Les Lions/ Great Oaks has victory in opening polo Gold Cup

THE much-anticipated start to the 2020 King Power Gold Cup at Cowdray Park Polo Club began with an impressive 14-10 victory for Les Lions/ Great Oaks over the highly touted Next Generation team featuring Adolfo Cambiaso and David Stirling to win the Carlos Gracida Memorial Trophy.

The second match of the day featured an exciting finish with Park Place scoring four goals in the final chukka to claim the 10-9 victory over Park Place Vaar, concluding an exciting opening day.

All eyes turned to the opening game of the tournament and it did not disappoint with Les Lions/ Great Oaks’ Bartolome Castagnola scoring an astounding nine goals, four of which came from the penalty line. A strong team defensive effort from Les Lions/ Great Oaks held Next Generation to just 40 per cent shooting from the field making the Cambiaso-led team work hard for every opportunity. Although they finished six from seven from the penalty line, Next Generation could not keep pace with the potent Les Lions/ Great Oaks offense in the 14-10 defeat.

Exciting Cowdray polo action behind closed doors observing Government rules. Photo: Mark Beaumont

The opening half showcased an evenly matched contest, with neither team able to build a large lead. Castagnola opened the scoring with a goal from the field and the penalty line, while Next Generation’sAdolfo Cambiaso and Stirling responded with a goal each, leaving the score tied at 1-1.

Filling in for the injured Camilo Castagnola, Alejandro Muzzio made his impact in the second chukka, scoring his first goal, while also collecting two assists as part of a three-goal chukka, giving Les Lions/Great Oaks the slim 5-4 lead. Scoring his third penalty goal of the half, Adolfo Cambiaso restored the tie, leaving the outcome to be decided in the second half.

Reorganised after a scoreless third chukka, Les Lions/Great Oaks came out strong in the second hald behind the efforts of Castagnola. Executing a combination of runs to goal and passes, Castagnola was responsinble for three of the six Les Lions/Great Oaks goals, while also adding two assists in the fourth and fifths chukka, leaving the Next Generations defence struggling to slow the quick attack.

Keeping their opponents pinned in their own half, Les Lions/Great Oaks build a commanding 12-7 lead, with just one chukka remaining, leaving the Next Generation defence struggling to slow the quick attack. Keeping their opponents pinned in their own half, Les Lions/Great Oaks build a commanding 12-7 lead with just one chukka remaining. A late push fromfrom Stirling was not enough to pull Next Generation within reach as Les Lions/Great Oaks completed the dominant 14-10 victory to begin the King Power Gold Cup.

The Carlos Gracida Best Playing Pony was awarded to seven-year-old chestnut mare, Calito Cielto, played by Ale Muzzion and owned by the Castagnolas.

A match-up between the two Park Place teams concluded the opening day of play in a thrilling finish, where a dominant finish from Park Place saw them beat Park Place Vaara 10-8.

British Open Polo Championships go under way at Cowdray Park

The King Power Gold Cup for the British Open Polo Championship 2020, Europe’s leading tournament, opens today, WednesdayJuly 1 at Cowdray Park, the Home of British Polo. The Final will take place on Sunday July 26.
Sponsored by King Power, the tournament is regarded as one of the top three polo competitions in the world, alongside the US and Argentine Opens. The Final attracts thousands of spectators annuallywho flock to the prestigious ‘Lawns’ polo grounds in West Sussex. However this year, due to current,government restrictions on spectators at sporting events, the competition will be held behind closed doors.

Exciting Cowdray polo action will be streamed live Photo: Cowdray Park Polo

Roderick Vere Nicoll, Chairman of Cowdray Park Polo Club, commented: “We are living inunusual times and it is terrific that we have 8 strong teams in the tournament. The two best players in the world, Adolfo Cambiaso and Facundo Pieres, are playing along with some rising young stars. It should be an exciting tournament and you can enjoy the Gold Cup on Cowdray TV.”

Sadly, spectators will not be permitted to attend matches, however all games will be live
streamed via Cowdray TV. The Club has collaborated with Polo Cam and InPlayer, the world’s leading pay per view subscription solution, to bring the sport to fans all over the world in the comfort and safety of their own homes. Eight teams will take part which will see some of the best players in the world in action.

The tournament will be played with the usual speed and skill of high-goal polo, under modified rules which adhere to HPA (Hurlingham Polo Association) and government regulations. Chris Bethell, Cowdray Park Polo Manager commented: “We are very much looking forward to play commencing. It has been a challenging start to the season. The grounds are in perfect condition; there are some exciting Gold Cup team entries and 2020 has the potential for newtalent to shine and perhaps provide an unexpected winner.”

New documentary celebrates 60 years of Hickstead

This summer marks 60 years since the All England Jumping Course at Hickstead first opened, and a new documentary on Horse & Country TV will showcase the incredible history of the showground.

The one-hour documentary ‘Hickstead: 60 Glorious Years’ charts the development of Hickstead from its inception in 1960 to becoming established as one of the best-known equestrian venues in the world. The programme has been produced by Lizzie and Daisy Bunn, daughters of the showground’s legendary founder, the late Douglas Bunn. 

Exciting action round the showjumping course is always guaranteed.

William Funnell in thrilling show jumping action at Hickstead Photo: Nigel Goddard

The documentary features many of equestrian sport’s biggest names, including David Broome, Eddie Macken, Nick Skelton, Laura Kraut and John Ledingham. Recent winners of the Al Shira’aa Derby such as William Funnell and William Whitaker reveal what it means to win one of showjumping’s most iconic classes.  

Hickstead is and always has been a family business, and in the show the Bunn family give exclusive insights into running the international shows, what goes on behind the scenes and how the showground has developed and diversified over the years. Interviews include Douglas’s second wife Sue, who shares her fascinating experiences of the creation of the venue and tells the famous story of why Hickstead’s Derby Bank is 18in taller than its Hamburg counterpart.  

Over the past six decades Hickstead has been the scene to many of showjumping’s greatest moments, and this rich history will be explored in ‘Hickstead: 60 Glorious Years’. The documentary will also look ahead to what the next 60 years might hold for the All England Jumping Course.

A must-watch for any fan of equestrian sport, Hickstead: 60 Glorious Years will be shown exclusively on H&C+. It premieres on Sunday 28th June at 8pm and can be viewed on-demand thereafter. To find out more visit horseandcountry.tv.

Tragic death of Liam Treadwell

A SUSSEX jockey who beat the odds to win a memorable Grand National has died at the age of 34. Liam Treadwell, who was born and bred in Arundel, West Sussex was found dead at his Shropshire home  this week.

Currently His death is unexplained and tributes have poured in from all sections of the racing community. The jockey learned how to ride at Castle Stables in his home town and went to Angmering School.

His parents, Lorraine and Mark, had both worked at Castle Stables for trainer the late John Dunlop, and Liam was brought up with racing.

In 2009 his name was in the headlines when the jockey won the 2009 Grand National on 100-1 shot Mon Mome, trained by Venetia Williams, for whom he often rode.

The racing community was left reeling on Tuesday after hearing of his death — at the age of just 34.

After being called to his home in Shropshire, West Mercia police said there was ‘no third party involvement’ in Treadwell’s death.

His tragic death comes less than four months after he was a pall-bearer at the funeral of his friend and former jockey James Banks, who had taken his own life. 

Venetia Williams described Liam, who had ridden many winners for her, as ‘ a lovely person and usually a happy person’ and said: “It’s a massive shock. I think we all thought he was in a good place now, having been through some tough times in previous years.”

“We thought his renewed career had put in him in a situation where he was happy. It is desperately sad news.We shared a day that was certainly the best day of my life, and I suspect of his.”

Together they had also won the Grand Sefton Handicap Chase at Aintree with Bennys Mist in 2015 and the Byrne Group Plate with Carrickboy at the Cheltenham Festival in 2013.

The tragic news has shocked the racing community and people everywhere who knew Liam and his family.

Racing behind closed doors at Goodwood

Tomorrow, Sunday June 14, there will be racing from Goodwood behind closed doors,shown on ITV4, 13:30 – 16:30pm.

In a statement, Goodwood said: “We are thrilled to invite you to join us online for racing behind closed doors, this coming Sunday and Monday. “

“The racecourse team has put together some exciting activities to keep you entertained , including a live zoom preview for both days and a tipping competition. We hope you enjoy getting involved.”

“We will miss our racegoers but we kindly request that you please do not attempt to watch the racing from any of the public sites surrounding the racecourse, including The Trundle.”

Goodwood added: “We hope you understand that, in line with Government advice, we want to actively discourage any public gatherings.”

Watch racing live from Goodwood on television

Family of wrens found in RDA stable

Good news to boost the spirits is always welcome, particularly given the current climate. So volunteers at Chalkdown Riding for the Disabled Group were surprised and thrilled to find a family of wrens nesting in an unexpected location recently.

Emma Ginger discovered the ‘self-isolating’ family in an old grazing muzzle that was hanging up in the entrance to the hay shed and snapped the fabulous photo as she was doing her usual daily yard duties looking after the ponies.

Members of Chalkdown RDA Group prepare for action: Photo and words by Joanna Sale

“It has been such a rewarding sight and gives us all a bit of hope in these unprecedented times.”

With the whole of the Riding for the Disabled operation shut down for Lockdown, it was a joyful boost to spirits when Eastbourne RDA discovered that they had a new addition to the Group on the way.

One of their lovely volunteers, Helen Waters, bought a cob mare called Coco last spring. “In the summer, we started to use her in our sessions and she was wonderful” says Sarah Groome from the Group. ”But by December, Helen began to have a suspicion that Coco was pregnant”.

At the end of January, her suspicions were confirmed by the vet and on March 21, right near the start of Lockdown, the adorable Arizona (Ari for short) was born!

Luckily, Helen keeps Coco and Ari at a friend’s yard and she arranged for Helen to ‘self-isolate’ in the groom’s accommodation so she could be close to the new arrival.

“I believe that this is Eastbourne’s first home-bred, RDA pony” said Sarah.

RDA ponies are very special as they have to look after their riders with a calm, well behaved manner. But Ari is already proving to be a great RDA mount in the making, having passed the ‘umbrella’ test with flying colours.

In the South East there are 35 groups across Surrey, Sussex and Kent with over 2,000 riders of all ages. They come to enjoy the experience of riding, carriage driving, show jumping, dressage endurance and western style, with opportunities to learn a new skill, enter competitions or even take a holiday.

This can bring a new dimension to necessarily restricted lives, encourage independence and does much to improve a wide range of medical conditions. We have the commitment of more than 1,000 volunteers who regularly and cheerfully give up their free time. Our instructors work closely with physiotherapists and other health professionals to encourage every individual to aim for attainable goals – some modest, others far more ambitious.



Goodwood racecourse has cancelled its three Friday night music events planned for June this year

Goodwood Racecourse has announced that, following guidance from the British Horseracing Authority (BHA), it is not able to run Its Three Friday Nights events as planned in 2020.

Sigma performing at a previous Goodwood Friday event Photo: Matt Ankers

In a statement, Goodwood said: “We are however pleased to announce that Sub Focus will now play on Friday 28 August, during our Bank Holiday Weekend fixture and Carl Cox is confirmed to play at next year’s Three Friday Nights, on  June 4 2021. ”

French racing restart behind closed doors

RACING in France is set to resume on Monday behind closed doors as a restart to action in Britain edges nearer.

The sport has been suspended in both jurisdictions since March 17 but police have given permission for racing to take place at Paris Longchamp track.

Edouard de Rothschild, president of governing body France Galop, has said the authorisation was “very good news”.

British racing is planning for a resumption this month, including 16 Group races on successive weekends.

British Horse Racing Authority has said that action can start within a week of any go-ahead from the government.

Horse racing action could resume in Britain
Photo: Jeannie Knight

Racing has continued without spectators, and with social-distancing protocols, at some tracks in the United States, Australia and Hong Kong.

Last year’s French Derby winner Sottsass is set to run in Paris for the first time since finishing third behind Waldgeist and Enable in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in October.

The unbeaten Victor Ludorum, favourite for the French 2,000 Guineas, could be among other runners at the meeting.

“We have had some strong support from the ministers in charge of racing – the ministers for finance and agriculture so it was more a question of local areas allowing us to proceed,” said France Galop chief executive Olivier Delloye.

“We have explained in close detail how we will race behind closed doors and we have had positive feedback from them.”

Hickstead 2020 international fixtures cancelled

Directors of the All England Jumping Course have released an official statement below regarding the cancellation of both Hickstead international fixtures in 2020.
The All England Jumping course at Hickstead Photo:: Craig Payne

“Following further government advice, it is with regret that we have had to make the difficult decision to cancel both of our international events for this year.

“These are the Al Shira’aa Hickstead Derby Meeting originally scheduled for June 24-28, and the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ at the Longines Royal International Horse Show from 21-26 July. 

“At this time, the health of our staff, competitors, officials, sponsors, trade exhibitors and visiting public is our top priority.

“We are currently working with the relevant showing societies to ensure that qualification where possible will be carried over to the 2021 Longines Royal International Horse Show.  

“The Hickstead office remains closed but all stakeholders will be contacted directly by email and will receive a refund as per our terms and conditions in due course. Competition prizes and gift vouchers will be valid for the corresponding day next year.

“It is still our intention to run our four-day national show, the Science Supplements All England Jumping Championships, from 3 – 6 September.

“We wish to thank all of our partners and stakeholders for their continued support during these unprecedented times.  We look forward to welcoming you back to Hickstead in the future.

Nick Gifford Racing continues fine tradition of training from Downs Stables at Findon

NICK GIFFORD is a successful trainer, based at historic Downs Stables, Findon, where his father, champion jockey, Josh Gifford, trained before him.

There are top class facilities for his string, and he has a great team working with him, including his wife, Ruth.


Pictured above: National Hunt trainer Nick Gifford receiving an award after one of his racehorses, Brandon Thomas won a key race at Plumpton.

Nick’s wife , Ruth, is an integral part of the team at the historic Downs Stables, where they both ride out and also host events there.

For full details about this training operation see: https://www.nickgiffordracing.co.uk/

Nick Gifford Racing

Address: The Downs Stables, Stable Lane, Findon, West Sussex, BN14 0RR