Christmas In April wins Plumpton’s Sussex National

PLUMPTON’S prestigious Sky Sports Racing’s Sussex National race was won yesterday by trainer Colin Tizzard and jockey Harry Cobden with French-bred Chrismas In April.
This horse was sent off as 9-2 joint favourite and a front-running performance saw off any challengers from the 11 strong field which tackled the three miles four furlongs race.
Christmas In April was in front throughout the race and his task was made easier when Hard To Forget blundered at the third fence, unseating his rider.
Sackett continued in the lead, with Vinnie Lewis and Christmas In April the nearest pursuers and then came Uallrightharry. But Christmas in April took up the lead when Sackett made a bad mistake with two circuits to go.
Four from home Sackett made another bad mistake and Christmas In April, with Harry Cobden in board,took advantage and went into the lead, followed by Rathlin Rose and Uallrightharry.

Harry Cobden and Christmas In April en route to victory Photo courtesy of Plumpton Racecourse

They went on to win by two lengths from Uallrightharry, with Rathlin Rose third and then Belle Empress.

The Colin Tizzard stable is currently in top form with Christmas In April’s victory, becoming the second big winner for  the yard another big winner over the weekend, following the success of Fiddlerontheroof in the Grade One Tolworth Hurdle on Saturday.






Isabella wins BHS Charity race

Jockey Isabella Budge secured a victory on Bird to Love in The British Horse Society’s (BHS) second annual charity flat race at Newbury Racecourse yesterday (7 November).

The midday, one mile flat race saw a tense finish with racehorse trainer Michael Appleby following a close second on Bancuanaheireann (IRE).

Eleven jockeys, from across the country competed in the race at Newbury and had to undertake months of intense training to reach the fitness levels and stamina required to compete. The jockeys were also tasked with each raising a minimum of £2,500 for a BHS campaign of their choice.

Isabella Budge in the paddock
Photo: British Horse Society

Following her win, Isabella Budge said: “I don’t know when I last travelled that fast, it was over in a flash! It was just an unbelievable, unforgettable day. I’m on cloud nine and I don’t think I’m coming down anytime soon!”

Tracy Casstles, Director of Fundraising at The British Horse Society said: “We are hugely grateful to all the jockeys for their incredible efforts over the past couple of months whilst preparing for the fantastic race at Newbury yesterday. It has not been an easy challenge but the money they’ve all raised so far will make an invaluable difference to the work of the BHS. We’d also like to extend our thanks to all the owners and trainers who loaned a horse to our jockeys and the trainers who trained them so perfectly for the closely fought race. Without their time and generosity, the race would not have been possible”.

To find out more about the BHS’s second annual charity race please head to

RDA qualifier for National Championships

Disabled carriage drivers from the Riding for the Disabled’s South East Region met at Sands Farm, Warnham recently in the annual qualifying competition for the RDA National Championship held in July 2020.

Drivers from across Surrey, Kent and Sussex went head-to-head in the three combined disciplines of dressage, cones and obstacles with only the top placed competitors qualifying.

The Carriage Driving Groups represented included East Sussex’s Kipling County (Chalvington), West Sussex’s Cherry Park (Chichester) and Happy Landings (Billingshurst), Surrey’s Stella Hancock group (Worplesdon), Kent’s Bradbourne (Sevenoaks) and for the first time, Alkham Valley (Dover).

Steven Holland of Alkham Valley drives Ted through the cones. Photo: Joanna Sale

There was edge-of-the seat excitement, particularly in the Novice Whip where young sisters, Gemma and Stacey Tiley from the Stella Hancock Group competed against each other in their first competition. Happily, they came first and second (respectively), both qualifying for Hartpury and both scoring exactly the same time in the cones.

Sisters Gemma and Stacey Tiley both qualify for the Nationals Photo: Joanna Sale

The final results showed less than a point between them. Linda Redmond, also of Stella Hancock, came third to make the hat-trick of qualifiers.

Following his second place at the Nationals this year, Jack Marr from Bradbourne continued his winning streak in the Intermediate Whip qualifying again but at the higher level. Amanda Hardy of Happy Landings also qualified for coming second.

Sandra Spininer of Cherry Park, hot on the heels of winning the Championship at the Nationals this year, qualified safely in the Open Class.

Jean Leverett of Bradbourne drives Disney in the cones Photo: Joanna Sale

In the non-qualifying Assisted Whip’s Class, Amanda Wakefield pipped team mate, Josie Cyster, both from Kipling County, to first place.

Julia Hockin of Regional Sponsors, Cowan Architects, presented the awards. She was impressed by the speed and agility. “These drivers are really inspirational but it’s also lovely to see their warmth and pleasure at having achieved so much. I’ve been amazed today” she commented.

The day’s organiser, Helen Pritchard, gave thanks to the hard work of the team behind the scenes in putting the event together saying: “I take a lot of pride in the events that we offer to our regional members and the team is amazing at getting stuck in when we really need it. We’re also very grateful to our wonderful judges led by Sara Howe, an internationally acclaimed carriage driver and Team GB member.”.

WHW’s care of emaciated ponies brings Equifest awards

Ponies Buttercup and Fydlyn Kenen (Clyde) have been so successfully transformed since coming into the care of World Horse Welfare that they were awarded Champion and Reserve Champion Rescue Pony at Equifest this year – an incredible achievement given the ponies’ condition a year ago.

Equifest is the biggest rescue competition of the year and for the ponies to reach the final is in itself a huge achievement. A field of twelve deserving ponies qualified for the evening championship so to win was a triumph for all concerned.

Clyde arrived at World Horse Welfare emaciated and in poor condition Photo: WHW

Piebald mare Buttercup came into the charity’s care in June 2018 and is amongst the worst cases that staff at Penny Farm Rescue and Rehoming Centre had ever seen. She was severely emaciated and dehydrated, yet somehow still gave birth to a tiny filly foal.

Buttercup was also found emaciated and in bad condition Photo: World Horse Welfare

Penny Farm Yard Supervisor Karen Wright said: “It’s incredible that Buttercup and her foal both survived, given the terrible condition that Buttercup was in. She needed urgent treatment and was far too weak to care for her foal herself, so the team had to hand-rear the foal, Frieda.

“It took months of dedicated care from the team to get Buttercup strong enough to even be turned out in the field, but she’s gone from strength to strength since then. She’s really blossomed this summer and loves attention, so we thought she should have a trip to Equifest to take part in the rescue classes. Seeing her win Rescue Pony Champion is incredible – a real testament to the team’s dedication and care over the last year.”

Black gelding, Clyde came, into the charity’s care in May 2018 after being found in a field, severely emaciated and with overgrown chipped feet.  He was covered in lice and had chunks of hair missing from his coat where he had tried to rub to ease the irritation. Clyde was very lethargic when he arrived, with sunken eyes and no real will to survive.  The team at Penny Farm worked hard to make him more comfortable, treating his skin condition and using a duvet under his stable rug so that his protruding bones did not rub and create sores.

Karen said: “Clyde was in such a poor condition on arrival that it took weeks of dedicated care and attention before he started to become interested in his surroundings and really respond to treatment. He’s comes on in leaps and bounds since then and although he can still be a bit wary of new people his confidence is growing fast. He’s turned into a very handsome pony and we were really proud to show him off at Equifest.

Wiinners Buttercup and Clyde in top form after care by WHW.

“For Buttercup and Clyde to be transformed into showing champions in just over a year is a great tribute to the team’s hard work, given how poorly they were on arrival.  We’re very proud of both ponies and Buttercup is doing really well with learning to drive, so we hope that she will be ready to rehome very soon.”

You can seeWHW horses and ponies which are currently looking for new homes here:

World Horse Welfare (Registered charity no: 206658 and SC038384), is an international horse charity that improves the lives of horses in the UK and worldwide through education, campaigning and hands-on care of horses.  Since it was founded in 1927, itswhole approach has been practical, based on scientific evidence and our extensive experience, and focused on delivering lasting change across the full spectrum of the horse world.

In the UK its dedicated network of Field Officers investigate and resolve welfare problems, and it has four Rescue and Rehoming Centres where horses in need can receive specialist care, undergo rehabilitation and find loving new homes through WHW’s rehoming scheme – the largest of its kind in the UK.

Its international programmes alleviates the suffering of thousands of working horses by providing essential knowledge for horse owning communities in the developing world. WHW also works tirelessly to change legislation and attitudes to horse welfare through campaigns and education, including our founding campaign to end the suffering endured by the tens of thousands of horses transported long-distance across Europe to slaughter each year. It supports the responsible use of horses in sport, and is independent welfare adviser to the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) and British Horseracing Authority (BHA).

World Horse Welfare relies on voluntary donations. Itssupporters are its lifeblood and WHW always aims to fundraise in a caring and responsible way. Its fundraising activity is governed by the Fundraising Regulator but it also go much further to ensure our supporters feel valued and protected.

Find out more at:

Plumpton’s new season starts this month

RACING resumes at Plumpton Racecourse with a Core Spreads Family Raceday on Sunday September 22.

This popular National Hunt track has a season opener raceday for all the family, with activities and entertainment throughout the day, and accompanied under 18s are admitted free.

Good viewing facilities of horses in the paddock at Plumpton           Photo: Jeannie Knight

Racegoers have a good view of racing and can also see runners and riders at close quarters in the paddock before racing as well as in the unsaddling enclosure afterwards.

There will be plenty of family entertainment, ranging from Meet The Trolls, face painting and a mascot race to static falconry display, derby horse hoppers, rodeo bull, soft play area, as well as seven races on the card.

    1. Plumpton offers top class jump racing with good viewing facilities.  Photo:Jeannie Knight

The opening day is an ideal time to sample some of Plumpton’s renowned hospitality with two restaurants to choose from. Enjoy the Paddock Restaurant with a three course a la carte menu, welcome drink, table for the day, racecard, admission all for just £80pp.

In the Marquee Restaurant you can enjoy a three-course set menu, welcome drink, table for day, racecard and admission opposite the final fence for just £70pp. To book call 01273 890383.

You can enjoy all 17 racedays at a reduced price by becoming a Plumpton Racecourse Annual Member.Single Membership – £200 while Double membership is £380.

Included in the price of the membership is a racecard at every fixture, discounted hospitality prices, £600 worth of tickets to other racecourses and sporting venues PLUS much more.

At this popular jumps track, racegoers can look forward to enjoying some top class jump racing throughout the winter and into next spring, with some quality horses amongst runners on racedays. Get your tickets early to save money.

Tickets are on sale now.


BHS Coaching conventions now open to all equestrians

Building on the success of its previous coaching conventions The British Horse Society has been holding  National Conventions in 2019. Previously targeted at the Society’s Accredited Coaches these events have been expanded to include a new day dedicated to any equestrian wishing to improve their knowledge and skills.

With demonstrations from top coaches, including Fellows of the BHS, and professional riders, and break out sessions focusing on lorry safety, course building and equine nutrition there will definitely be something for everyone to take away whether you are a professional coach or ride for pleasure.


Back by popular demand are  Gala Dinners. With guest speakers and panel debates these evenings have been rounding off convention days perfectly and are definitely not to be missed.

Sunday evenings will be ‘An Evening with….These will include a talk from an equestrian personality and a delicious gala dinner. On Sunday September 22 will be an evening with Richard Waygood MBE Team GB Eventing Performance Manager covering his life and career with horses.

Richard Waygood

Further information about Sunday Evening events at Cavan and Aintree will be announced later.

Monday evenings have been the ever popular Accredited Professional Coach Gala Dinners, with a twist! Each evening featured a panel debate with experts and professionals discussing a hot topic from the equestrian industry. These fun interactive evenings have provided an opportunity to participate and learn more with important take home information. They will also include a gala dinner and an opportunity to socialise with your fellow Accredited Professionals.

A variety of packages are available to include both convention attendance and evening events with something to suit everyone. For more information and to purchase tickets please go to

Venues also have accommodation available so you can make it more than just a day and join for the whole event. For more information about overnight stays contact


If you think you would benefit from some top level coaching, then apply to be a demo rider. The BHS welcomes all types of horse and riders. You don’t need to be a serious competitor or professional rider to enjoy this opportunity, just show us you have the willingness to learn and benefit from a coaching session. For more information on how to take part in our competition to become a demo rider please email

Whatever your discipline or goal these days will help you get the most from you and your horse. So book now and avoid disappointment. Two are still to take place, so book now for:

Aintree Racecourse, Liverpool15 – 17 September

Merrist Wood College, Surrey22 – 24 September

* Day 1 and 2 combined. Both days will count as CPD

Goodwood’s popular May Festival

From May 23 – 25, Goodwood Racecourse’s ever popular May Festival returns and with it the announcement of a new local initiative with Age UK.

Believed to be the first concept of its kind set out by a racecourse in the country, ‘Friends of Goodwood’ aims to connect like-minded individuals who might otherwise face barriers with attending racing due to being alone.

Buses operated by Age UK will run a door-to-door collection service in the local area. Once at the course enthusiasts will be hosted and receive a talk from former Clerk of the Course, Seamus Buckley.

Helen Rice, CEO of Age UK West Sussex commented: “It’s so exciting to be working with Goodwood to provide opportunities for days out. This chance to come together and reduce isolation is massively important to us and knowing Goodwood cares about this means a lot. We hope this relationship will continue to blossom and that together we can serve more people and provide wonderful experiences.”

Don’t miss May Festival race day at Goodwood Racecourse, Saturday 26th May 2018
Photo by Liz Finlayson

Goodwood Racecourse’s, General Manager, Alex Eade said: “We are delighted to welcome this new link with Age UK; we enjoy wonderful views across the South Downs so with ‘Friends of Goodwood’ we very much look forward to giving something back to the local community and in the process putting a smile on peoples’ faces who might not otherwise come racing.”

Over the three days, The Food Market, located on the East Parade Lawn, will invite guests to sample and shop a plethora of locally-sourced food and drink as well as offering family activities for young foodies.

Several culinary displays in the Demo Kitchen will be hosted by chefs including Kenny Tutt, 2018 winner of BBC Masterchef, James Golding from The Pig Hotel Group, and local Michelin starred chef, Matt Gillan. Aside from the food, racegoers can enjoy an exquisite cocktail masterclass with Mirabeau on the Oak Tree Lawn, twenty-minute bespoke demonstrations will enlighten racegoers with beautifully blended recipes to kick start the summer.

Alex Eade continued; “The May Festival is always a flagship event for us; from a superb selection of street food on the concourse, to the jockeys and trainers omelette challenge, there is something for everyone across the three days.”

Tickets can be purchased from only £20 in advance and children under 18 go free in all enclosures. Please call 01243 216610 or visit for tickets, hospitality, and further information.


Longines increase Hickstead support

Hickstead is delighted to announce that Longines will be increasing its support of the showground in a new partnership deal that continues until 2021.

The Swiss watch brand is already the Title Partner, Official Timekeeper and Watch of the entire Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ series, of which Hickstead hosts the British leg.

As well as taking title partnership of the five-star international showjumping event known as the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ of Great Britain, they will also be known as the overall event partners for the Longines Royal International Horse Show  July 23-28 2019.

All England Jumping Course, Hickstead, West Sussex

One of the oldest horse shows in the world at 112 years old, the Longines Royal International Horse Show features hundreds of championship showing classes alongside national showjumping, carriage driving, scurry driving and the popular MS Amlin Eventers’ Challenge.

Longines also takes on naming rights to Hickstead’s famous International Arena. The Longines International Arena is one of the largest grass showjumping rings in equestrian sport, and the iconic ring has played host to most of the best horses and riders in the world. .

“We are extremely fortunate to have a longstanding partnership agreement with Longines, a prestigious company and the biggest supporter of international equestrian sport,” said Hickstead Director Lizzie Bunn. “Our sport simply could not exist without such partners, and we are delighted to have signed with Longines for a further three years.”

The scheduling of the international showjumping classes has been altered for this year, with the flagship Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ leg moving back to its traditional slot on Friday afternoon, while the Longines BHS King George V Gold Cup returns to the Sunday afternoon and will bring the event to a close.

“After a revised timetable last year, we have returned to the previous show format with the Nations Cup on Friday,” explains Lizzie Bunn. “This allows selected riders to focus their attentions on representing their country on the Friday while also allowing them to make the decision whether to ride the same horse in Sunday’s Grand Prix or to compete one of their other top rides.”

Tickets are on sale now from


Tickets are on sale now from

Harry Charles disqualified from Young Rider Championships

The BEF has been informed by the FEI that Harry Charles has been disqualified from the Young Rider European Championships which took place last July in Fontainebleau, France.

Following the Team Final, samples were taken from Vivaldi du Dom, the horse ridden by Harry Charles and these tested positive for the controlled medication substance Lidocaine.

As a result Harry Charles has been automatically disqualified from all results at the event meaning that he loses his Individual gold medal and that Great Britain drops to Team Silver and Germany move up to Team Gold.

Harry Charles in action

Nick Fellows, Chief Executive for the British Equestrian Federation commented “This was a controlled medication substance not a doping substance, but it should not have been present in Harry’s horse at the time of competition.

“Of course it is desperately disappointing for Harry and the young rider team, but we accept the decision of the FEI and naturally uphold their zero tolerance in respect of the international Clean Sport policy which we also follow at a national level.”

Iain Graham, Chief Executive for British Showjumping said “This is a wake-up call for everyone in the sport and really highlights the necessity for all of our athletes, both national and international, to ensure they both understand and adhere to the FEI clean sport policy.”

On his disqualification from the Championships Harry Charles said: “Words can’t convey how really sad I am for my fellow team members having to receive the news that this has happened. I will speak to each of them individually and I just hope I can then put this behind me and move on”.

The four riders that made up the team with Harry were Graham Babes, William Fletcher, Amy Inglis and Georgia Tame; all of whom have been informed and understand the decision.

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.”