Zuba was a good Plumpton winner for trainer Nick Gifford

Zuba put in a fine performance at Plumpton yesterday for Findon trainer Nick Gifford, when winning the maiden hurdle for The South Downs Partnership, under a good ride from jockey James Davies. He was sent off as 5-4 favourite in the race.

ZUB A, trained by Nick Gifford at Findon, was a striking winner at Plumpton

There is plenty to like about this horse, for he more than justified going off as favourite and ran well to win this race for owners The South Downs Partnership. There should be much more to come and he will be an interesting horse to follow.

Zuba should benefit from the experience and go on to show even more potential. It was a strongly run race and he won by a comfortable 1¼ lengths from 50-1 runner-up Irish-bred Taylors Three Rock, trained by Tony Carroll and ridden by 7lb claimer Jason Dixon.

Taylors Three Rock is another horse which should show good potential to continue to improve as he develops.

PLUMPTON’S POPULAR CLERK OF COURSE HAS RETIRED

Meanwhile Plumpton has now said goodbye to popular long-time clerk of the course Mark Cornford, who retired on Sunday at the racecourse. Born in Plumpton village he had 41 years of full time service in that role when he retired on Sunday.

Mark Cornford- highly respected clerk of the course at Plumpton has now retired

He was born in Plumpton village and has always lived a stone’s throw from the jumps track. He first worked at the track with his father in the late 1960s before joining the groundstaff team permanently in 1980. He became clerk of the course in 2004 and continued in that role until Sunday. He was given a guard of honour to mark his dedication to Plumpton racecourse and will be replaced by Marcus Waters.

“I’m feeling alright about it,” he said. “I’m a local man and I love the family-type atmosphere you get at Plumpton.This has been something I’d been planning with the director.

Following the Government’s announcements on Monday February 22 2021, it was confirmed that no crowds would be allowed to return to outdoor sports venues until at the earliest Monday May 17..

Unfortunately Plumpton’s last fixture of the 2020/21 season is Sunday May 9, which means we will not see a crowd at any of its remaining 2020/21 fixtures.

“This is very disappointing news and we are sorry for any inconvenience caused, but also thank you for your patience and support. We very much hope to open with a great raceday on Sunday 19th September 2021 and we will send out details in due course. If you wanted to enquire about any restaurant or hospitality packages you had provisionally booked or you traditionally have in the Autumn/Winter, please do get in touch with Molly Taylor – molly@plumptonracecourse.co.uk.

Bob Champion faces kidney operation after he completes fundraising 40th anniversary walk


On Saturday this week, Bob Champion will complete the last ‘leg’ of #Bobs40For40Challenge, sponsored by Wasdell Group, by riding a chestnut horse up the same Sussex lane Aldaniti paraded as he returned home victorious from Aintree 40 years ago.

Grand National winning jockey and cancer survivor Bob Champion pictured at the 12th stop of his charity walk at Jonjo O’Neill’s yard Jackdaws Castle in the Cotswolds raising funds for the Bob Champion Cancer Trust.
Bob is half way through his marathon trek which started from Aintree on 11 April, the day after the Randox Grand National 2021, the 191 mile route represents the 191 days from Bob’s diagnosis on 24th July 1979, his months of gruelling treatment to then receiving the all clear on January 31 1980 before going on to win the Grand National the following year.

This comes as he admitted yesterday that he faces an operation in the next few weeks to remove a tumour on his kidney.

He said:” I had a very bad back pain just before I started my walk and scans showed I have a tumour on my kidney which needs removing. I was determined I would carry on with my 40th anniversary walk since raising money for the Bob Champion Cancer Trust has been my life’s work and I didn’t want to fall at the final fence when the money is still much needed.

“So far we have raised more than £55,000 and money is still coming in. Thank you to my sponsor Wasdell Group, and everyone who has walked and supported me.”

His 191-mile linear route to mark the 191 days of cancer treatment he underwent, started at Aintree on Sunday April 11, and has taken in many trainer’s gallops along the way. It will finish at 10.30am on Saturday 15 May as Bob, pictured below, walks a few miles on the famous Findon Gifford gallops, where Aldaniti was trained, as well as riding a horse not dissimilar to Aldaniti.

Members of the public are welcome to join him on his walk which continues on May 11 from Chris Gordon’s stables at Winchester, then Barkfold Manor KIrdford. On May 12 he will go to :
Gary Moore – Lower Beeding
David Menuisier – Pulborough 
Amanda Perrett – Pulborough 
Luke Dace – Pulborough

Then on May 14 he will visit Richard Rowe’s yard at Storrington, and Suzy Smith at Angmering before his final stop on May 15 at Nick Gifford’s yard at Findon.

Bob can be supported here by donating to:
https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/bob-champion2.

RETURN OF FLAT RACING

THE return of flat turf racing is just around the corner as the season gets underway at Doncaster Racecourse, this Saturday with the Unibet Lincoln weekend.

The first fixture at Brighton Racecourse takes place behind closed doors on Saturday April 17. Tune in on Sky Sports Racing to watch all the action live. 

Birghton is also very pleased to be able to welcome back spectators to experience the thrill of hooves thundering along the turf.

A spokesperson said : “We now have tickets on sale for all of our fixtures taking place between May 17- September 30. Tickets have been very popular, be sure to get yours before they’re all gone.”

Exciting racing action returns to Brighton. Photo: Brighton Racecourse

A statement from the Jockey Club said: “On February 22nd 2021 the Government announced plans to help the country out of its National Lockdown. As part of these plans racing fixtures staged from May 17 2021 will be able to welcome up to 4,000 spectators, if the Government’s tests are met for moving into Phase 3 of lifting lockdown restrictions.”

Similarly, if the Government’s tests and criteria are met, then indoor conferences and events of up to 1,000 people will also be possible from May 17. The Government will provide further guidance nearer the time.

The Government also announced that events staged from June 21 2021 will be able to operate at pre-pandemic capacities, if the Government’s tests are met for moving into Phase 4 of lifting lockdown restrictions.

FLAT RACING TO RETURN TO BRIGHTON IN APRIL

Brighton racecourse has announced that the return of flat turf racing is just around the corner as the season gets underway at its sister track, Doncaster Racecourse, this Saturday with the UNIBET Lincoln weekend.

The first fixture at Brighton Racecourse takes place behind closed doors on Saturday April 17. Be sure to tune in on Sky Sports Racing to watch all the action live. Then racing returns for the public from May 17.

Top Flat Racing returns to Brighton Photo courtesy of Brighton Racecoure

A spokesperson said: “We now have tickets on sale for all of our fixtures taking place between May 17- September 30. Tickets have been very popular, be sure to get yours before they’re all gone!”

Richest horse owners in the world…

NEW research has looked into net worths of horse-owners to reveal who’s the richest in the paddock…
Top 10 Richest Horse Owners

RankOwner NameNet Worth
1Alain Wertheimer£24,714,592,500
1Gerard Wertheimer£24,714,592,500
3Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan£12,906,810,000
4Kirsten Rowsing£10,182,039,000
5Mohammed Bin Rashad Al Maktoum£10,038,630,000
6John Malone£5,372,737,000
7Anthony Oppenheimer£3,656,929,500
8Aiywatt Srivaddhanprabha£2,653,066,500
9Bradley Wayne Hughes£2,220,731,500
10John Magnier£2,212,179,590
10Susan Magnier£2,212,179,590

Two brothers share the top spot on this list with an estimated fortune of just under £25 billion. Alain and Gerard Wertheimer co-own fashion house Chanel and have seen success from champion racehorses such as Kotashaan.

The Weirtheimer brothers Alain and Gerard


The rich list is full of royalty from around the world, with members of the ruling households of Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Great Britain and Qatar all featuring.
Top 10 most valuable horses below:

RankHorse NameInflation Adjusted Price
1Fusaichi Pegasus£97,398,384.00
2Shareef Dancer£89,502,732.00
3Seattle Dancer£22,341,463.00
4Snaafi Dancer£18,821,425.00
5Green Monkey£17,756,622.00
6Imperial Falcon£14,583,013.00
7Annihilator£13,640,000.00
8Ajdal£12,787,075.00
9Jareer£12,571,563.00
10Laa Etaab£11,925,025.00

Top 5 highest paying horse races

RankRace/Race Meeting NameTotal Prize FundCountry
1Saudi Cup£14,379,100.00Saudi Arabia
2Dubai World Cup£8,627,460.00UAE
3The Everest£7,764,714.00Australia
4Royal Ascot£7,300,000.00UK
5Breeders Cup Classic£5,032,685.00USA

The upcoming Cheltenham Festival (starting on Tuesday 16th March) is further down on this list, ranking in 20th position with a total prize fund of £625,000.

The Loch Lomond Whiskies National Spirit Hurdle at Fontwell Park tomorrow, Sunday, February 28

THE National Spirit Hurdle is the most valuable and prestigious race in Fontwell Park’s racing calendar, and always promises a thrilling day. Named after the winner of the champion hurdle in the 1940’s, this race continues to attract some of the finest racing talent in the country.

This year it takes place this Sunday, February 28 and the Grade 2 £50,000 National Spirit Hurdle has a new sponsor- Loch Lomond Whiskies– an independent distiller and blender of some of the rarest scotch whiskies in the world. The company also produce a range of popular vodkas and gins. 

Unfortunately, Coronavirus has meant that this year, Lomond Whiskies National Spirit Hurdle will have to be held behind closed doors. The race has always attracted a quality field of runners and recent winners include Vision Des Flos, Old Guard, Camping Ground and Lil Rockerfeller.

Champagne PIAFF is expertly blended by 6th generation wine makers Épernay and can be ordered direct from their cellar to your door. www.champagnepiaff.com

Eleven times champion trainer Paul Nicholls has won the race three times including with Celestial Halo ten years ago.

Celestial Halo, trained by Paul Nicholls on the way to victory Photo by John Simpson

This year Paul Nicholls has entered the highly regarded McFabulous, winner of the Grade 2 Unibet Persian War Novices’ Hurdle at Chepstow last October.  Also entered is the 2019 Grade One Betfair Fighting Fifth Hurdle winner, Cornerstone Lad from the Micky Hammond yard and the Harry Fry trained If The Cap Fits, successful in the Grade One Liverpool Hurdle at Aintree in 2019. 

There are eight entries in total for the big race :  Ballyandy, Brewin’upastorm,  Call Me Lord, Cornerstone Lad, If The Cap Fits, McFabulous, and Molly Ollys Wishes and Reserve Tank.

It is 20 years since dual Stayers’ Hurdle winner, Baracouda, won the National Spirit Hurdle for owner JP McManus and trainer Francois Doumen. 

The seven race card starts at 2.10pm and is live on Sky Sports Racing.

Frustrating time for horse racing says Plumpton

Dan, Holly and the team at Plumpton have been reflecting on the lack of positivity regards to racing generally and feel the timings of lifting restrictions have been poorly placed.

They said: “For example, the Grand National is run on Saturday April 10 but the betting shops don’t open until Monday April 12 which will cost the industry a huge amount of levy from bookmaker payments which help fund the sport.

“Similarly, crowds in full may be allowed from Monday June 21, but Royal Ascot is run between June 15-19 and we are not sure if moving such large events would be possible, but it would be hugely beneficial if they could.

They added: “Similarly, we were disappointed with the announcements from our own perspective, as our funding now faces some restrictions and as it stands it doesn’t look like we will have any crowd before September.

Racing action could be back at Plumpton later this year Photo: Jeannie Knight

“Our last fixture of the 2020/21 season is Sunday May 8, but it doesn’t look like crowds will be allowed before Monday May 18 -and so that is quite frustrating!”

Dan said:” I am just exploring whether we can move any of our April or May fixtures to different dates (to allow attendance!) and if we can have a crowd as a “pilot” but to be frank with you all, it looks unlikely.

“This will no doubt be very frustrating for you to hear and it likely brings to a conclusion a long and strange season. Once I hear about the fixtures mentioned above, I will get back in touch and I’ll also provide options on the membership details for 2021/22 where it looks like full attendance will be allowed….we hope. There will of course be options regarding your money held here and again, I’ll re-iterate my thanks to you all for the support and understanding.”

In more positive news, last weekends racing was particularly enjoyable and also successful and Plumpton’s “home team” trainers. One of Plumpton’s favourite teams (The Moores) had a super day at Wincanton, with Goshen romping home in the Kingwell and firmly back into the picture for the Champion Hurdle.

“We’ll be in touch with you again ASAP, and our apologies that we can’t get you back with us sooner but we hope in your own lives there can now be some more to look forward too.

“Meanwhile the Grand National is run on Saturday April 10 but the betting shops don’t open until Monday 12  which will cost the industry a huge amount of levy (bookmaker payments which help fund the sport) and similarly, crowds in full may be allowed from Monday June 21 but Royal Ascot is run between June 15 and 19. I’m not sure if moving such large events is possible, but you never know and it could be hugely beneficial if they could.”

Expect top class jump racing at Plumpton when racing resumes. Photo: Jeannie Knight

“Similarly, we were disappointed with the announcements from our own perspective, as our funding now faces some restrictions and as it stands it doesn’t look like we will have any crowd before September. Our last fixture of the 2020/21 season is Sunday May 9 and as it stands, it doesn’t look like crowds will be allowed before Monday May 17- and so that is quite frustrating!

” I am just exploring whether we can move any of our April or May fixtures to different dates (to allow attendance!) and if we can have a crowd as a “pilot” but to be frank with you all, it looks unlikely.

“Once I hear about the fixtures mentioned above, I will get back in touch and I’ll also provide options on the membership details for 2021/22 where it looks like full attendance will be allowed….we hope. There will of course be options regarding your money held here and again, I’ll re-iterate my thanks to you all for the support and understanding.”

“In more positive news, the weekends racing was particularly enjoyable and also successful for Plumpton and its “home team” trainers. One of our favourite teams (The Moore’s) had a super day at Wincanton, with Goshen romping home in the Kingwell and firmly back into the picture for the Champion Hurdle.

“Chris Gordon’s Annual Invictus has been a winner with us twice this season (and you saw one of them live on December 14 as this horse flew home in the Betfair Hurdle to finish fourth.

“Andy Irvine (Zoe Davison’s husband) had a first winner at Market Rasen with Blarney Bateleur at 28/1. Some of our past winners also developed into “Saturday horses” too in Thibault (2nd at 80/1!) at Ascot, The Two Amigos following up his Welsh National runner-up achievement with a  fine 3rd in the Grand National trial at Haydock,.

“First Lord de Cuet bolted up at Wincanton and Gellino Bello followed up his fine December win here with a third in the listed bumper at Newbury on Sunday. It’s great to see that good horses are still coming here and progressing on nicely.

“We’ll be in touch with you again ASAP, and our apologies that we can’t get you back with us sooner but I hope in your own lives there can now be some more to look forward too.”

Best Wishes,

Dan, Holly & Team at Plumpton

RACING AT PLUMPTON HAS BEEN ABANDONED TODAY

Plumpton Winter Raceday – Monday February 8 2021 cannot go ahead

Racing at Plumpton today was subject to a morning inspection, and was abandoned because of rain, snow and frost. If the card had gone ahead it would have been racing behind closed doors.

A Plumpton spokesman said:”So this is February! And it all feels remarkably similar as we are still struggling against the elements (rain, snow and a frost threat) and we still race behind closed doors.

“Unfortunately I don’t have any further insight as to when we might be able to get you back with us, but as soon as we do we will get in touch and please remain assured we will get you back as soon as we can.

WINTER RACEDAY AT PLUMPTON SUBJECT TO INSPECTION

A RACEDAY at Plumpton today, Monday January 25, is still subject to a third inspection.

Monday’s other scheduled jumps fixture at Market Rasen was cancelled on Sunday due to a frozen track, which could leave all-weather fixtures at Chelmsford and Kempton as the only action of the day if Plumpton does not go ahead.

Plumpton Racecourse had been hoping that there is no further frost, after a heavy frost yesterday. It had taken the precaution of holding an inspection at 8am because frost had been forecast overnight.

A statement from the track said: “One of the difficulties we have found in the current lockdown is that we don’t have an end date like we did in November/December and so whilst we optimistically hope for relaxations, it feels like more of a slog than ever -especially with Storm Christoph doing his worst.

Below is an example of some damage to our beloved racecourse.

An image

But don’t worry, we had it gone the same day!

As ever thanks for sticking with us and being so understanding. It’ has been a real pity as if you’ve been watching on TV, there has been some really enjoyable racing and the January Jumps fixture was a cracker with some lovely novice performances from Here Comes Johnny (Olly Murphy) and Gericault Roque (David Pipe), although Natural History and Loughan made a thrilling race of Gericault Roque’s victory (a race over 6 seconds quicker than the other division of the same race).

High Up In the Air won his third Steeplechase in a row this season with another beautiful round of jumping for Gary Moore, however Cyclop winning the Veterans Race (Minimum Age to run is 10 years old) from the 150/1 shot Young Turk was the day’s highlight.

The introduction of Veterans’ Races has been a fantastic initiative which seems to be enjoyed by all of the sport, but we can’t have too many as you would not get the runners .It is amazing to think Altior is 11 going for the Champion Chase and how Faugheen won his Grade 1 Chases in Ireland last year as 12 year old).

Let’s hope today’s card is as competitive and enjoyable as the last few. If you wanted a few tips, please do have a look at the Tote’s tips for the day here, and the racecard is also attached.

In the meantime, have a great rest of the weekend and we’ll keep you updated on any developments and if we get to know anything about getting out and about again!

Buzz is likely to run in Betfair Hurdle

A PARTICULARLY striking performance by the Nicky Henderson-trained Buzz, has earmarked this talented grey horse for a tilt in the Betfair Hurdle, which is likely to be his next outing.

Buzz finished third on his first outing of the season in the Welsh Champion Hurdle behind Sceau Royal. That was an impressive performance itself, but he went on to clock up an easy win at Ascot in November, when he won the race by seven lengths.

Trainer Nicky Henderson Photo: John Simpson

Although he was given an 11lb weight rise for that impessive victory he returned to Ascot four weeks later to contest the Betfair Exchange Trophy and finished runner-up to the winner that day- Not So Sleepy- who was receiving 6lb .

The grey finished third on his first outing of the season in the Welsh Champion Hurdle behind Sceau Royal, before bolting up at Ascot in November by seven lengths.

Raised 11lb for that success, he went back to Ascot a month later for the Betfair Exchange Trophy and beat all bar a rejuvenated Not So Sleepy, who was receiving 6lb and won the race for the second year in succession.

Buzz (left) gets his head in front on a previous run Photo: John Simpson

“The irony of his last run was that we were beaten by a horse trained by Hughie Morrison – who we bought Buzz off! I don’t think Buzz really saw the winner on the other side of the course, but our horse ran a blinder off top-weight!”

“We’ll keep an eye on everything. It’s unlikely to dry out too much, but he does like soft ground. Top-weights don’t have a great record in the race – which is something else to consider.”

Stafford is mindful of a proliferation of dangerous opponents in what is always a hugely competitive race.

“You usually want to be a novice on the up,I suppose the ones who have stuck out so far have been Cadzand, who was impressive at Kempton, and maybe Llandinabo Lad. Of course there’s the Tolworth winner (Metier) too, who could run – so there are plenty to be wary of.”

“We could use a conditional to take some weight off – but I haven’t discussed that with Nicky yet. I think there’s a fair chance he’ll run, though.”