together” but he is “a very special horse.”

In second place was Lizzie Harris riding her own Lough Inch.

Sponsors, leading equine insurance brokers, SEIB Insurance Brokers provide cover for horses, horse boxes, yards and much more. The company has a long association with the showing world and is renowned for ‘putting something back’ by supporting many grassroots equestrian events and activities.

For full details, rules and entry forms visit www.search4astar.org.uk and click through to the RDA section. Find SEIB Search for a Star on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/SEIB.Search4AStar.

Williams and Whitaker share puissance win

The Ripon Select Foods Puissance, the class everyone had been waiting to see at Horse of the Year Show, was finally here. Showcasing an impressive line-up of international riders, including last year’s joint winners, Alfie Bradstock and Guy Williams, as well as Geoff Billington and Robert Whitaker who have both won multiple Puissance classes in their careers.

The riders did not disappoint, performing some breath-taking rounds to entertain the packed-out crowd on Saturday night at Horse of the Year Show. By round five, the 12 starters were whittled down to four to tackle the big red wall, set at an impressive height of 7ft2” (2.20m).

Robert Whitaker was up first riding Major Delacour who had never jumped a Puissance wall before tonight’s class. The 11-year-old chestnut gelding brushed off the pressure clearing the wall in remarkable style.

The win was just out of reach for Simon Buckley and Nano Healy who had each shown great courage to make it through the earlier rounds.

It was all down to Guy Williams to see if he could match last year’s win. A wave of suspense spread around the Andrews Bowen International Arena as he approached the wall riding last year’s winning horse, Mr Blue Sky UK. With experience on his side, the fearless grey gelding took off stride-perfect to take a joint win alongside Robert Whitaker. An exciting end to a crowd favourite at Horse of the Year Show.

Guy Williams has won four out of the four Puissance classes with the striking Mr Blue Sky UK, who is owned by Caroline Phillips. He said:  “He’s a really good horse and he just takes you to the fence. It’s almost like the bigger it gets, the better he jumps.

“He hasn’t done a Puissance since Olympia last year, it’s not something you want to do too often. In a Puissance it is really tempting to attack the fence early on, but I try and hold them until the last round. It’s a fun class to ride in and the audience really enjoy it which makes you want to win. ”

Guy Williams and Robert Whitaker in action Photo: Julian Portch

Robert was delighted that Major Delacour, owned by Clare Whitaker and Elaine Wood, had won his first ever Puissance: “I just knew he’d be a good Puissance horse. I’ve been riding him now for about a year and he is a very brave jumper. I couldn’t have asked any more of him tonight, he felt better and better each round.”

He added: “I’ will probably do the Puissance at Olympia and see if we can win there too.”

Ripon Select Foods are food ingredient manufacturers based in North Yorkshire. Headed up by Martin Wood, the Wood family have supported Horse of the Year Show for several years through their sponsorship of both the Supreme Horse of the Year and Children’s Riding Pony of the Year.

As a company, and a family, they are delighted to extend their sponsorship to cover the ever-popular Puissance class for the first time in 2019.

Charlotte’s fourth Dressage Future Elite title

Charlotte Dujardin maintained her hold on the Dressage Future Elite Champion  title, winning it for the fourth consecutive year at HOYS.

She has won the title with four different horses proving her sheer talent for producing horses to the highest level. Her win this year was with nine-year-old chestnut mare, Mount St John Valencia owned by Emma Blundell, performing a beautiful freestyle to be awarded a score of 78.041%.

Dressage Future Elite Champion Charlotte Du Jardin: Photo Julian Portch

The young mare has only been with Charlotte for six months, but she joins Charlotte’s strong line up of horses ahead of Tokyo 2020.

Becoming a regular at Horse of the Year Show, Charlotte commented: “I’m really proud of her [Valencia]. She only did her first freestyle at the British Dressage Championships in September and to ride into an arena like this with a big crowd and the big screen, I think she found it a little daunting.

“She hesitated a little in the changes, but she stayed composed. It is such great experience for these young horses to be able to compete at a show like this; you can’t replicate this kind of atmosphere anywhere. I feel honoured to be able to bring different horses here each year and she shows a lot of potential, she just needs more exposure and experience in the arena.”

Second placed rider, Katie Bailey, is a student of the training duo Charlotte Dujardin and Carl Hester and was delighted to have come second to Charlotte with Eagle Nouvelle, achieving an impressive 77.625%.

Charlotte commented: “I’m really proud of her [Valencia]. She only did her first freestyle at the British Dressage Championships in September and to ride into an arena like this with a big crowd and the big screen, I think she found it a little daunting.

“She hesitated a little in the changes, but she stayed composed. It is such great experience for these young horses to be able to compete at a show like this. You can’t replicate this kind of atmosphere anywhere. I feel honoured to be able to bring different horses here each year and she shows a lot of potential, she just needs more exposure and experience in the arena.”

Having ridden at Horse of the Year Show as a young girl, Charlotte is the idol of so many young equestrians in the audience this evening, she added: “It’s a privilege to be back here again this year, it was always a childhood dream to ride down that centre line under the spotlight at HOYS and I love coming here and seeing old friends that I grew up and competed with. For anyone out there wanting to follow their dream, I would say to just keep going.”

Simon is new Senior Foxhunter Champion

Simon Crippen has won the Equitop Myoplast Senior Foxhunter Championship riding Tim Peake’s seven-year-old gelding, Premier Titanium, at Horse of the Year Show 2019.

Often described as the class everyone wants to win, Tim himself had been placed in the Championship many times, coming closest in 2010 when he took second place with Wembley III. The Foxhunter Championship started in 1954, it is one of the longest standing Championships at HOYS and its popularity is down to it showcasing the very best of the country’s novice horses.

Taking home the highly-coveted Foxhunter goblet after a difficult course, Simon was thrilled with his win finishing on a time of 38.51 seconds. He commented: “Tonight everything went my way. I had a funny feeling today that we would do well, and I was 13th to go which is my lucky number.

Equitop Myoplast Senior Foxhunter Champion Simon  Crippen:  Photo courtesy of Julian Portch

I’ve been placed in this class a lot over the years, so to finally win was a fantastic feeling.”

Paul Barker and Matt Sampson, two riders known on the circuit for being quick in jump offs, were first in but their tight twisty turns cost them unfortunate penalties, leaving the field wide open to the other combinations. Simon continueD: “Seeing the previous riders pick up faults, I decided to ride a steadier round and aim for clear, then hope it might be just enough. It was a nice smooth round and flowed well. Luckily it paid off and I’m delighted.”Simon’s last big win at HOYS was in 1998 aged just 17 when he won the Senior Newcomers Championship riding Divine Des Cabanes owned by Judy Ross.

Today, more than 20 years later, he is back on top form with a talented young horse.

He said: “Premier Titanium is a really good horse; I think he could be a real star. I’ve been riding him for just over two years now and although he has been tricky to produce, he shows great talent. He was a stallion up until this summer and having him gelded has really helped him to focus which has enabled us to progress quickly over the last few months. To win this traditional stepping stone class feels extremely special.”

Runner up in the class and placing second was this year’s Burghley Horse Trials winner, Pippa Funnell, who last rode at HOYS in 2011 winning the Senior Newcomers riding Billy Balou. With two rides in the class, Pippa’s second place was with seven-year-old mare, Billy Picador, who produced a beautiful double clear just outside of the time, finishing on 40.40 seconds.

Equitop Myoplast® is a unique amino acid supplement specifically designed to support lean muscle growth, helping horses to respond and cope with the demands of training and rehabilitation. The blend of amino acids in Equitop Myoplast supports lean muscle growth in older horses that lose condition easily, those in intensive training or competition as well as young and developing horses.

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 https://hoys.co.uk/tickets/ 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.