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Marlborough’s Jesse Campbell makes it an Irish double at Millstreet

Jesse Campbell with KaapachinoJesse Campbell with KaapachinoMarlborough-based event rider Jesse Campbell dominated at the inaugural Drishane Castle International Horse Trials at Millstreet in County Cork where he won both the CIC3* riding Kaapachino and the CIC2* on Cleveland.

Jesse, who is a member of New Zealand Eventing's high performance accelerator squad, won the Noel C Duggan Engineering CIC3* on a score of 44.3 penalties.

Then on a score of 44.7, Jesse also landed the Eventing Ireland CIC2* riding the Dutch Warmblood gelding Cleveland, an eight-year-old by the thoroughbred stallion Watermill Swatch who stands at Loughrea.

The 26-year-old, who celebrated his birthday during the event, said: “It was an incredible venue where the Duggan family had made every effort to make it a superb event. Everything was fantastic, from the facilities to the Mike Etherington-Smith designed cross-country courses, which were stunning. They even amended the schedule so that we were able to catch our ferry in time back to England.”

Kaapachino is a 13-year-old New Zealand thoroughbred that Jesse purchased as a six-year-old and then exported him from New Zealand when he relocated to England in 2010. “He’s my best friend. He’s not the most talented but he always gives me everything and tries so hard. It’s an incredible feeling and he does that every time.”

The pair competed in their first four star at Luhmuhlen earlier this year where they were well placed in the top ten after the dressage and show jumping but slipped down a few places following the final phase of showjumping.

Jesse said: “It's sometimes difficult for these thoroughbreds to showjump well after cross country, but at Millstreet, he showjumped a beautiful clear first before going out and really enjoying himself across country.”

Cleveland franked the popular belief that he is the next superstar for team New Zealand after a faultless display gave them their second two star win this season. “He won at Barbury and then went to Camphire where he finished third in a very competitive class. He’s an incredible horse with a very exciting future,” said Jesse.

More international travels are in prospect for the New Zealander before the eventing season draws to a close with Kaapachino heading to Pau in France at the end of October and Amsterdam, another exciting horse, competing at Boekelo in Germany.

Jesse Campbell is based at Ogbourne Maizey.

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Greatwood plays its part in training young people and easing the shortage of stable staff

Three of Greatwood's successful GET GOING  students Three of Greatwood's successful GET GOING students Greatwood - the charity at Clench Common which looks after retired racehorses and uses them to help disadvantaged young people - is also an accredited centre for introducing young people to the skills needed for jobs in the various parts of the equine industry.

Last week all the students taking their 1st4sport Get Going educational programme passed the one-week intensive course which gives them an entry level award in 'Assisting with basic care of horses'.

Among the successful students was a nineteen year-old refugee from war-torn Sudan who came to Britain four years ago and now wants to start a career in the racing industry. Another student found that being around horses helped alleviate her medical condition - and for the first time in four years she spent the week without taking pain-killers.

These courses are designed to help young and unemployed people to get on the jobs ladder - and they are also helping with the racing industry's shortage of stable staff.

The need to help the young unemployed is a given in these economic times, but the shortage of stable staff is a newer problem. It has been fuelled by new Home Office rules on entry for experienced work-riders from the Middle East and southern Asia who are favoured by some trainers.

Earlier this month a million pounds from the proceeds of the sale of the publicly-owned Tote to Betfred has been provided to help develop the racing industry's workforce and improve staff retention.

It is estimated that there are currently 500 vacancies in training yards across Britain. And the situation is likely to get worse as the industry expects a thousand more horses will be in training by 2020.

The course run at Greatwood is the '1st4sport Entry Level Award in Assisting with Basic Care of Horses (Entry 2) (QCF)’. It is designed to benefit learners through an introduction to horse care for people who have an interest in horses and may want to work with them, but who have little previous experience.

The award gives the learner the basic skills and knowledge required to assist with caring for horses under supervision and prepares them for further training.

The intensive course includes a ‘field trip’ to a racing yard, talks from industry guest speakers and a veterinary and farrier demonstration. This qualification is run in partnership with the British Horseracing Authority.

The Get Going programme receives no direct funding from the local authority and is not currently eligible for funding from the Skills Funding Agency. Due to the economic and social circumstances of students attending Greatwood, places on the Get Going programme are offered free of charge to the young people and funding comes via grants from trusts and foundations.

It costs Greatwood over £500,000 each year to support up to 60 ex-racehorses and deliver education to 300 disadvantaged young people. The charity relies heavily on the support and generosity of the racing industry as well as the general public - with fund-raising efforts throughout the year.


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Lockeridge eventer Andrew Nicholson says he was 'extremely fortunate' not be paralysed by his Gatcombe Park fall

Andrew Nicholson at Barbury - July 2015Andrew Nicholson at Barbury - July 2015New Zealand eventer Andrew Nicholson, who is based at Lockeridge, has issued a statement about his progress after surgery following a fall at Gatcombe Park's Festival of British Eventing on August 9.

Nicholson says that he is "extremely fortunate" not have suffered paralysis from the injury to his neck.  He says he will not be riding again this season.

This is his statement in full:   "I am very pleased to be back at home and wanted to take the opportunity to thank everyone myself for their kind messages and support which have meant a lot to me and my family.

In terms of my injury I realise I have been incredibly lucky.

My surgeon, Mr Jeremy Reynolds, told me that the injury I sustained to my neck would have caused paralysis at the time of injury, in 98% of cases.  I was extremely fortunate this did not happen.

I underwent an eight hour operation where they repaired the fractures and stabilised my cervical spine.  This procedure in itself was not without risk, and I cannot thank enough, the team of spinal surgeons at the John Radcliffe hospital, for what they have done.

Obviously I won't be riding again this season as it will take some time to fully recover.  Whilst I have to take things easy, I am up and about and fully mobile, and look forward to getting back to full fitness in due course.

Thank you in advance for allowing my family and I some privacy and time to rest and recover.”

Riding Cillnabradden Evo, Nicholson fell at the very last fence on the cross-country course. Cillnabradden Evo was not injured in the fall

Nicholson had already withdrawn his two top horses Avebury and Nereo, from the cross-country phase of Gatcombe's British Open Championship. They were both entered for the prestigious Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials (September 3-6.)

It was hoped that Nicholson and Avebury would win the Burghley CCI 4* title for a fourth successive year - topping his four wins in a row at the St James's Place Barbury International Horse Trials CCI 3* event.

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What I did in the holidays: I went to a French country race meeting and lost quite a few euros


For the last meeting of its short summer season (June to August), Le Dorat's racecourse - known as the 'Hippodrome de la Sagne' - had a full card of seven flat, trotting and cross country races and a good-sized crowd enjoying a sunny August Saturday.

Racing in the Basse-Marche area of Haute Vienne in this north-west corner of the Limousin region, is an informal affair.  It looks much like a village fete - with lunches served, picnics encouraged and a whopping bouncy castle as well as miniature ponies to keep the children happy.

Stylish hat...Stylish hat...It is not racing in the style of Deauville or Longchamp, but the competition is in deadly earnest. 

However there one or two race-goers out to cut a stylish dash.

The first trotting race - known elsewhere as 'harness racing' with horse, driver and a two-wheeled 'sulky' - ended with a voluble complaint that the first horse over the line had broken into a gallop.  

Gallop? Moi?Gallop? Moi?Discussion of the complaint was continued behind closed doors and the horse and driver were disqualified - much to the disappointment of those who had backed them.  Later the driver concerned was seen in animated discussion with officials - to no avail.

The course has two buildings for pool betting - that's a similar way of betting to our tote system.  Not all the machines - which looked about 1970 vintage - worked all the time, which gave rise to some worried queues as start-times got nearer.

The minimum stake was two euros and only the oldest and most seasoned experts seemed to be taking away rolls of notes.  They had got to grips with the complexities of the 'trio' and 'le pari couplé' as well as the beginners' 'le pari simple'.

Puzzling out the formPuzzling out the formQueueing to lay a betQueueing to lay a betThe Haute-Vienne has had a very hot, very dry summer.  There is a hosepipe ban in force. The grain harvest was over by the end of July and the maize crop is well below its normal growth and there are worries abroad about feed for the cattle when winter comes.

However, a recent over-night storm and a day of dawn-to-dusk downpours had freshened the grass and eased the ground.  So the cross-country races over steeplechase fences could go ahead.  

Entry to the course for adults was six euros with a free race card - and the chance to spend one euro more on a form guide.  And there was a free leaflet explaining the card, form and technical terms.  It was, of course, in French - and even the 'le langage des courses' feature on technical terms challenged our French.

The starterThe starterThe climbThe climbThe last race - the Prix Armand de Vasselot at 6.30 pm - was the longest cross country event on the card: all of 4,500 metres with a great variety of obstacles including a tricky bank between two fences that looked more like a 'sleeping gendarme'.  

Two miles with the hill up toward the water tower taken twice was quite a task for the field of seven geldings and one mare - all five years-old and above.

The starter carried his step-ladder out to the starting line - which was right in front of the crowds. Having taken their mounts to inspect several of the fences, the jockeys rode up towards the start.

Then three of the field took off without a by-your-leave - luckily the starter was just far enough away from the crowds so we could not hear his language as he called them back.  In fact they were stopped quite efficiently by a steward with the appropriate white flag just a hundred metres along the track.

It was a tough race and the relative outsider, eight year-old Tamara du Granit under Marc-Antoine Billard just held on to win.  The American-bred gelding looked pretty fresh as he arrived back to the ring to be checked by the vet.

The winner's on the rightThe winner's on the right

Weighing in Weighing in As at the best racecourses, jockey Marc-Antoine Billard gave a quick post-race interview before weighing-in.  As the crowd dispersed calmly to towards the car park, there were not many people staying around to collect their winnings.

The biggest gamble of the day had been in the other cross-country race - the Prix de Bellefon.  Facing the 4,000 metre course was the previously un-raced Alloue de Kerser ridden by Céline Picard.

In the parade ring this French-bred mare looked like an easy winner.  A fine horse in good trim and seemingly ready for the off.  It was not to be. 

She came in last by a good few lengths - gently jeered at by a crowd of disappointed punters among them some visitors from Britain!

Le Dorat's grandstand Le Dorat's grandstand


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Neck surgery follows fall for local rider Andrew Nicholson

Andrew NicholsonAndrew NicholsonLockeridge-based eventer Andrew Nicholson has undergone neck surgery after falling at the Festival of British Eventing at Gatcombe Park on Sunday.

The New Zealander, who has three Olympic team medals to his name, was riding Cillnabradden Evo when he suffered the fall.

The 54-year-old was taken to hospital in Swindon before being transferred to John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford.

In a statement to Horse & Hound on Tuesday, Nicholson's family said: "Andrew underwent surgery to repair the injury to his neck. The surgery went well and his condition is stable. Andrew is comfortable and has full range of movement. His family would like to thank the many well-wishers."

Nicholson has also won three world titles in his career. He was last seen in action locally in July, when he won the CCI*** title - the feature competition at the St James's Place International Barbury Horse Trials for the fourth year running.

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Richard Hughes ends long and sparkling career as jockey to become a trainer...and eat breakfast


Lizzie Hughes: "Breakfast not for jockeys!"Lizzie Hughes: "Breakfast not for jockeys!"Richard Hughes did not get a winner on the last day of his 27-year career as a Flat jockey (August 1.)  Glorious Goodwood has been good to him - but not that good.  

However, on Sunday morning he did get a breakfast undoubtedly envied by all the colleagues - whether weight-watching jockeys or weighing room staff - who lined up in a guard of honour for him on his last day's racing.  During his career Hughes has ridden 2,240 winners.

His wife Lizzie tweeted a picture of bangers, black pudding and fried bread cooking on the stove under the caption: "Breakfast not for jockeys!"

Channel 4 Racing's tweet [Click to enlarge]Channel 4 Racing's tweet [Click to enlarge]As he told Marlborough News Online in March, he has had to know his weight every hour of the day - and at five feet ten inches tall it has been some task.  That effort  was behind eleven times champion jockey Lester Piggott's appreciation broadcast on Saturday by Channel 4 Racing:

"Having been a tall jockey myself I know only too well the challenges that Richard Hughes will have faced during his career.  Despite being as close to six foot as any Flat jockey would want to be, he has had an outstanding career."

"His style is elegant, his determination is steely and he is always so patient as a rider.  It was a pleasure to watch him all these years."

Now Richard Hughes' world moves from his home at Collingbourne Ducis and the Hannon training yards nearby, just over the border into Hampshire - to Danebury Stables at Stockbridge.  During their coverage of 'Hughesie's' last day as a jockey, Channel 4 Racing included a report on his new career by Clare Balding.

Channel 4 Racing tweets the 'guard of honour'Channel 4 Racing tweets the 'guard of honour'She asked Richard about the jockeys he wanted to use: "I'll have a few apprentices here - and give them a chance.  If I hadn't been given a chance I wouldn't be here.  I think that's important. It's an obligation to give young people a chance in racing."

He was less forthcoming about the established jockeys he would want to use.  But he did mention Ryan Moore, Pat Dobbs and Jamie Spencer. On Channel 4 Racing's Morning Line programme he had joked that he 'certainly' had a list of jockeys he does want to use and a list of those he does not want to use.

The stables are owned by Ken Cunningham Brown and include a round gallop on the site of the old Stockbridge Racecourse.  Hughes has a two-and-a-half year lease on the stables.  And his first task as a trainer will take him round the sales.

In his last column as a jockey for the Racing Post, Hughes signed off: "I will love being a trainer - in fact I can't wait to start - but I have also loved being a jockey...The fact is that I have enjoyed more than my share of luck as a jockey.  I am bowing out from a job I have adored, healthy, happy and surrounded by the people I love.  I'll settle for that."

FOOTNOTE:  In that Racing Post column, Hughes said he was seeking the help of a hypnotist in his bid to stop smoking.  He may need a hypnotist to get his appetitte back.  Sadly Lizzie's fry-up did not tempt trainer Hughes: "My appetite just wasn't there, which just goes to show."   Fry-up or no fry-up, the Racing Post is now reporting that Hills are offering odds of 5-1 that a Hughes-trained horse wins a Group 1 race in Britain or Ireland by the end of 2016.


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Prices set their sights on Rio Olympics - Mildenhall's eventing couple name their rides

At a recent photocall for Prospect Hospice: Jonelle on Bango and Tim on Court Jester At a recent photocall for Prospect Hospice: Jonelle on Bango and Tim on Court Jester Tim and Jonelle Price first came to Britain in 2003.  Two years later they moved permanently to their base at Mere farm just north of Mildenhall - farm and stables owned by Tim and Melissa Brown.

Now they very much have their sights set on representing New Zealand at next year's Rio Olympics.

Their recent successes have earned them positions at the very summit of world eventing - Jonelle is currently the number one female rider in the world.   And Tim is at sixteenth position - out of a total of 3,680 riders in the International Equestrian Federation's rankings.

Horse and Hound have celebrated their successes with a three page feature  about the couple - complete with a set of excellent photographs.  In the course of the article they have named the horses they hope to take to Rio.

Tim's first choice for Rio is Wesko (owned by Christina Knudesn and the Wesko Syndicate.)  Tim and twelve-year-old Wesko won last year's the Luhmuhlen CIC4*.  Horse and Hound quote Tim: "He's a dude. He's such a strong character, he's almost human."

Tim's 'back-up' horse will probably be Bango - the nine-year-old gelding who was fifteenth at Luhmuhlen in June - his first four star event.

Jonelle's number one choice for Rio will be Trisha Rickards' and Jacky Green's Faerie Dianimo - fourth at Pau last year and second at Luhmuhlen this year.  Horse and Hound quote Tim as calling her - no doubt with a knowing smile - "a right little cow".

She is stubborn but brilliant.  In Jonelle's words: "She's the flip side of Wesko.  She's a handful every day of the week and you never quite know what is coming next....She's got an enormous heart and attitude - she thinks she is going to take on the world - and she is!"

And their prospects of making New Zealand's team for Rio?  Jonelle puts it this way: "For London, I was hanging in by a thread to get the last spot.  Hopefully this time we will be going among the front-runners.  I guess that's what four years of training and commitment does." 

There is, it should be said, quite a crowd of top ranking New Zealand eventers - most of them based in the Marlborough area - with their eyes firmly on Rio.

Rio bound

Who else will be at the Rio Olympics? The United States eventing team made sure of their place at Rio by winning the Pan-American Games 2015 at Toronto.  Eleven nations took part in the event.

The Americans took a marginal lead over the hosts in the dressage - and held onto it firmly through the cross-country and show jumping.  Winning silver were the  Brazilian team who are coached by another local New Zealander - Sir Mark Todd from Badgerstown.  Brazilian Ruy Fonesca won the individual bronze medal - with USA's Marilyn Little taking the individual gold.

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New plans announced for extensive re-modelling of Newbury Racecourse

Artist's impression of the new parade ring areaArtist's impression of the new parade ring areaNewbury racecourse has announced an ambitious programme of upgrades to its racing facilities and infrastructure.  This follows - and is part paid for - by the housing developments round the perimeter of the course.

200 new homes on the site are already occupied - the next phase will include 360 new apartments.  Sale of the land for this housing has enabled infrastructure work to begin.  

A new entrance from the north by a new bridge over the railway and the new car park are nearing completion.  The bridge is expected to open in time for November's three-day bet365 Festival meeting that includes the Hennessy Gold Cup.

Newbury Racecourse stands - from the racecourse sideNewbury Racecourse stands - from the racecourse sideNow Newbury racecourse has put in planning applications for a further scheme of works in two phases - with a total estimated cost of £20million. 

The first phase would start in January with the re-modelling of the parade ring area, new entrances and re-siting of other buildings around the ring.

Phase two would major on the refurbishment of the central Berkshire Stand and the Pall Mall building.  This phase will be reviewed in 2018 when likely financial returns from the investment will be clearer.
Outline planning permission for a 120 bedroom 4-star hotel is still valid, but there are no immediate plans to proceed with this part of the project.

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