Good racing at Plumpton

Trainer Chris Gordon and jockey Tom Cannon were back in winning form at Plumpton’s latest meeting today, when they teamed up with six-year-old Baddesley Knight to take the opening race on the card.

Baddesley Knight on the way to victory.
Picture copyright SD Photos

The six-year-old was sent off at 1-2 favourite and justified the price by winning comfortably by more than three lengths from Colin Tizzard’s runner, Fly To Mars, with Charlie Longsden’s 12-1 shot Mach One, ridden by Johnathan Burke finished third

Trainer Paul Webber’s trip from Oxfordshire to Plumpton was made worthwhile when his runner Very Live, was a 7-1 winner of the two miles one furlong handicap chase, under a good ride from Gavin Sheehan , winning by just under three lengths from 12-1 shot Edgar, trained by David Bridgwater and ridden by 5lb claimer, Mitchell Bastyan.

Newmarket trainer Lucy Wadham, who has a good record with her horses over jumps, was in the winner’s spot when her seven-year-old gelding Potters Hedger was well ridden by Jack Quinlan, justifying as 5-2 favourite.

They finished eight lengths clear of David Pipe’s 3-1 shot Three Star General with Gary Moore’s Ruby Yeats, ridden by son Jamie, in third place.

Ulan Bute, an 11-year-old gelding trained by Venetia Williams, and ridden by Charlie Deutsch showed he can still win well by taking the Veterans’ Handicap Chase over three miles one furlong in good style, with good jump at the last ensuring victory.

Winners Uhlan Bute and  Charlie Deutsch   and their way to  victory Copyright  SD  Photos

Sussex trainer Suzy Smith, who is based at Lewes, enjoyed a good win in the two mile four furlong novice hurdle.

Trainer Suzy Smith with Gavin Sheehan at Plumpton   Photo: Jeannie Knight

Her impressive runner, Debestyman, sent off at 7-4, and ridden by Gavin Sheehan, beat 13-8 favourite Manning Estate, ridden by Leighton Aspell and trained by Oliver Sherwood into second place- with Colin Tizzard’s 6-1 shot Coastal Drift into third place.

The final two mile  handicap hurdle was won by 11-4 shot Generous Jack, trained by Suzy Best and ridden by Darryl Jacob, finishing eight lengths clear of the field.


Good day of racing at Fontwell Park

FONTWELL Park had perfect conditions for jump racing at this popular track on Monday when a good crowd enjoyed competitive racing.

The opening handicap hurdle race, over two miles three furlongs,  was won by Not Never, sent out by Horsham trainer Gary Moore, and ridden by son Jamie. This seven-year-old chestnut gelding had been useful on the Flat but has been even better over jumps, since transferred to handicap hurdles.

Winner Not Never, trained by Gary Moore and ridden by son Jamie Photo: Jeannie Knight

He was in fine form at Fontwell when taking the race comfortably, beating runner-up Wind Place and Sho, trained by James Eustace at  and ridden by Kielan Woods.  Third place went to Rough Night, sent out by Alex Hales, based at Edgecote.

Trainer Oliver Sherwood was delighted with the win in the Maiden Hurdle Race by six-year-old bay mare Millarville, ridden by Aiden Coleman. He revealed the mare had suffered from a soft palate, which had been cauterised successfully. “Aiden held her up early on and she jumped the last well,” he said.

Winner Millarville, trained  by Oliver Sherwood pictured with jockey Aidan Coleman and owners Photo: Jeannie Knight

Bryony Frost continues to impress as a jockey and she was in fine form in the handicap steeplechase over three miles two furlongs, partnering Midnight Bliss, a 5-1 shot, to a half-length victory. The winner is trained by Caroline Fryer at Wymondam. Runner-up Cucklington ridden by Harry Cobden for trainer Colin TIzzard was sent off favourite and Robinroyale  (Johnny Farrelly and Tom Cannon, was third.

The Maiden Hurdle race over two miles and three furlongs saw a field of 12 runners take part and an unfortunate incident at the start saw some long-priced results.

The 1/2 favourite French bred Umndeni, trained by Philip Hobbs and ridden by Richard Johnson, was bumped into at the start, unseating RIchard  Johnson and 66-1 shot, My Destiny,  which won by a nose, was trained by Brendan Powell at Upper Lambourn and ridden by Brendan Powell Junior.

My Destiny with jockey Brendan Powell
Photo: Jeannie Knight

Colin TIzzard’s Carrick Road, owned by Brocade Racing with Harry Cobden up, was the unfortunate runner up, beaten only by a nose, while Crossley Tender was third, trained by Paul Henderson and ridden by Nick Scholfield.

The two mile three furlongs handicap chase was comfortably won by Night Of Sin, sent off at 3-1, trained by Nick Williams and ridden by Harry Cobden.

The final race, a handicap hurdle , which was won well by the 100-30 favourite, Sky Full of Stars, a nine-year-old gelding trained by Chris Gordon and ridden by Tom Cannon.

The next meeting at Fontwell Park is on Sunday January 27.

Competitive card at Fontwell races tomorrow

Competitive jump racing is promised at Fontwell Park tomorrow, Monday January 14, with all races well-subscribed.

The first race at 1.20pm is a handicap hurdle over two miles three furlongs with twelve runners.  In the opening two mile three furlong handicap hurdle, the field is headed by Not Never, a seven-year-old chestnut gelding trained by Gary Moore, and ridden by son Jamie.

Horsham trainer Gary Moore

Not Never has two previous wins to his credit at Plumpton early last year but was well beaten when he reappeared at Ascot in December, after a  very  long break -but will have come on since then .

Stablemate Master of Speed, to be  ridden by Joshua Moore, runs in the same Fontwell race. This seven-year-old has one win to his credit in 2016 at Kempton for Moore and had been off since then until a run at Kempton over Christmas.

Another stablemate Dancecraft, fourth last time out, runs in the second race, a Mares Maiden Hurdle, where opposition includes past winner Oriental Cross, trained  by Tim Vaughan and ridden by William Kennedy, which was third on his last outing.

Dan Skelton runs five-year-old So Lonely in the race, placed four times this season and ridden by Harry Skelton.

Harry Skelton with a past winner at Fontwell Park
Photo: Jeannie Knight

Eight runners contest the three miles two furlongs handicap chase. Caroline Fryer runs Midnight Bliss with Bryony Frost in the saddle. Midnight Bliss was pulled up last time out but has clocked up four good wins this season.

Meanwhile Invicta Lake, trained at Lewes by Suzy Smith, was fourth at Fontwell Park in early December and improved on  that, finishing third at Fontwell Park on Boxing Day.  The 12-year-old gelding seems better suited by Fontwell than other tighter tracks and could go on to do even better there.

The two mile three furlong maiden hurdle race has twelve runners and Carrick Roads, trained by Colin TIzzard and in-form jockey Harry Cobden could well win this race.

In the two mile three furlong handicap chase, trainer Lawney Hill travels triple winner Clondaw Westie from Oxfordshire to be ridden by Aidan Coleman. Her eight-year-old gelding was a dual Fontwell winner last season and clearly likes this track, and this trainer rarely goes away empty handed from here.

Trainer Chris Gordon and jockey Tom Cannon Photo: Jeannie Knight

The final race- over two miles 1½furlongs-could go to Sky Full of Stars, trained  by  Chris Gordon and ridden  by Tom Cannon. This nine-year-old gelding was second at Fontwell last time out and should improve on that.

Don’t miss Fontwell Park’s National Spirit day

The richest and most prestigious race in the Fontwell Calendar- the National Spirit Hurdle Race-  will be run for the 54th time on Sunday February 24 at Fontwell Park racecourse

This race is certain to attract some of the country’s finest talent. This £80,000, Grade 2 race originated 53 years ago and is named after the dual winning champion hurdler, National Spirit.

Past National Spirit Hurdle winner Lil Rockerfeller with connections in the winner’s spot Photo: Jeannie Knight

After the prize fund increased by a further £30,000 in 2016, the National Spirit Hurdle has continued to attract some of the best horses with excitement beginning to build for months in advance.

Recent winners include Old Guard, Lil’ Rockerfeller,  and Black Corton.

At Fontwell Park, there are two enclosures to choose from:

The Grandstand & Paddock Enclosure which grants access to three grandstands, the parade ring, winning circle and a number of bars and food outlets.

Or, you can choose the Premier Enclosure which includes entry to all of the above – plus access to the ground floor of the Premier Grandstand. In here, you’ll find a large indoor bar, the Premier Café as well as seated viewing overlooking the Winning Post. There is also access to a beautiful rear terrace – the perfect quiet spot to study the form.

Popular ticket options include the Premier Lounge Enclosure with a raffle and live auction presented by resident tipster Colin Brown. The £95 package includes a hospitality ticket, champagne reception, three course served meal, tea, coffee and chocolates, afternoon tea and cake, a Raceday programme, table for the day in the Premier Restaurant and reserved car parking.

Top jockeys and family atmosphere at Fontwell Park

There is also a £29 complete raceday package includes Premier Enclosure Ticket, Raceday Programme, £2 bet, Drink & Hot Meal from the Premier Café. PLEASE NOTE: This package is only available in advance and must be purchased by midnight the day before racing. *Drink Includes selected Draught Beer, Wines & Soft Drinks.

The Premier enclose allows access to all public areas of the racecourse, including the ground floor of the Premier Grandstand and Fontwell Gardens.

The Premier Grandstand offers additional indoor and outdoor seating opposite the finishing post, as well as a terrace area over looking Fontwell House and Gardens. There are full food and drink facilties as well as betting and flat screen television to watch the racing action close up.

Meanwhile there is racing at this popular track tomorrow, Monday January 14, with the first race at 1.20pm, followed  by fixtures on Sunday January 27 and Thursday February 14.



Glen Rocco wins again for Downs Stables

Glen Rocco fulfilled all expectations for West Sussex trainer Nick Gifford at Kempton Park races today, Saturday. He was sent off as 11-4 favourite  and won the three mile handicap chase by 23 lengths from Colin Tizzard’s Bally Longford at 9-1.

An eight-year-old chestnut gelding, by Shirocco, Glen Rocco has always been highly regarded and has proved to be a progressive horse.

Glen Rocco, trained by Nick Gifford at Downs Stables, Findon Photo: Jeannie Knight


He put in an excellent performance to win the three mile handicap chase comfortably under a fine ride from jockey James Davies,

There has always been plenty to like about Glen Rocco, owned  by Jeremy Khyle,  G Mason and D Stevens.

This eight-year-old chestnut gelding has been brought on patiently by Nick Gifford at the famous Downs Stables at Findon and placed carefully in races to suit him.

By Shirocco, which missed last season. This horse, which has a distinctive white blaze, is owned by Jeremy Kyle, G Mason and D Stevens, is half brother to a horse which won the famous Czech race, the Velka Pardubicka, which is run over varied and testing terrain.

Attention to detail in his training has reaped a good reward at Kempton where Glenn Rocco, partnered by James Davies, scored a memorable  victory after jumping fluently throughout the race.

Nick Gifford Racing commented:”Glen Rocco jumps for fun and was given a great ride by James Davies to win this three mile chase at Kempton . A big shout out to Vova who led him up and rides him everyday at home .

“Rocco is a pretty strong ride and has been bouncing and fresh since his last run on Boxing Day . His owners are thrilled and as are all the team at home.”

Trainers contest new shoeing rule for racing

A ROW has broken out about a new rule being introduced by the British Horse Racing Authority, which will insist that all horses taking part in jump racing should be fully shod for safety reasons.

The regulation already applies in Flat races and is set to come into force over jumps on February 1, in the belief that it will make jump racing safer by reducing the risk of horses slipping.

But there is widespread opposition to the move to introduce the rule for jump racing. One trainer said: ” Jump racing is totally different from Flat racing and the British Horse Racing ought to understand that.

A racehorse about to bring hind legs forward for landing  Photo: John Simpson

“The very act of jumping means the hind legs come through on landing and if the horse has to wear shoes it would automatically create an enormous risk of the front legs being sliced into.”

It has been said that any trainer disregarding the new rule will be able to have their horse re-shod prior to a race, or their horse will be withdrawn by the starter. Trainers have expressed concerns to The National Trainers’ Federation, which has asked the BHA to review the situation.

Trainer Mick Easterby

Mick Easterby said his brother Peter and other trainers agree with him and he is not going to put shoes on his horses’ hind feet when they race. Meanwhile  the BHA has said shoeing all four hooves will be compulsory in jumps races from February 1.

He pointed out that one of the most common injuries in racing over hurdles and fences is an overreach caused by the hind hoof cutting into the back of a front leg. This can cause damage to the tendon or even result in removal of a front hoof.

Mick Easterby told reporters :”I ran a horse over hurdles at Newcastle the other day. It wasn’t a good jumper and it came back with a nasty over reach. Luckily it didn’t have hind shoes on, so it will be able to race again, but if it had it would probably have cut its leg in two.

Other trainers have agreed with him but the BHA said in a statement issued to the Press: “Following a two-year process which has involved review of data and consultation with participants, the Rules Committee has approved a change to the rules in order that horses running in jumps races must wear hind shoes, as is the case in Flat races. This is a safety initiative for the benefit of horse and rider to reduce the risk of a horse slipping.

“Trainers will require special dispensation to run horses over jumps without shoes on their hind hooves and can apply for dispensation.”

But NTF chief executive Rupert Arnold says the BHA needs to look at the issue again. He said in a statement :”Since we communicated to trainers the intended change in the rules regarding the shoeing of jumpers, several have expressed their disquiet about it,”

“As a result of that, and because none of the incidences of horses slipping in the BHA survey involved horses who weren’t wearing hind shoes, we have gone back to the BHA to ask them to review their decision to change the rule pending further discussion.”

Plumpton charity raceday for IJF

Don’t miss Plumpton Charity Raceday on Wednesday February 13 when all proceeds will go to the Injured Jockeys Fund.

Highly competitive racing plus a Spacehopper race featuring jockeys will be enjoyed by all racegoers, while there will also be a charity lunch in the marquee for racegoers who want to support the Injured Jockeys Fund further.

Enjoy great racing, lunch and afternoon tea, raffle and auction and the Grand Hop Gold Cup race.

This space hopper race will feature jockeys past and present and takes place down the home straight before racing.

Meet some of the jockeys riding or hopping on the day and enjoy a relaxed day of racing at this picturesque friendly racecourse.

Tickets just £100 to include; admission, racecard, lunch, wine and afternoon tea.

For lunch tickets, call  Mandie at Injured Jockeys Fund on 01638 676219





Quality racing at Plumpton’s Sussex National day

PLUMPTON racecourse not only attracted a good crowd yesterday, but racegoers had the opportunity to see a top class performance from top French hurdler, Master Dino, when he won the two mile three furlongs novice chase in fine style under Daryl Jacob.

The four-year-old, trained by Guillaume Macaire at Les Mathes, France, was last year’s French champion four-year-old hurdler. He has switched to fences in winning style, and was sent off at 6-1.

Master Dino en route to victory
Photo: Plumpton Racecourse

The race, over 2m3½f was part of Plumpton’s bonus scheme, and attracted a classy field, including  Colin Tizzard’s Slate House, impressive Newbury winner, Knocknanuss, Glenloe – Gordon Elliott’s first runner at Plumpton, and Slate House sent out by Colin Tizzard.

Gary Moore’s Knockanuss was second, seven lengths further back at 9-4, with Alan King’s Good Man Pat another seven lengths behind in third under Wayne Hutchinson.

Master Dino is now eligible for a £60,000 bonus if he can win a chase at the Cheltenham Festival in March. His next target is likely to be the Scilly Isles Chase at Sandown.

French bred Duc Kauto, a runner in the two and a half mile chase for trainer Colin Tizzard, ridden by Harry Cobden, impressed with the way he kept on under pressure in the closing stages. The six-year-old beat Gary Moore’s Zante, with Neil King’s Leeside Lady in third.

Trainer Neil King
Photo: Jeannie Knight

The opening Novice Hurdle race was won by 10-11 favourite Brandon King, trained by Neil King and ridden by in-form Bryony Frost.  The winner finished seven lengths clear of Knockanuss, sent off at 7-1, trained by Chris Gordon and ridden by Tom Cannon. Alan King’s Good Man Pat was third, ridden by Wayne Hutchinson.

The feature race- the Sussex National- went to 11-8 favourite The Two Amigos, a dual winner over fences earlier this year for Somerset  trainer Nicky Martin. Nicky had been concerned that drying ground might not be in her runner’s favour, but the seven-year-old gelding did her proud.

The Two Amigos  Photo: John Simpson


Under a good ride from Matt Griffiths , he  came home clear of runner-up Calin Du Brizais, trained  by Colin Hawke, ridden by Tom Cannon. Third place was filled by the Peter Bowen-trained Pearl Swan, ridden by Sean Bowen, 21 lengths further back.

The Alan King-trained Good Man Pat stayed on well to take third under Wayne Hutchinson on his first start over fences, seven lengths adrift of runner-up Knocknanuss.

Slate House came home fourth, ahead of JP McManus-owned pair of Glenloe, who had plenty to do when blundering away any chance at the 11th on his chasing debut, and 33-1 outsider of the six Onefortheroadtom, who brought up the rear.

Support Plumpton’s first Wednesday fixture of 2019 on January 16 for the Timeform Raceday, a proper national hunt fixture.

Plumpton offers top class jump racing
Photo: Jeannie Knight

After all the excitement over the festive period, there is quality midweek action at Plumpton with some good racing, featuring the class 3 Handicap Chase worth over £11k for 10 year olds and above.

Two novice hurdle races and some old favourites  will be alongside some stars of the future like Dawson City- a Plumpton winner in 2015 before taking the Devon National in February 2018.

Gates Open – 11:30

First Race – 13:30

Last Race – 16:10

.Plumpton now has the newly increased size of the Southdown Bar and with a new café area (serving hot and cold foods, as well as bean to cup coffee), new bar and extra seating – no matter the weather you can enjoy a fantastic day with us. There are plenty of other food and bar outlets as well as our fantastic catering vans with hog roast, burgers and noodles all available to keep you warm and enjoy your day.

Tickets are available from just £13 per person and this is a day you can get up close and see all the action as it unfolds perfectly.


ARC takes stock on funding review

Arena Racing Company (“ARC”) today confirms that the racecourse group will not ‘unlock’ qualifying races across its race programme from Monday February 11 2019 onwards.  This decision is a direct reflection of the current retail betting media rights landscape.

Following a tripartite funding review in 2017 between BHA, RCA and the Horsemen’s Group, a new mechanism by which funding is distributed was developed which required investment in certain races to ‘unlock’ enhanced prize money allocation, including the Race Incentive Fund  and the Appearance Money Scheme  which extends prize money payments to placed horses.

Competitive racing on all weather tracks thanks to Arena Racing Company and sponsors

Due to the nature of ARC’s race programme, this represents 3,406 races and £3 million per annum in extra executive contribution. ARC’s total commitment to prize money for 2019 will be £15.3 million, still substantially up from £11.3 million in 2015.  Further reductions cannot be ruled out.

Martin Cruddace, Chief Executive Officer of ARC stated, “The British racing industry is today in a considerably different position than when we underwent the funding review of 2017 which came about as a direct result of the increase in Levy income to the sport, itself a result of the Levy being extended to cover online betting companies.

“This increase of approximately £40 million per annum to the Levy, through this extension to cover online operators was, to a large degree, a result of the Authorised Betting Partner policy adopted by British racing in 2016. ARC played a central role in leading and supporting this policy, albeit at the cost of some very significant sums in sponsorship agreements.

“At the time of the 2017 funding review it was agreed that the Race Incentive Fund and Appearance Money Scheme, paid for by these Levy increases, should be unlocked alongside further direct investment from racecourses.

“Today, however, the well-publicised impact of betting shop closures on racecourses’ media rights income has already started to take effect, and will only increase in the months and years to come.  As a result of this, ARC simply cannot continue to support our current levels of executive contribution to prize money and unlock all qualifying races, as was the case throughout 2018.

“We fully understand the importance of prize money across the industry, and do not take such a decision lightly.

“It is for this reason that we are working with the whole industry to review funding and the allocation of the substantial and hard won increased Levy income to support the prize money levels for grassroots racing that we have, until now, been able to provide.  It is therefore hoped, contingent on the support of our colleagues at the BHA and Horsemen’s Group, that owners and trainers who are kind enough to run their horses at our racecourses do not then see an appreciable difference.

“We completely accept the rationale behind the Government’s decision to reduce FOBT stakes to a maximum of £2 and we will continue to pursue a strategy to reflect the inescapable shift from retail to online as well as working with the retail betting industry.

Chairman of the Racecourse Association, Maggie Carver, said, “These are challenging financial times for Britain’s racecourses as the media rights landscape, in particular, has fundamentally shifted in recent months, so we can understand ARC’s decision.

“The RCA and its members will continue to work with Horsemen and the BHA to try to mitigate the situation as the funding environment evolves.”

All Weather Championships hotting up

Competition is hotting up in the bid to gain a free entry for the £1 million All Weather Championships  at Lingfield Park on Good Friday, April 19 this year.

A six-race card at Wolverhampton this week on Wednesday January 2, includes a fast track qualifier with the £20,000 Ladbrokes Fillies’ Conditions Race at 2.50pm, where seven runners will race over seven furlongs.

The winner of this race is guaranteed a free start in the £150,000 Ladbrokes Fillies and Mares Championships Conditions Race over the same distance on the Polytrack at Lingfield Park on the Championships Finals Day.

Lingfield Park all-weather finals promise top class racing Photo: ARC

Among the entries is Crossing The Line trained by Andrew Balding and ridden by David Probert, successful on four of her six starts as a three-year-old during 2018, while only being narrowly beaten on two other outings. She goes into tomorrow’s contest on a three-race winning streak.

By Cape Cross, she has turf wins at Chester and the Ebor Festival at York and went on to win a seven furlong handicap on polytrack surface at Chelmsford on December 6, beating the Dean Ivory-trained Lucymai by half a length.

Lucymai, ridden by Jack Duern, has seven wins to her credit on the all weather, with the latest in a seven furlong handicap at Chelmsford in August.

Another contender for the Lingfield race is Castle Hill Cassie, winner of a Listed race at Pontefract for trainer Ben Haslam, with Jason Watson riding, over course and distance on November 16.  She subsequently defeated the useful Ghazawaat by a head  in a fillies condition race over course and distance.

Castle Hill Cassie

Her trainer is based in Yorkshire and has been aiming Castle Hill Cassie for the All Weather Finals Day since September. She has been lightly raced so that she goes to the Wolverhampton race fresh, with a view to then being in top form for April.

He said: “The timescale has worked out quite nicely and she has not had to be too busy during the winter from a racing point of view. She goes there quite fresh with a view to being spot on for April.

“It will probably require a career-best to win , as she has to give 3lb to the rest of the field today, which means she is 4lb wrong with a couple of them. But on the flip side she will have that 3lb up her sleeve off level weights come April.

“After today, she is going to be covered by Zoustar at Tweenhills Stud, probably in late February or early March. Then she will run on Finals Day hopefully in foal to Zoustar. That will most likely be her swansong.

“She will also have an entry in the Listed Snowdrop Fillies’ Stakes at Kempton Park, which takes place the day after Good Friday next year because Easter is so late.

“From the prize money point of view, it is a no-brainer to run at Lingfield, plus I also think the track and trip will suit her better. At the same time, if Kempton looked more winnable, from a breeding point of view it is more valuable.

“Hopefully, Lingfield Park will be her race, as I think it is an important race to support and strengthen.”

In-form trainer Mick Channon and jockey Charles Bishop are chasing successive victories in the Ladbrokes Fillies’ Conditions Race with Pattie, having taken the spoils 12 months ago with Summer Icon.

Wolverhampton’s six-race programme starts at 12.40pm and ends at 3.20pm