Racing consultation on use of whip put on hold

The consultation on British racing’s whip rules and penalties, which was part of the recommendations made in the Horse Welfare Board’s landmark five-year strategy, has been temporarily postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Use of whip consultation temporarily postponed Photo: John Simpson

The British Horse Association has made the request as the consultation would have required large input from senior officials who are now working hard to deliver an operation plan for racing to deal with the current crisis.

The HWB’s independent chair Barry Johnson said the body had given its backing to the BHA’s request.

Johnson said: “The Horse Welfare Board fully supported the BHA’s request to postpone the planned consultation on the whip and will work with the BHA, at an appropriate time, to agree a new timetable. 

“We are keen to ensure that any consultation on the whip is done thoroughly and well, with maximum involvement from people in the sport, which would be enormously challenging in the current circumstances. 

“This postponement will allow British racing to focus on more immediate concerns relating to the welfare of people and horses. The Horse Welfare Board will support these efforts in any possible way and applauds the exceptional work that thousands of people in the industry are continuing to do on a daily basis, in caring for future, current and retired racehorses.”


Hickstead Derby meeting postponed

The Directors of the All England Jumping Course at Hickstead have released an official statement regarding their forthcoming season, in response to the current Coronavirus situation.
The All England Jumping Course at Hickstead

The Al Shira’aa Hickstead Derby Meeting, scheduled to take place from June 24 to June 28, has been postponed.

Organisers hope to be able to run in combination with their national show, the Science Supplements All England Jumping Championships, from September 1 to 6 September, subject to approval from the relevant governing bodies.

At present, preparations for the Longines Royal International Horse Show (July 21 to 26 ) are continuing, although this will be re-assessed on an ongoing basis.

The All England Jumping Course at Hickstead was first opened in 1960, and this season it is due to celebrate its 60th anniversary. The All England Jumping Course at Hickstead in West Sussex was founded in 1960 by Douglas Bunn, who had dreamed of creating a venue that could rival those on the continent.

In 2020, Hickstead is due to celebrate its 60th anniversary. The showground has been the venue for several World and European Showjumping Championships.

It now hosts two major international shows each year – the Al Shira’aa Hickstead Derby Meeting and the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ of Great Britain at the Longines Royal International Horse Show.

Friday nights at Goodwood 2020

Goodwood Racecourse’s electric Three Friday Nights presented by NOW TV is scheduled for the tenth year with its biggest names yet taking to the stage throughout June 2020- subject to Coronovirus having been eliminated.

The series begins on June 5 with Ibiza legend, house and techno veteran, Carl Cox. Followed on the June 12 by Guilford-born drum and base superpower Sub-Focus, before Mike Skinner spins the ultimate crescendo on the 19 June.

Expect high energy and good vibes from “The King of Ibiza” Carl Cox. In a career spanning five decades and four albums, Cox is perhaps known best for his unprecedented fifteen-year residency at the legendary Space Ibiza. He was a key part of Britain’s exploding rave scene in the late eighties and early nineties and has been a prolific producer ever since.

The boss of record label Intec Digital and owner of his own motorsport brand, Cox can often be found revving an engine at Goodwood Motor Circuit, but promises to bring a very different sort of noise to the racecourse.

Known as a maverick for mixing up familiar hard-hitting drum and bass with influences spanning all strains of dance music (from 80s synth to futuristic techno, dub-step, old-skool breakbeat, electro and rock) Sub Focus has had a profound influence on the landscape of the electronic scene. If the breadth of his hits is anything to go by – ranging from the heavy, super-charged “Rock-It” to the tear-jerking sound of “Tidal Wave,” it’s going to be memorable.

Back by popular demand is another pioneer and stalwart of the British music scene – Mike Skinner. Best known as the poetic lyricist and ingenious producer behind The Streets, Skinner is innovative with his work showcasing a fusion of sound.

His musical selections are as eclectic as his production capabilities, ranging from house to old-skool hip hop, via drum and bass bangers and peppered with his own, up to the minute remixes and classic tracks.

Three Friday Nights at Goodwood is known for being one of the most exciting series of events to take place on the South Coast, with DJ sets following an evening of horseracing. After the last race has been run and the sun sets, the parade ring transforms into a laser-lit dancefloor, and the atmosphere is ignited for three unforgettable nights.

Adult tickets start from £40, with Juniors (13-17) starting from £30. Hospitality packages start from £102. Tickets will be able to be purchased at Goodwood.com or by calling 01243 755055 subject to Coronovirus having cleared.

Coronavirus closes betting shops

No betting shops will be open in Britain for the foreseeable future after being included as part of the government’s shutdown of social and leisure life as it attempts to slow the spread of coronavirus.

Betting shops were included alongside the likes of cafes, pubs, museums, leisure centres and cinemas that have been asked not to reopen on Saturday after expert advice outlined “more needs to be done in order to tackle the spread of infection,” which has claimed 184 lives in the United Kingdom.

The closures, which firms privately fear could last for up to two months, were announced alongside a fresh range of measures from chancellor Rishi Sunak, including, for the first time by a UK government, an offer to pay 80 per cent of wages for employees at any business who would otherwise have been laid off, up to £2,500 a month.

Rishi Sunak

As well as stepping in to help pay the wages of staff, business VAT payments were pushed back until June and access to the Universal Credit benefit was opened up to the self-employed with the lifting of the minimum income floor, meaning the self-employed will be paid the same as someone on Statutory Sick Pay.

Sunak, said: “This is unprecedented in the history of the British state. Combined with the previous announcement, our planned response is the most comprehensive in the world. 

“We need a collective national effort with a role for everyone to play. It’s on all of us.”

The actions to protect businesses and employees were welcomed by the BHA, which has been working alongside representative industry bodies in racing on a financial submission to the government for aid and help after cancelling all racing in Britain until at least the end of April because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In a statement following the announcement, the BHA said: “The details that have been given so far will be analysed by senior executives, using the most recent information on the commercial revenues and employment generated by the racing industry. 

“A wide-ranging submission to government outlining the impact of the shutdown on racing and proposing areas for potential help is being adapted to respond to the chancellor’s announcement.”

Racing professionals also expressed their satisfaction with Sunak’s intervention to help businesses and employees. Group 1-winning trainer Michael Dods wrote on Twitter: “Still digesting details of the chancellor’s jobs retention plan but the government needed to act in a big way and, to be fair, that’s what it’s done. Hopefully, it could make all the difference to a lot of businesses, including those connected to the racing industry.”

The betting industry has been hugely impacted by the Covid-19 shutdown of sport, with shares in the likes of GVC Holdings, parent company of Ladbrokes Coral, William Hill and Flutter Entertainment, the group which contains Paddy Power and Betfair, falling significantly over the past two weeks.

In addition, betting shops were classed as not being eligible for the business rates relief Sunak had unveiled earlier in the week, something Michael Dugher, chief executive of the Betting and Gaming Council, believes should now be reconsidered due to the closures.

Dugher, a former Labour MP, wrote on Twitter: “Betting shops must close, rightly, because they are ‘leisure’ businesses, like clubs etc. Yet HM Treasury tells us that unlike all the other businesses on the list of those who must close, betting shops, casinos and bingo halls can’t access help with business rates. Time to rethink that?”

Prior to the government announcement, Paddy Power was the first layer to confirm it would be closing all its 350 betting shops in Britain from Friday night until the end of April.

Timetable for Horse of the Year Show 2020 released

 Ahead of tickets going on general sale at 9am on Wednesday 11th March, the timetable for Horse of the Year Show 2020 has been released allowing time to plan your visit in advance. With exciting display announcements still to come, you can view the timetable on the HOYS website: hoys.co.uk/timetable

Along with exceptional entertainment and displays, the first part of the week is packed with all the fan favourites including the Mountain and Moorland classes on Wednesday through to Friday, the Dressage Future Elite Championship on Thursday evening, and the prestigious Supreme In-Hand Championship showcasing on Friday.

Emile Faurie in action at a previous HOYS
Photo courtesy of HOYS

Things hot up on the weekend, as the Saturday daytime showcases championships galore in both the TopSpec Arena and the Andrews Bowen International Arena.

The evening performance is equally exhilarating with the final installment of the Osborne Refrigerators Scurry Driving Championship and the continuation of the international showjumping classes including the highly anticipated Puissance.

Sunday remains the ‘day of champions’ as the show comes to a climax with the crowning of the Horse of the Year Show Supreme Horse and Pony of the Year and the Leading Showjumper of the Year.

There is also get the chance to see the awarding of the much-coveted Prince Philip Cup to the Pony Club team who have raced their way to victory in the Mounted Games heats. Rounding off a fantastic programme of equestrian talent will be the finale celebrations on Sunday evening marking the end of another fantastic edition of Horse of the Year Show.

Set your alarms for 9am on Wednesday March 11 when tickets go on general sale through website hoys.co.uk/tickets and the Box Office: 0844 581 8282 (calls cost 7p per minute plus your phone company’s access charge).

Disabled bookings can be made by calling 0800 640 5001 and discounts are available for groups of 10+ through the Groups Booking Line on 0800 358 0058 or by emailing groups@theticketfactory.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cheltenham warning to racegoers re coronavirus

RACEGOERS are being told to stay away from next week’s Cheltenham Festival if they are experiencing any of the symptoms associated with coronavirus and if they have travelled through any of the high-risk countries or been in contact with anyone that has.

The public health notice has been released by Cheltenham Racecourse.

Cheltenham warns festival racegoers of virus dangers
Photo courtesy of Cheltenham Racecourse

It reads: “Do not travel to the Cheltenham Festival if: – You have any of the following symptoms – a cough, a high temperature or shortness of breath AND – You have been to or transitted through the high risk countries, or been in contact with anyone that has, in the last 14 days.

“To protect yourself and others please do not travel and call NHS 111 (GB) or HSE 112 (Republic of Ireland) for expert advice.

These measures are being taken in order for us to safeguard everyone’s health and wellbeing during the current public health situation. Thank you for your understanding. For more details, please visit gov.uk/coronavirus.”

Hickstead show jumping news- and an important fundraiser

The International show jumping season  at Hickstead is only four months away, and the excitement levels are hotting up .

Hickstead has some news for anyone planning to compete there this summer. There has been a brand new development at the All England Jumping Course with annual membership giving accessto more than 70 days of sport.

From March, a professionally-built course will be set up in the 2plan Wealth Arena (the new name for the Bunn Leisure Arena), which is also used for polo during the winter months. Hickstead showjumping schooling will be open for March, April and the first part of May, ahead of the international show season, from 8am to 6pm.

The course height will be marked on the wings at 90cms, clients will be allowed to alter heights as required as long as it is reset at the end of the hour. Distances will also be marked on the sand and must be reset as before.

The courses will be designed by top level British Showjumping and FEI course builders and will be changed regularly. The arena will be hired out for exclusive use for £50 per hour, with all bookings to go through the existing hicksteadschooling.co.uk website.

A Hickstead fundraising target of £10,000 has been smashed within days, as the horse world rallies round to help support showing producer Rory Gilsenan. Rory, the winner of the Charles Owen Working Hunter Supreme Championship  at Hickstead showground last July, was diagnosed with brain cancer in November 2018, and since then has undergone two operations as well as chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

Please support fundraising for Rory Gillsenan, pictured above.

Sadly, he has recently suffered a stroke that has left him paralysed down one side and almost unable to speak. This latest fundraiser aims to help support Rory and give him vital physiotherapy and speech therapy to help with his rehabilitation. If you’d like to donate, contact Hickstead

Meanwhile, the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup leg in Wellington saw all-female teams from Great Britain and the USA battle it out for the honours, with the two teams tying after two rounds of exciting jumping. But in the end the home side just bettered the Brits after a jump-off, with Beezie Madden shaving three seconds off Alexandra Thornton’s time to take the win.

The British leg of the series, will be held at Hickstead on Friday July 24.