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Kennet Valley Thoroughbreds - the syndicate way to get really involved in racing

 

Tullius - with KVT colours - wins the 2014 Group 2 Bet365 MileTullius - with KVT colours - wins the 2014 Group 2 Bet365 MileIf you are interested in racing, or even obsessed by it, and have always wanted to feel the thrills of ownership, joining a syndicate and buying a share in a horse is a first step.  Racing manager Sam Hoskins can certainly find you a share in one of the horses Kennet Valley Thoroughbreds (KVT.)

The KVT syndicate was started in 1988 by Nick Robinson - the man who helped get Robert Sangster into racing.  He suggested Sangster put a bet on Chalk Stream - a good Wiltshire name.  The horse did not win, but Sangster bought the horse as a gift for his fiancée.  

Nick Robinson, now aged 77, was a pioneer of horseracing syndicates.  He was the publisher of the racing industry's Pacemaker magazine, which has now merged with Thoroughbred Owner and Breeder magazine.  

Last year Robinson handed over management of KVT to a very much younger man - 28-year-old Sam Hoskins.  And he has now retired as KVT's Chairman - but still owns shares on some of KVT's horses.  Over the years KVT have sent out 122 winners and earned £2.8million in prize money.

Sam Hoskins at Newbury Sam Hoskins at Newbury Sam Hoskins became interested in racing when his grandmother owned half of Errant Knight - a chestnut gelding trained by Martin Pipe who won sixteen races in the early 1990s. Sam got a great thrill from leading him in after races.

When he was seventeen - and still at school - he found out how to lay off his bets.  Then one day he forgot to lay off what was for him then a huge gamble - a £20 bet on the Nicky Henderson trained hurdler Geos.  It was the 2004 running of Newbury's Tote Gold Trophy Hurdle.  Faced with a field of 25 runners, Sam spent an agonising time waiting to lose his £20.  But the horse won and he pocketed £400 - that hooked him on racing.

Sam Hoskins trained on the Irish National Stud course - a course that covers many aspects of racing: "I lost a stone and a half mucking out!"  He then worked at studs in Kentucky and Cambridge, New Zealand where there is a mix of breeders, trainers, polo, eventers and racing: "I learnt the ropes there."

Back in Britain, he spent two and a half fulfilling years working for the Niarchos family - leading racehorse owners and breeders.

With that £400 win behind him, and a head for the niceties of breeding and form, he went on to win racing's lottery prize: he landed the Racing Post Ten-to-Follow Competition for the 2008-2009 jump season - a cool £440,000 win.  It allowed him to set himself up in business.

In 2012 he started the Hot to Trot Racing Club with Luke Lillingston. This is more a racing members club than a syndicate. They lease horses rather than buying them and so can provide a much more affordable way into racehorse 'ownership'. Hot to Trot currently has seven horses.

The KVT silks The KVT silks Sam and Piers Winkworth are continuing KVT's regime of selling shares in single, named horses - 16 shares for each horse at around £7,000 per share.  With trainers' fees at between £50 and £60 per day, it is an expensive business.  But winnings and any money left over at the end of the season is returned to shareholders.

The syndicate has horses with trainers Andrew Balding, Charlie Hills, Ralph Beckett and Richard Hannon.  It is mainly involved with young horses - buying at the yearling sales in the £30-50,000 range.  This season they have four two year olds - three colts and a filly.

They have one 'old timer' - the much cherished syndicate star Tullius.  He is an Irish bred seven year-old chestnut gelding trained by Andrew Balding at Kingsclere.   On 25 April 2014, Tullius, with Jimmy Fortune aboard, ran on strongly to win Sandown's Group Two BET365 Mile by three and three-quarter lengths.  That win was worth £53,800 to KVT.  

And last month he won the Betway Doncaster Mile Stakes by half a length.  But Jimmy Fortune could only bring him in fourth of a field of five in last Friday's (April 24) BET365 Gordon Richards Stakes at Sandown - like humans, horses have to have 'off-days'.

Sam takes a realistic view of Tullius: "He's not the most straightforward horse. And we are already thinking ahead about ways to give him a good retirement after racing."

KVT horses earned their owners £238,477 in 2014:  "Last year," Sam told Marlborough News Online, "was our most successful season for many years, mainly due to the fantastic year had by our star Tullius."

KVT's other horses for this flat season are: Bishop's Leap, Frenchman, Magical Memory, Match my Fire, Maxwell, Signal Hill and Stroke of Midnight.

Some people may find that joining a syndicate not only brings the thrill of winning, but also some doubts when something goes wrong with your horse.  But the good days in the winner's enclosure always make up for any set backs.

 

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One rail down puts Tim Price and Wesko in second place at the Kentucky four star

Tim Price and Wesko (courtesy U.S. Eventing Association)Tim Price and Wesko (courtesy U.S. Eventing Association)New Zealand eventing pair Tim Price and Wesko, who are based at Mildenhall,  have finished second at the Rolex Kentucky Four Star Three Day Event, just behind the reigning Olympic champ Michael Jung.

On the final day of the competition, Price and Wesko (owned by Christina Knudsen and The Wesko Syndicate) had a single rail down in the showjumping.  This allowed  Germany's Michael Jung and Fischerrocana FST to take first place.

Jung also took third place with his second horse. And the defending Kentucky champion, Britain's William Fox-Pit and Bay My Hero went clear to hold on to fourth place.

The showjumping phase took place in front of a crowd of more than 23,000: “You just have to put everything to one side and focus,” said Price. “My horse is very good in a crowd and I believed that would lift him today . . . and it did.”

Next month, Price will be competing at Badminton with Ringwood Sky Boy, and later in the season he will return to Luhmuhlen which he won last year, but this time with a young horse.

His diary for 2016 is filling up:  “I will definitely be back at Kentucky next year.”

For New Zealanders at the event, the last day was clouded by Emily Cammock's hard decision to have her horse, the 15-year-old grey gelding Dambala, put down.  Vets told her that the leg injury that recurred during the cross country meant he would never be right again - even in retirement.

Cammock said in a statement:  “He was the most honest, willing and trusting horse that always gave 150 percent.  I feel honoured that he put his trust in me and together we made a pretty awesome team.”

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Tim Price tops Kentucky three day event leaderboard after the cross country - just

Following his equal first dressage score at the Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event on Friday (April 24), Tim Price tweeted a photo of a calm and grazing Wesko: "Super happy with this pony!!  Thanking ya'll for your support.  Time to cross country up!!!!"

Without much ado and with rain affecting the course, Tim and Wesko, who are based near Marlborough at Mildenhall, rode a faultless cross country round.  They remain top of the leaderboard with just the show jumping stage to come on Sunday (April 26.)

The Rolex Kentucky is one of the six highest rated four star eventing competitions held annually around the world.  And with two of the three disciplines behind them Tim and Wesko hold a 0.4 of a penalty point lead over the German rider and Olympic Champion Michael Jung who is in second place on LA Biosthetique-Sam FBW and also in third place on Fischerrocana FST.

British entry and former winner of the event, William Fox-Pitt lies in fourth place on Bay My Hero.He was one of the last to compete on the cross country course and came home with 8.4 time faults.

Of the cross country's 71 starters, there were just six combinations clear and inside the optimum time, with 26 going clear but picking up time faults, 15 were eliminated and 10 retired on the course.

Elated by Tim Price's performance with Wesko, the New Zealand team also suffered a disappointment. Emily Cammock and Dambala rode a clear round with 11.2 time faults - moving them from 38th to 18th after the cross country.

However, she has to withdraw him from the showjumping:  “After the second to last fence I felt something wasn’t quite right and as we pulled up at the end of the course it was obvious we had a problem,” said Cammock.  She thinks an old injury has been revived by the softer ground.

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Mildenhall's Tim Price and Wesko take dressage honours at Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event

Tim Price & Wesko: Luhmuhlen cross country 2014 (Photo: courtesy Kerstin Hoffmann)Tim Price & Wesko: Luhmuhlen cross country 2014 (Photo: courtesy Kerstin Hoffmann)New Zealand eventer Tim Price and Wesko delivered their best-ever dressage score to take equal first place at the front of the field at the Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event in the United States (Friday, April 24.)

It is the pair's first appearance at the top-ranked four star event, and they share the 36.3 penalty point lead with Olympic, World and two-time European champ Michael Jung of Germany aboard La Biosthetique – Sam FBW after a very smooth test.

Tim Price, who with his wife, Jonelle, have stables just north of Mildenhall, is delighted:  “I knew he had it in him,” he said of the big warmblood with whom he won the four star crown at Luhmuhlen last year. “I know he is that good, but to do it in the ring is what we have been trying to achieve. I am just elated with him really, he is such a cool horse.”

The Kentucky event is early in the European eventing season and has attracted a truly international field - 75 entrants all eyeing Rio 2016.

Britain's William Fox-Pitt - the reigning Kentucky champion - took third place in the dressage on Bay My Hero.  Another British entry, Nicola Wilson on Annie Clover is lying in eleventh place.  

But Zara Phillips and High Kingdom had to withdraw from the competition before the dressage stage began.  High Kingdom kicked out in his stable and split the skin on his off-hind leg.  He needed stitches and was withdrawn in the best interests of the horse.

Saturday's cross country stage will be the real test - rain is forecast.   And the 13,000 crowd who watched the dressage on Friday, can expect some tight riding over a tough cross country course - and to get wet.

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Al Basti Equiworld helps build the future for Greatwood students

General Manager of Al Basti Equiworld, Arun Menon with Greatwood Co-founders Helen & Michael Yeadon.General Manager of Al Basti Equiworld, Arun Menon with Greatwood Co-founders Helen & Michael Yeadon.Every year the spring sunshine brings Greatwood's retired racehorses out into the fields at Clench Common, just south of Marlborough - and after a winter being cared for mainly inside, they are looking very good indeed.

This spring has brought another very welcome development for Greatwood, the charity which combines delivery of pioneering education programmes with the rescue and rehabilitation of ex-racehorses. They have officially unveiled a brand new educational facility with the help of Al Basti Equiworld.
 
The Al Basti Equiworld Classroom will allow Greatwood to expand its teaching programmes which are specially designed to educate disadvantaged children and develop life skills in young adults with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND).
 
Greatwood's new classroom was formally opened by Arun Menon, General Manager of Al Basti Equiworld, the United Arab Emirate’s leading distributor of horse feeds, supplements and veterinary products which has funded the project.  Al Basti Equiworld’s contribution also extends to supporting the salary of a newly appointed teacher for the next three years.
 
Racehorse owner, sponsor and Founder of Al Basti Equiworld, Malih Al Basti said: "I was introduced to Greatwood last year and was immediately impressed by the work they are doing with horses and children.  The charity is unique both in its approach to education and the rehabilitation of former racehorses no matter how severe the need."
 
"I am delighted with the way the classroom looks and hope it will help Greatwood to enrich the education of young people for many years to come."
 
Helen Yeadon, who founded Greatwood with her husband Michael in 1993 said: "We are enormously grateful to Al Basti Equiworld for their support of this project which will enable us to provide enriched learning opportunities to some of the most socially and educationally disadvantaged children in our community."
 
"We are also delighted to be welcoming a new team member in Jane Muir-Brooks our new SEND teacher whose appointment is as a direct result of Al Basti Equiworld’s support."

Arun Menon joins Greatwood students in the new classroom with SEND teacher Jane Muir-Brooks (right)Arun Menon joins Greatwood students in the new classroom with SEND teacher Jane Muir-Brooks (right)

 

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The Queen watches two of her young horses run at Newbury Racecourse's Spring Trials meeting

The Queen with jockey Richard HughesThe Queen with jockey Richard HughesIn bright Spring sunshine, Her Majesty the Queen was at Newbury Racecourse on Friday (April 17) to watch two of her horses in the Dubai Duty Free Spring Trials meeting - the famous course's first flat meeting of the season.  And she saw them both placed in their races.

Her Majesty, who celebrates her 89th birthday this coming Tuesday, saw Richard Hughes ride her two year-old filly Ring of Truth into second place in the Al Basti Equiworld EBF Stallions Maiden Stakes.  

Ring of Truth is with Marlborough trainer Richard Hannon - as the racecard put it, this "Trainer's newcomers command respect."  The filly's first outing won the Queen £1,925 in prize money.

The race was won by Harvard Man trained by Brian Meehan at Manton and ridden by Italian jockey Antonio Fresu, who is racing in Britain this season.

Later in the afternoon, the Queen's Capel Path was brought home in third place by Ryan Moore in the Dubai Duty Free Full of Surprises Handicap Stakes. 

Capel Path, a three year-old bay colt trained at Newmarket by Sir Michael Stoute, won a maiden race at the end of the last flat season at Newcastle.

The Queen went from the Grandstand to see her horses being saddled and watched them in the ring. 

She was wearing a 'vibrant' magenta coat and matching hat.  Though some people in the crowd thought it was cerise.  And a man who described the colour as 'puce' was sternly put in his place - puce is not, he was told, a Royal colour.

The Queen with her racing adviser, John WarrenThe Queen with her racing adviser, John Warren Richard Hughes in the Royal silksRichard Hughes in the Royal silks

 

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Tedworth Point-to-Point: two trainers go home from Barbury Racecourse as double winners

Barbury Racecourse - a specialist venue for point-to-pointsBarbury Racecourse - a specialist venue for point-to-pointsThere were two doubles on the card at the Tedworth Point-to-Point held at a bright and breezy Barbury Racecourse (April 12) where a large crowd gathered to watch the feature race of the day.   The Tedworth Gold Cup (the JM Finn & Co Mixed Open Race) is a stayers test over 3 miles 6 furlongs.

Patiently ridden by Charlie Dando, the Michael Hawker trained mare, Cecile De Volanges, was tucked in behind the leaders for much of the race.  Dando made his move five fences from home.  Although Turtle Boys was not going to go down without a fight, the mare eventually got up to win by two and a half lengths.

"She travelled well although she made a couple of mistakes early which knocked her confidence," explained Dando. "But as the race progressed she became more fluent, winging everything down the back straight and running on well."

Hawker dashed off to saddle Bobble Mist in the next race, who duly obliged when finishing alone in the Simpsons Subaru and Jockey Club Mares Open Maiden, giving her trainer his second win of the day.



Trouble Digger, partnered by Joe Drinkwater gave elder brother and trainer Sam Drinkwater his first win in a tightly fought finish to beat Joe the Trucker by a neck in the William Bartholomew Party Organisers Club Members Race for Veteran & Novice Riders.

John Wills, who owned and bred the winner, is no stranger to the saddle himself having taken part in the Grand National - back in 1969!   Drinkwater's second win came in the 2 mile 4 furlong Open Maiden Race with Breath of Blighty - having run out in his previous race - firmly anchored by jockey, Charlie Deutsch to beat Deal Of the Day, who has now been placed five times in Maidens this season.



Sent to post the 1-5 favourite, the Sally Alner trained Garstin under Luke Kilgarriff led for much of the way and stayed on well to hold off a challenge from Getyouractogether and Amelia Glass and take the Prestat Chocolates Confined Race. 



Coeur Brûlée, owned, trained and ridden by David Turner won the Pheasant Inn at Lambourn Restricted Race cosily from Daves Venture. "He's kept and trained from a field belonging to Paul Coombes - my farrier", smiled Turner. "So I have him to thank."



In the Haddon Training sponsored pony races that preceded the main card, Harriet Godfrey, one of the leading pony race riders in the country won Division 2 of the 14.2hh race on Goldwell's Gucci, just ahead of the fast finishing Alfie Martindale and Otterburn Lady. Poppy Scott won the 13.2hh pony race aboard Coveham Generation followed by Division 1 of the 14.2hh race won by Ben Sutton riding Scribblin.



The day concluded with the Tedworth Hunt Charity Race, run in good humour in aid of the Wiltshire Air Ambulance and won by Michelle Williamson and Spider.

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The Parelli training method can forge a firm and lasting relationship between horse and rider

 

Sarah Wearing Sarah Wearing Sarah Wearing is one of only six 3* Parelli Instructors in the United Kingdom.  She has worked with and ridden horses and ponies since she was three years old.  She is based at Suddene Park farm, near Burbage - in partnership with Eileen and Peter Devenish who farmed there for nearly forty years and now run a livery yard.

She keeps her own horses there, and she holds training courses and two Parelli clinics a month during the summer.

In the education of young children there are many theories about how to get the best results: names such as Steiner, Fröbel, Montessori, Piaget have all had followers.  And so it is with the training of horses - there are several different approaches.

There is the traditional method of 'breaking in' young horses - which takes a lot of time and patience. Then there is the original American ‘horse whisperer‘ Monty Roberts whose representative in the UK is Kelly Marks with her Intelligent Horsemanship scheme based in Lambourn.   

There is Gary Witheford - based near Burbage - who is known as a 'horse whisperer', but prefers his skills with horses of doubtful temperament to be known as 'natural horsemanship'.  And there is Parelli.  

 The Parelli organisation was founded in the United States in 1981 by Pat Parelli - a life-long horseman, horse trainer, rodeo rider, cowboy and teacher.  In 1993 his wife Linda joined the Parelli organisation.  The Parelli method is becoming much more popular in Britain.

The Parelli approach relies not on training horses, but teaching each horse owner to become their own horse trainer - and to build a relationship of trust and communication with each horse.  It also uses the term 'natural horsemanship'.

Horsemanship skills are taught in the Parelli programme, but the foundation of the method is the relationship with the animal.   It enables horse lovers at all levels and in all disciplines to achieve a series of steps: success without force - partnership without dominance - teamwork without fear - willingness without intimidation - and harmony without coercion.

Parelli uses specially designed halters that are hand-tied with knots in strategic places. They are made from high-quality, light-weight yachting rope, which is soft and strong and comfortable for the horse.

Parelli also uses a 'carrot stick'.  This is not a whip.  Sarah Wearing describes it as "An extension of your arm - a communication tool through touching".  She explains that as horses are long and upright, and the long 'carrot stick' "Levels up the playing field" for horse owners.

Sarah has wide experience in horsemanship having competed in dressage, show jumping and eventing, riding in teams and individually.   Since 2007, she has trained with Parelli at the organisation's Colorado, Florida and Stoneleigh training centres.
 
When Marlborough News Online caught up with Sarah at Suddene Park Farm, she was showing a class of horse owners how to turn their horses: "If you control the hindquarters of a horse, you can control the whole horse."

This is how to do it...This is how to do it... ...it's not as easy as it looks......it's not as easy as it looks... ...that's got it....that's got it.

 

She teaches many first time owners, as well as people who come back to riding after a break.  She believes Parelli not only allows people to have a good relationship with their horses, but it also helps to build riders' self-confidence.

Sarah Wearing explains her belief in the Parelli method in convincing and practical terms: "If everyone used Parelli, everybody - including the horses - would be a lot happier and the world would be a lot safer."

What's next?What's next?

 

 

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