New chairman for Cowdray Park Polo Club

Cowdray Park Polo Club has announced that, following completion of his term of office, Roderick Vere Nicholl has stepped down as Chairman of the Club.

New chairman for Cowdray Park Polo Club

The Club’s President, Viscount Cowdray, stated: “On behalf of the Committee we are hugely grateful to Roderick for the enthusiasm, energy and commitment he brought to the role, and for steering the Club through a difficult year.”

The Club is further delighted to announce that Andrew Swaffield has accepted the President’s invitation to be appointed the new Chairman.

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.”

Echo Brava runs well for Rebecca Woodman after two-year lay off

Echo Brava, who finished second at 22-1 at Kempton Park for trainer Rebecca Woodman
RACEHORSE trainer Rebecca Woodman continued a long family tradition of horse racing successes when she sent out Echo Brava to finish second at 22-1 on the all-weather at Kempton Park yesterday in a highly competitive race.

Following the run Rebecca said: “Today saw me saddle my first runner on the flat as a fully licensed racehorse trainer.”

Well ridden by Liam Keniry, the 11-year-old made smooth headway in the race to secure runner-up spot behind the winner, Mr Zee, sent off at 8-1 trained by Michael Blake and ridden by Marco Ghiani.

Echo Brava had seven wins to his credit on the Flat, and now has notched up three second places over hurdles, and should go on to win over the obstacles.

Based at Parkers Barn Stables, East Lavant, near Chichester, Rebecca comes from a highly successful horse racing family, which has been there since her grandfather, Sydney Woodman, started training. Her father John died in 2014 after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer , leaving his wife Penny, son James and daughter Rebecca.

Her grandfather, Syd Woodman, had died in 1986, having held a licence for 25 years, and was a well respected trainer. He was a former head lad to the legendary Captain Ryan Price who trained there after the War.

Following his death, his son, Steve Woodman, eventually took over, sending out runners on the Flat and over jumps. The yard had 20 boxes and Steve said at the time:
“Fifteen or 16 horses is quite enough for us, we have reliable local staff and we use gallops at the bottom of the hill on the Goodwood Estate so the set-up is pretty compact.”

He trained at Parker’s Barn for 15 years with good success for a group of owners, some of whom had horses with his father, Syd, in the Sixties and Seventies.

At that time, Steve Woodman said: “When dad died in 1986 he had held a licence for 25 years. He had been head lad to the legendary Captain Ryan Price who trained here after the War. When Ryan moved to Findon dad stayed on with some of his horses and Syd Dale, who also became a successful trainer, was head lad at Findon.”

After Ryan Price closed the East Lavant operation, Syd Woodman was able to buy Parker’s Barn. His two boys, John and Steve, were into ponies in a big way at the time and John eventually became a professional jockey, but Steve, on account of his weight, remained an amateur. John Woodman, Rebecca’s father, sadly died at age of 67 in 2014.

Now Rebecca has made an excellent start in carrying on the family tradition of training racehorses. Echo Brava had seven wins to his credit on the Flat, and now has notched up three second places over hurdles, and should go on to win over the obstacles.

Following his father’s death, his son, Steve Woodman, eventually took over, sending out runners on the Flat and over jumps.

The yard had 20 boxes and Steve said at the time: “Fifteen or 16 horses is quite enough for us, we have reliable local staff and we use gallops at the bottom of the hill on the Goodwood Estate so the set-up is pretty compact.”

Steve went on to train at Parker’s Barn for 15 years with success for a group of owners, some of whom had horses trained with his father in the Sixties and Seventies. Steve was keen to maintain the tradition. He said: “When dad died in 1986 he had held a licence for 25 years.”

“He had been head lad to the legendary Captain Ryan Price who trained here after the War. When Ryan moved to Findon dad stayed on with some of his horses and Sid Dale, who also became a successful trainer, was head lad at Findon.”

After Ryan Price closed the East Lavant operation, Syd Woodman was able to buy Parker’s Barn. His two boys, John and Steve, were into ponies in a big way at the time and John eventually became a professional jockey, but Steve, on account of his weight, remained an amateur.

Former jockey and bloodstock agent John Woodman sadly died at age of 67 in 2014.

Now Rebecca has made an excellent start in carrying on the family tradition of training racehorses. There should be a bright future ahead for her.

Echo Brava had seven wins to his credit on the Flat, and now has notched up three second places over hurdles, and should go on to win over the obstacles for Rebecca.


Live launch of 2021 Gauntlet of Polo ®

THE 2021 GAUNTLET OF POLO® LAUNCHES FEBRUARY 17,

LIVE ON GLOBAL POLO TV

The Pinnacle Competition with $1 Million in Prize Money features the Most Skilled Athletes and Finest Horses in the World

An “invitation only” Virtual Media Day on Jan. 6 provided updates on the upcoming polo season, the safety restrictions for on-site fans, the teams that are competing, how to watch, and an overview of travel to Palm Beach County during these unprecedented times. Video from the event can be watched herehttps://we.tl/t-IRo9cDxSNv

The 2021 GAUNTLET OF POLO® will begin with the C.V. Whitney Cup from Feb. 17 – March 7, continue with the USPA Gold Cup®, March 10 – 28, and conclude with the illustrious U.S. Open Polo Championship® March 31 – April 18. Reigning 2019 GAUNTLET OF POLO® Champions Pilot are among the nine teams, seeking to inscribe their name on the trophy for the second time and secure the prize money purse in 2021.

Revising the prize money distribution for the 2021 season, the new format still guarantees a total of $1 million in prize money, however, runners-up in each tournament will also receive a portion of the earnings. $100,000 will be awarded to each of the winning teams of the C.V. Whitney Cup and USPA Gold Cup® and $25,000 to each runner up. Similarly, $200,000 in prize money will be presented to the winner of the U.S. Open Polo Championship® and $50,000 awarded to the runner up. Additionally, any team who wins all three tournaments consecutively will receive a $500,000 bonus and be crowned as the GAUNTLET Champion. Another exciting change from prior years will be a donation made by USPAGL to the final two teams’ polo charity of their choice. 

“I’m grateful we can bring polo back to the players, members and fans and I anticipate a highly competitive and exciting season that is not to be missed,” said Robert Puetz, CEO of the USPA. “Featuring the world’s greatest players and equine partners, the 2021 GAUNTLET OF POLO®  would not be possible without the outstanding efforts from all the Team Organizations to persevere through the challenging times and return to vie for the coveted title and largest prize money purse in the sport.”

All three GAUNTLET OF POLO® tournaments will be exclusively livestreamed on Global Polo TV (GPTV), polo’s premier destination for live and on-demand polo content in the world, as well as the world’s largest polo archive. GPTV is accessible at globalpolo.com and on major apps including iOS, Android, Roku and Amazon Fire. To date, more than 130 official USPA events have aired live, 500 on-demand videos and 5,000 hours of content have been available on the platform.

“Global Polo TV is part of the long-term vision of USPA Global Licensing and U.S. Polo Assn., the official brand of the USPA and sponsor of the GAUNTLET OF POLO®,” said David Cummings, Chairman of USPA Global Licensing. “Our mission is to provide polo content and inside polo stories that are accessible anytime and anywhere. With the increasing uncertainty of the pandemic, Global Polo TV offers a safe viewing experience for all our fans and members.”

November 2020 marked the beginning of GPTV’s transition to pay-to-view live game packages for non-USPA members consisting of three package options: the Polo Pass, the GAUNTLET OF POLO® Pass and the Premium Polo Pass. The Polo Pass is the only one of the three passes which excludes the 2021 GAUNTLET OF POLO®. Special offers are available at www.globalpolo.com

Sad death of racehorse trainer Zoe Davison

Racehorse trainer Zoe Davison died shortly after two of her racehorses, Brown Bullet and Mr Jack had scored an excellent double when both won at Plumpton’s meeting yesterday.

Her stable staff had prepared Brown Bullet and Mr Jack to secure the poignant winning double over jumps. Zoe had continued to train until the end and died aged 60 after a long battle with terminal breast cancer.

Davison's stable was based in Sussex close to Plumpton
Zoe Davison’s stable was based close to Plumpton Photo: PA:Press Association

Zoe Davison had suffered from breast cancer for the past four-and-a-half years, but her daughter recently revealed it had spread.

Assistant trainer and daughter Gemma said that the family were taking it day-by-day. And just two hours after the second leg of an emotional double for the team at Plumpton , Zoe died in hospital.

Brown Bullet ridden by James Best secured the first win, with stablemate Mr Jack winning later on the card to create a memorable double.

Gemma, and Zoe’s husband Andrew Irvine, had run the stables and looked after the horses while Zoe was in hospital. Zoe was a former amateur rider turned trainer, and had sent out more than 100 winners during her career- most of them at Plumpton, where she will be sadly missed.

Poignant meeting at Plumpton, as winning trainer dies in hospital

Racing took place at Plumpton’s popular jump course on Sunday when the opening Sky 415 Novices Hurdle attracted nine runners and produced a competitive race.

But it turned out to be a particularly poignant raceday because popular UK trainer Zoe Davison, who had a double at the meeting, was in hospital . She sadly died shortly after her stable’s winning double at the track, where her stable staff prepared Brown Bullet and Mr Jack to win over jumps.

The winner, Brown Bullet, trained by Zoe Davison and ridden by James Best, was impressive, having been held up in the rear for most of the race, but made good headway in the final stages. Brown Bullet took the lead after jumping the penultimate fence, and despite going left was in charge during the final 110 yards to win.

Zoe Davison also sent out the winner of the third race, a handicap hurdle over one mile and seven furlongs, when Mr Jack, ridden by James Davies beat Bard of Brittany ( Sheena West and James Best) by three quarters of a length,

Runner up was Bay of Intrigue, trained by John O’Shea and ridden by Jeremiah McGrath. His chances of claiming victory were hit by hanging left and not being able to rally in the final 100 yards. In third place was Whataboutwalt, trained by Ella Pickard and ridden by David Noonan, who put in a good performance but could find no extra in the final 100 yards.

Winner of the Sussex National at Plumpton – Seaston Spirit, trained by Oliver Sherwood and ridden by Aiden Coleman Photo: Plumpton Racecourse

In second place was 4-1 favourite Special Acceptance, trained by Paul Webber and well ridden by Tom O’Brien to take second lace, two lengths behind the winner. A further length back in third place was Benevolent Dictator at 9-2, ridden by Jamie Moore and trained by Gary Moore.

But there was compensation for the Moore family when they sent out High Up In The Air, 11-8 favourite, ridden by Jamie and trained by his father Gary, to win the Handicap Chase over two miles three furlongs from Oxwich Bay, trained by Evan Williams and ridden by Adam Wedge. Further back in third was Rostello, trained by Dr Richard Newland and ridden by Sam Twiston-Davies.

Plumpton racing today is televised

Sunday’s card looks a cracker and let’s hope the feature race is as good as last year’s renewal where a masterful ride from Harry Cobden brought home Christmas in April for Colin Tizzard and the Swallowfield Racing Team to win the Sky Sports Racing Sussex National.

Competitive racing at Plumpton behind closed doors Photo: Jeannie Knight

Unfortunately racing is behind closed doors with no public there to see the racing live, but Sky Sports Racing will have a good team there. Tune in on channel 415 or through your betting apps where you can also watch the racing without having a bet nowadays.
 
The racecard for today with all the runners and riders, includes the last of Plumpton’s Bonus Races this season. The prize is £40k if the horse wins today and then goes on to win a steeplechase at the 2021 Cheltenham Festival.
 
Race previews by the Tote are a useful guide to the days punting and/or placepots if you did want to have a flutter! Click on url4107.plumptonracecourse.co.uk/ls/click

Hickstead’s ‘Royal’ appearance

  Equestrian fans might have spotted one of sport’s most iconic venues on screen this week, with the All England Jumping Course at Hickstead appearing on the hit Netflix series, The Crown.

Hickstead was used as the filming location for scenes for another famous equestrian event – Badminton Horse Trials. Erin Doherty, the actress playing The Princess Royal, is seen competing in the showjumping phase at the 1979 event, where she finished sixth.

The huge Longines International Arena with its permanent grandstands and multitude of showjumps at Hickstead made a convincing backdrop, with cheering crowds added through computer graphics. Princess Anne is seen jumping a clear round over a sizable course of jumps that included some of Hickstead’s famous fences, such as the Al Shira’aa Derby wall.

In the scene, the characters of The Queen and Prince Philip, played by Olivia Coleman and Tobias Menzies, are seen in the Master’s Box, cheering their daughter on. They are also joined by the character of Prince Charles (Josh O’Connor), who is later depicted having one of his early meetings with the young Lady Diana Spencer (Emma Corrin) when queuing to leave the event.

“I’m a huge fan of The Crown so we were more than happy for part of the new series to be filmed here,” says Hickstead Director Lizzie Bunn. “It was quite a production, taking several weeks to set-up and four full days of filming. Quite a few members of the Hickstead team were involved in filming the scenes too, playing roles such as the gate steward and the official waving a flag at the finish. They all had to go to Elstree to be fitted out with costumes from the era, which was great fun.”

The rider who did the actual jumping in the action shots was Amy Inglis, who is a regular competitor at Hickstead and was a member of the British Nations Cup team there in 2019.

The Crown may have used some artistic licence when it came to creating the ‘Badminton’ scenes, but Princess Anne did actually compete at Hickstead, most notably winning the combined training in 1973 on her famous horse Doublet. The Princess Royal has also visited the showground on a number of occasions in an official capacity, while Her Majesty The Queen is the official patron of the Longines Royal International Horse Show at Hickstead.

 
About Hickstead
The All England Jumping Course at Hickstead in West Sussex was founded in 1960 by Douglas Bunn, who had dreamed of creating a venue that could rival those on the continent. The showground has been the venue for several World and European Showjumping Championships over the years, and now hosts two major international shows annually – the Al Shira’aa Hickstead Derby Meeting and the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ of Great Britain at the Longines Royal International Horse Show – as well as a national show in September known as the Science Supplements All England Jumping Championships.

Premier League dressage for Hickstead in May 2021

Premier League Dressage comes to Hickstead in May 2021
Photo: c) Julian Portch.com

A NEW chapter for the sport of dressage at Hickstead will begin in May 2021 when the All England Jumping Course is set to host a Premier League Dressage Show .

The three-day fixture (21-23 May) will include classes from Advanced Medium to Grand Prix, with entries expected from a number of British Dressage’s leading riders.

Dressage fans had previously expressed huge disappointment when it was announced that Dressage at Hickstead – the sister site to the All England Jumping Course – was to close after 27 successful years.

Dressage at Hickstead had been the brainchild of rider Dane Rawlins and Hickstead founder Douglas Bunn, and it quickly became established as one of the leading dressage venues in the world, with the European Championships taking place there in 2003. It was also the chosen venue for an annual CDIO competition, which included the British leg of the FEI Dressage Nations Cup series.
Pictured below: Dane Rawlins riding Sidney owned by Lady Harris
Dane made the difficult decision to close Dressage at Hickstead in August, and the site has since been dismantled.

“We are immensely grateful to Dane for his many years of hard work and dedication to Dressage at Hickstead,” said Lizzie Bunn, Director of Hickstead.

“We understand that many riders were saddened to lose the venue, and while it was unsustainable to keep running the dressage side as a separate entity, we have been working hard this season to formulate plans to hold dressage competitions within the main Hickstead site.”

This has been made possible due to recent investments into the Hickstead showground, with more than £500,000 spent on making several existing grass rings into two vast all-weather arenas, with top of the range Andrews Bowen surfaces.

During the winter months, these arenas are used for cross-country and showjumping schooling courses, but at the beginning of the 2021 summer season they will be transformed to create a Premier League dressage venue with a number of arenas running concurrently as well as an international sized warm-up arena.

“We want to test the water with our first Premier League show, to gauge the initial levels of support and interest – with a view of going on to potentially bigger events,” Lizzie added. “We are currently discussing a number of other options, including hosting existing finals here, plus hopefully an international competition in 2022. But this very much depends on the entire dressage community getting behind this new venture and making it a success.”

Dressage has hit new levels of popularity in the past decade, with British riders Charlotte Dujardin, Carl Hester and their team-mates winning multiple championship medals – most memorably claiming team and individual gold at London 2012.

When informed that dressage would be continuing at Hickstead, a venue he has had so much success at, Carl Hester said: “This is fabulous news and most welcome. We need to keep up the momentum and build our future teams, and venues with world class facilities like Hickstead are key to that. Experienced riders use Premier Leagues to bring our younger horses on, while these events also give up-and-coming combinations a chance to taste the big occasion. On behalf of the riders and owners, I’d like to thank the Bunn family for providing this opportunity, and for continuing the next chapter of Hickstead which will follow on from all that Dane and his team achieved.”

Jason Brautigam, Chief Executive of British Dressage, added: “After 27 magnificent years of Dressage at Hickstead under Dane Rawlins, it was of course incredibly disappointing when it was announced in August that he was unable to continue. 

“We subsequently had really positive and constructive discussions with the Bunn family and British Dressage is delighted that the sport will be able to continue enjoying a presence at the venue in 2021 and beyond. Hickstead remains a special and prestigious venue for our members and we look forward to next year’s Premier League fixture, which will hopefully be a stepping-stone to the return of more shows in future years, including international competition.

“We would like to take this opportunity to thank Dane and his team for their immense contribution to the sport – and to Edward and Lizzie Bunn for being so supportive of our efforts to retain dressage at Hickstead.”

Hickstead was the first purpose-built showjumping venue in Great Britain, and it now hosts two major international fixtures each year – the Al Shira’aa Hickstead Derby Meeting in June, and July’s Longines Royal International Horse Show.

This year the showground reached its 60th birthday milestone, having first opened in 1960. “My father Douglas will always be remembered most for his passion for showjumping, but he was also an innovator and advocate of all equestrian sport, and he knew that for Hickstead to be successful it had to diversify and cater to other disciplines as well,” said Lizzie. “Dressage classes have been held here at the showground since the 1970s, eventually leading to the opening of Dressage at Hickstead in 1993. I’m pleased that we can carry on Dad’s legacy – and that of Dane – by continuing to showcase the sport of dressage here in West Sussex.”

The All England Jumping Course at Hickstead in West Sussex was founded in 1960 by Douglas Bunn, who had dreamed of creating a venue that could rival those on the continent. The showground has been the venue for several World and European Showjumping Championships over the years, and now hosts two major international shows annually – the Al Shira’aa Hickstead Derby Meeting and the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ of Great Britain at the Longines Royal International Horse Show – as well as a national show in September known as the Science Supplements All England Jumping Championships.