Shane Breen and Can Ya Makan head to Hickstead

GERMANY’S Hamburg Derby took place last weekend, giving plenty of insight into horse and rider form ahead of Great Britain’s equivalent class – the Al Shira’aa Derby at Hickstead.

The win went to German rider Nisse Lüneburg, with Ireland’s Shane Breen finishing in the runner-up spot with the talented Can Ya Makan. Nisse and Shane produced the only clears of the competition, with the German managing to shave a second off Shane’s jump-off time to take the title.

Shane and Can Ya Makan shot into contention in last year’s Al Shira’aa Derby when winning the Bunn Leisure Derby Trial. They went on to finish third in the Derby itself, just picking up four faults at the balustrade fence. Following their superb Hamburg performance, they now look likely to be among the favourites for Hickstead’s iconic class on Sunday June 23.


Shane Breen and Can Ya Maken in action previously at Hickstead Photo: Nigel Goddard

Although Shane has had several top five finishes in the Al Shira’aa Derby, he is yet to lift the trophy. Shane is married to Chloe Breen, daughter of the All England Jumping Course founder Douglas Bunn, and the pair operate a huge showjumping and breeding operation at Hickstead Place – meaning Hickstead is Shane’s ‘home’ show.

If he can win the Al Shira’aa Derby, his name will be added to the trophy alongside younger brother Trevor, who had back-to-back wins in the class in 2014 and 2015.

A number of other Hickstead stars shone in Hamburg, including Matthew Sampson, who finished fourth behind former eventing world champion Sandra Auffarth. Matthew was riding Quality Old Joker, who finished second in last year’s Al Shira’aa Derby with regular rider Holly Smith. While Holly was busy on Nations Cup team duties with Hearts Destiny in St Gallen, Matthew took Quality Old Joker to Hamburg where they finished with a very credible four faults.

Close behind in sixth place was Nigel Coupe and Golvers Hill. These experienced Derby campaigners won at Hickstead in 2017 and were another to pick up just four faults in Hamburg, proving they’re in good form as the Al Shira’aa Hickstead Derby Meeting grows closer.

Also in the prize money in Hamburg were James Whitaker and Glenavadra Brilliant, who finished ninth with eight faults. The pair were fifth in Hickstead’s equivalent class last year, and the horse was a former winner with James’ elder brother William back in 2016, so this combination are a real force to be reckoned with in this year’s Derby.

A notable absentee in Hamburg was the reigning Al Shira’aa Derby winner William Funnell, who was also in St Gallen representing Britain in the Nations Cup. William will be aiming for a consecutive win on Billy Buckingham, which would put him in the record books as the first five-time winner of the Hickstead Derby.

Tickets for the Al Shira’aa Hickstead Derby Meeting (20-23 June) are on sale now from

Don’t miss Hickstead’s top class Derby meeting

The Al Shire’aa Hickstead Derby is one of the most popular events in the British equestrian calendar and is fast approaching.

The Derby meeting at Hickstead takes place from June 20-13 this year, and offers the chance to see top class competitors in action.

Last year William Funnell joined Harvey Smith, Eddie Macken, and John and Michael Whitaker as a four-time winner of the Al Shira’aa Derby. Can he go one better this year to make history?

William Funnell

Around 45,000 spectators are expected to flock to the West Sussex showground in June, with visitor numbers peaking during the famous Al Shira’aa Derby on the Sunday afternoon.

The Derby course is outstandingly tricky, with iconic obstacles such as the Derby Bank, the Devil’s Dyke and the double of water ditches guaranteeing plenty of thrills and spills for spectators.

William Funnell coming down Hickstead’s Derby Bank at a past meeting. Photo: Nigel Goddard

But as well as the eight busy rings of equestrian action, there is a lot more to see and do during the Al Shira’aa Hickstead Derby Meeting.  A new family zone will feature a funfair, with half price rides on Thursday and Friday, as well as entertainment from popular local company Tomfoolery.

Admission is free for all children under five for the duration of the show, with discounts available for children aged five to 14, pensioners and on family tickets.

There are more than 150 stands in the Charles Owen Shopping Village, giving shoppers the chance to browse many of the leading countryside brands.

This year, there is free general admission on the Thursday of the show, to encourage people to come along to experience the outstanding shopping for themselves.

There is also the wide range of bars and eateries, from the street food vans, the artisan food hall or one of the many bars and restaurants, all the way up to fine dining in one of the hospitality options.

Nicole Pavitt’s Senior Foxhunter second round win

Nicole Pavitt has won the Equitop Myoplast Senior Foxhunter Second Round at Bicton Arena in Devon.

The arena played host to the Equitop Myoplast Senior Foxhunter Second Round during its Summer Spectacular Show and it was Nicole Pavitt who claimed the win.

With two direct qualifying tickets on offer for the Equitop Myoplast Senior Foxhunter Championship Final at Horse of the Year Show in October, all eighty starting combinations had their hearts set on a treble clear.

Designer Rafeal Suarez provided questions all over the course and only three combinations managed to earn a treble clear.

Nicole Pavitt from Crawley, West Sussex had her foot firmly on the accelerator as she crossed the finish line in 41.47 seconds aboard Matt Pike’s 11 year-old chestnut gelding Southend.

This gave her victory by just 0.63 of a second over William Funnell and the Billy Stud’s Billy Spiral, a seven- year-old mare with Billy Mexico lines, who crossed the line in 42.10 seconds.

Nicole Pavitt and Southend following their second round victory at Bicton
Photo: ESP Photographic

The top two combinations secured their place in the Equitop Myoplast Senior Foxhunter Championship Final at Horse of the Year Show and the top five took home the chance to compete in the Equitop Myoplast Senior Foxhunter Masters at the British Showjumping National Championships.

Results of Equitop Myoplast Senior Foxhunter Second Round
1, Nicole Pavitt & Southend – 0/0/0 – 41.47 seconds
2, William Funnell & Billy Spiral – 0/0/0 – 42.10 seconds
3, Benjamin Bick & Moonraker – 0/0/0 – 44.48 seconds
4, Julien Mincher & Doublem Chacco – 0/0/4 – 43.03 seconds
5,Elliott Smith & Flamboyant III – 0/0/4 – 45.91 seconds

Qualifications will be updated pending official grading of results.

The Horse of the Year Show 2019 will take place from October 2– 6  October at Birmingham’s NEC. The British Showjumping National Championships 2019 will take place during August 6 – 11 August at the National Agricultural and Exhibition Centre (NAEC), Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire.

Equine America supports Hickstead ring

One of the All England Jumping Course’s eight rings has been given a major makeover ahead of this year’s international shows.

The Equine America Ring Three has been transformed from a grass ring to a state-of-the-art vast all-weather arena, measuring 65m x 127m. It has the same Andrews Bowen surface as used in the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Perfect going in Hickstead ‘s Equine America Ring Three  Photo courtesy of Hickstead

Competitors will be pleased to know there is also a new warm-up area incorporated into the arena, alleviating the pressure on the other collecting rings. Elsewhere on the showground, the Hickstead team has extended the Airowear Ring 4 warm up by an extra 450 sq m.

Renowned supplements company Equine America has taken on naming rights to Ring Three, as part of a three-year agreement.

“Equine America is absolutely thrilled to support Hickstead as the title sponsor of the newly-transformed Ring 3 and the new Water Complex, which forms part of Ring 4,” said Lee Middleton, Managing Director of Equine America UK Ltd.

He added: “In addition, we also look forward to inviting our customers to The Equine America Pavilion, where you can chat with our hugely respected nutritionist, Deborah Lucas and benefit from the prime viewing location.”

Ring Three and Ring Four will later form the Hickstead all-weather cross-country schooling facility, which will be launched this autumn. Equine America have also taken on the naming rights of the Water Complex, which will be the main feature of this fabulous new addition.

“We are looking forward to the start of our international season next month, and we’re sure the new Equine America Ring Three is going to prove very popular with our competitors,” said Hickstead Director Edward Bunn.

“Not only will they ride on an Olympic-standard surface, but this gives us a contingency in the event of very wet weather and will allow us to hold more external events during the summer as well as forming part of our new cross-country schooling facility. We are also very grateful to Equine America for their support of Hickstead.”

Hickstead now has four all-weather arenas, including the international warm-up and the Bunn Leisure Arena. The famous Longines International Arena, however, which was given a £500,000 renovation in 2011 to ensure all-weather footing with a turf surface, will always remain a grass arena.

Tickets for the Al Shira’aa Hickstead Derby Meeting (June 20-23 ) and the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup of Great Britain at the Longines Royal International Horse Show (July 23-28 ) are on sale now from

Frankie Dettori’s 200th career win at Goodwood

MORE than 23,000 racegoers enjoyed three days of culinary delights and racing thrills at Goodwood Racecourse, when the Sussex track hosted its May Festival last week.

Guests enjoyed some inspiring demonstrations from Matt Gillan, Jane Devonshire, and Sarah Jayne Stanes, while chefs from Goodwood House, Farmer, Butcher, Chef, and  Goodwood Academy showcased their flourishing talent.

A culinary crescendo was met when top jockeys stole the show with Jamie Spencer, Andrea Atzeni, Hollie Doyle, and Brighton based Jason Watson, swapping the saddle for saucepans. The three-minute Jockeys Omelette Challenge, judged by Goodwood Hotel Head Chef, Mark Foreman, saw Jamie Spencer and Jason Watson crowned champions.

As racegoers basked in the sun on Thursday, it was Frankie Dettori’s victory aboard Terebellum in the British European Breeders Fund Maiden Fillies’ Stakes which crowned his 200th career success at the Sussex track.

Frankie Dettori receives his 200th win award: Photo courtesy of Goodwood

The milestone comes 32 years after he rode Lizzy Hare to victory, and around 70 of those 200 triumphs have come during Glorious week down the decades.

The feature Listed Height Of Fashion Stakes went the way of Aloe Vera for Harry Bentley, having travelled beautifully throughout she went away readily at the line to beat favourite Shambolic. Winning trainer Ralph Beckett commented; “I was not expecting that. She’s from a very good family and it looks like we have something nice on our hands.”

Friday saw the highly touted Private Secretary land the feature Listed British Stallion Studs EBF Cocked Hat Stakes for John Gosden. Unbeaten in three starts this season he looked like a horse going places, Frankie Dettori commented; “He’s maturing all the time, and will stay further, he showed a good turn of foot to win.”

Middleham trainer, Mark Johnson, as usual had a successful few days at Goodwood, with three winners. Lake Volta put up an impressive performance in the Thames Materials Handicap, with the aim now being to come back for the Qatar Goodwood Festival. Elarqam, bounced back to form on Saturday with a win in the Betfair sponsored Listed Festival Stakes, while later in the card, Kings Advice showed a plucky performance to make all in the Betfair Exchange Handicap Stakes.

Mirage Dancer won back to back Tapster Stakes, trained by Sir Michael Stoute, the five-year-old looked every bit a class act with winning jockey Pat Dobbs commenting: “It was a messy race with a slow pace, so he’s done it the hard way, having strengthened up over the winter he really does look exciting.”

Alex Eade, General Manager of Goodwood Racecourse said; “We had a lovely atmosphere across the course for this meeting, alongside the top-quality racing, and it was great to see so many people enjoying the food demonstrations, Food Market and Mirabeau masterclasses.

“We now look forward to a busy June, with four fixtures coming up in quick succession. Our Three Friday Nights series kicks off on June 7 with MK headlining. This is then followed closely by our brilliant Family Raceday to enjoy on 10 June.”

Young rider is final jockey for Magnolia Cup race

A young rider from Brixton’s Ebony Horse Club has been confirmed as the twelfth and final jockey in this year’s Magnolia Cup race at Goodwood Racecourse on Thursday August 1.

Khadijah Mellah, 18, who has been a member of the Ebony Horse Club for five years will join model Vogue Williams, Olympian Victoria Pendleton and nine other amateur riders in the female only charity race which is the opening contest on Ladies’ Day and will take place before a capacity crowd of 25,000 sports fans.

Throughout her training for the race a documentary team will trace Khadijah’s journey from Brixton, South London, to one of the world’s most famous racecourses. The film will be jointly funded by Great British Racing, the sport’s promotional body; Goodwood Racecourse and The Racing Foundation, as official partners.

Magnolia Cup-rider,Khadijah Mellah, with Frankie Dettori and Ollie Bell.  Photo: British Horse Racing

Khadijah is currently revising for her A-Levels this summer and will combine studying with a gruelling fitness regime to prepare her for the transition from the club’s ponies to a thoroughbred racehorse in the race.

Having learned to ride at Ebony Horse Club she has already ridden out at Chris Wall’s yard in Newmarket and Simon Dow’s stables in Epsom where she will train, and visited a racecourse for the first time when attending Newmarket’s Craven Meeting in April.

She said, “I am super-duper excited about riding in the Magnolia Cup. It was a great experience riding at Chris Wall’s and Simon Dow’s yards and seeing how different racehorses are. It was my first time on a racecourse at Newmarket last month so it was good to get my head around what raceday is like and what it’ll be like on the day. It’s going to be a busy few months with my A-Levels as well but I can’t wait to get going.”

ITV Racing presenter Oli Bell who is a patron of Ebony Horse Club said, “I am incredibly excited about the documentary and its potential to shine a light on Ebony’s brilliant work and the ways in which it is opening up opportunities for its members in racing, the sport that I love.

“It will be an incredible achievement for Khadijah to go from riding at the Club to being able to compete on a racehorse at Goodwood and we are all so impressed with her commitment and drive. She is a great personality and a brilliant rider and we will all be rooting for her in the Magnolia Cup.”

Rod Street, Chief Executive of Great British Racing which is an official partner of the film and is part funding it said, “We are very proud and excited to be supporting this brilliant initiative. As a sport we need to be doing so much more to broaden the appeal of racing and we hope that Khadijah’s story will inspire and capture people’s imagination about the power of horses – be they at Ebony or on a racecourse – and prompt more people to consider the sport.”

The film is being produced by Tom Bolwell and Mattia Reiniger, who will document Khadijah’s life in the run up to race day including her riding and training regime, as well as her home life in Brixton.

Don’t miss double demonstration at Moocroft

A DOUBLE demonstration at Moorcroft Racehorse Welfare Centre next month offers an excellent opportunity or horse owners and supporters of this fine charity to see the art of long reining and its benefits for horses.

The event takes place on June 29 at 10am when Moorcroft horses being retrained will also go on display under saddle, with a full explanation of what Moorcroft does and why.

There will also be an introduction to thermography at 10.45am by Sarah Villa, with a demonstration from Sync Equine.

Equine thermography is a non-invasive monitoring tool that uses the very latest Infrared imaging equipment and computer software to detect minute differences in the horse’s thermal and neural condition, and allows quick and efficient identification of trauma in an injured animal

At 12.30pm a demonstration of ridden Moorcroft horses will be accompanied by a full explanation of what the centre does and why it does it.  Book your place by ringing Mary on  07929 666408.

An ex-racehorse almost ready for re-homing following successful retraining at Moorcroft. Photo: Mark Beaumont

Don’t miss this fine opportunity to see the outstanding work done at Moorcroft by chief executive Mary Frances and her staff, with retraining methods, including long reining, which enable ex-racehorses to go on to a fulfilling life after racing with new owners.

There will be refreshments and a marquee containing with equine related stands which visitors will find interesting and useful.

Mary hands over the reins to a course participant in a long reining session at Moorcroft
Photo: Jeannie Knight

Another event planned by Moorcroft is an evening at the Random Hall Hotel, close to Moorcroft Racehorse Welfare Centre. This will feature an interesting talk from chairman Nigel Neville and a presentation  by Mary Frances.

This will be a fun and informative evening, giving a chance to find out more about Moorcroft’s vital work, supporting injured and vulnerable ex-racehorses, The cost is £50 person. Please book early with Mary by ringing 07929 666408.

Meanwhile retraining work continues at the centre every day in a quiet and professional manner, putting first the needs of horses in its care.


Steve Guerdat to compete at Spruce Meadows

The 2012 Olympic Champion, winner of three Majors, current FEI World Cup Champion and No. 1-ranked show jumper in the world- Steve Guerdat (SUI)- has committed to compete at Spruce Meadows this summer

The year, 37 year old Swiss equestrian legend  confirmed he is scheduled to compete in three of the Spruce Meadows CSI5* Summer Series Tournaments, together with six of his horses that will be travelling with him.

“It is a great opportunity for me to come with my horses to Spruce Meadows during the summer. I have been competing the past 5 years at the ‘Masters’ in September, but always wanted to come for the ‘National’, ‘Continental’ and ‘Pan-American’ presented by ROLEX in June,” said Guerdat. “I have always been a great supporter of these traditional events, with big grass arenas and enthusiastic crowds. Spruce Meadows has mastered the secret formula between tradition and innovation – it’s fantastic”.

Steve Guerdat, number one for Longines FI Jumping World Cup  Phito: John Simpson

Spruce Meadows is recognized as one of the leading equestrian destinations in the world. Located in Calgary, Alberta, Canada the outdoor venue welcomes the best equestrian athletes in the world. From tradition to new developments, Spruce Meadows always offers the highest quality experience. It is common to see former and current champions at Spruce Meadows, such as Eric Lamaze, Steve Guerdat, Beezie Madden, McLain Ward and Kent Farrington, all of whom are scheduled to compete at Spruce Meadows this summer.

While the Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ tournament, the September leg of the ROLEX Grand Slam of Show Jumping, has always been recognized as the pinnacle of the season, Spruce Meadows has been playing host to four weeks of top international competition each summer for 44 consecutive years and counting.

International riders from more than 20 nations compete at the Spruce Meadows Summer Series. Recently retired Hall of Famer, Ian Millar, also known as Captain Canada, has fond memories of his summers in Calgary, where, for Canadians and international athletes alike, “a single month of competition is like an additional five years of experience,” he says.

The Spruce Meadows Summer Series starts with the ‘National’ presented by ROLEX on June 5 and conclude with the ‘North American’ presented by ROLEX on July 7.

Borde Hill Horse Trials at the weekend

Borde Hill Horse Trials take place from Saturday May 25 to Monday May 27 inclusive. The event is sponsored by JH Builders and Bill Kear Arenas and Gallops and will support Kent, Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance.

The venue is located near Haywards Heath, West Sussex at RH16  1XP and all tracks make good use of the parkland and woodland settings.

Fences are well presented and dressed, with a mix of permanent fences and sturdy portables.

Howard Newitt pictured competing at a previous Borde Hill Horse Trials Photo: British Eventing

New changes will be introduced in all classes this year, providing fair and inviting challenges at all levels.

All areas of the event are meticulously prepared according to the ground conditions and
the course is preserved for the events only and is not open for schooling.

Officials at the event will be:

Joint Organiser – Ms Lucy Cunliffe
Contact Ms Lucy Cunliffe
Phone: 01732 750568
Mobile: 07881 581124

Joint Organiser – Mr John Hill
Contact Mr John Hill
Mobile: 07831 499593

Joint Organiser – Mr Bill Kear
Contact Mr Bill Kear
Phone: 01293 862666
Mobile: 07786 375800

Entries Secretary – Mrs Ann Allen
Contact Mrs Ann Allen
Mobile: 07802 534837 NO CALLS AFTER 7.00PM

Opening of Goodwood’s May Festival

The first day of Goodwood’s May Festival welcomed glorious sunshine and superb racing. The East Parade Lawn was a hive of activity throughout as local exhibitors including Perfectly Preserved, Yarty’s Vinegar and Horsham Coffee showcased their produce.

With brilliant cooking demonstrations from culinary professionals including Jane Davidson, 2016 winner of MasterChef, and Goodwood Estates very own Ben Hammett of farmer, butcher,chef, it was jockeys’ Hollie Doyle and locally born, Jason Watson, who stole the show when showcasing their talents off the turf in the Jockeys Omelette Challenge.

Jockeys cook up a storm at Goodwood Racecourse

Hollie Doyle appeared to command the kitchen throughout the three-minute cook-off, however, it was locally born Jason Watson who prevailed in the taste test, judged by Goodwood Hotel Chef, Mark Foreman. This marked a change of fortune for Jason who could only finish fifth to Hollie’s dominant display aboard Apex King in The Three Friday Nights Handicap Stakes, earlier in the afternoon.

The feature Listed Height Of Fashion Stakes went the way of Aloe Vera for Harry Bentley, having travelled beautifully throughout she went away readily at the line to beat favourite Shambolic.

Winning Trainer Ralph Beckett commented; “I wasn’t expecting that, she’s from a very good family and it looks like we have something nice on our hands. The aim would be The Park Hill Stakes at the end of the season; I don’t think she wants any further than a mile and a quarter.”

On the supporting card it was a day to remember for Oisin Murphy who scored aboard 16-1 shot Spirit of Appin in the British EBF Premier Fillies’ Handicap, before following up in the Jim Barry Handicap with Wedding Blue for trainer Andrew Balding.