• SALISBURY-TWO-IMG 0683 910x500px
  • a-Nicholson-at-Barbury-resaved
  • a-AP-resaved
  • a-IMG a3079-resaved
  • SHETLAND-GRAND-NATIONAL-2-IMG 4420 910x500px
  • a-HORSES-IN-SUNNY-FIELD--resaved
  • a-POINT-TO-POINT-IMG 3486-resaved
  • a-HOME-FROM-THE-GALLOP-IMG 8762-resaved
  • ERM-CHAMPERS-IMG 4985 910x500px
  • a-910x500-resaved
  • GALLOPS-2-IMG 1513-2 910x500px
  • FRANKIE-SELFIE-IMG 0308 910x500px
  • SALISBURY-ONE-IMG 0447 910x500px
  • MARTIN-DWYER-IMG 0143 910x500px
  • GALLOPS-IMG 8783 910x500px
  • a-Chelsea-Pearce-resaved
  • TIM-PRICE-BARBURY-18-IMG 4260 910x500px
  • a-SIR-MARK-TODD-MCU-resaved
  • a-NICHOLSON-BARBURY2-resaved
  • a-TREVOR-WHELAN-resaved
  • STABLE-STAFF-IMG 0946 910x500px
  • a-Nicholson2-resaved
  • ALAN-KING-SADDLING-UP-IMG 8416 910x500px
  • JONELLE-showing-NZ-badge-IMG 3612 910x500px
  • NICKY-HENDERSON--ITV-IMG 6429 910x500px
  • LISSA-GREEN-IMG 3671 910x500px
  • ALAN-KING-IN-PARADE-RING-IMG 1962 910x500px
  • a-A-YOUNG-EVENTER-IMG 4352-resaved
  • EMMA-AND-JOCKEY-IMG 6728 910x500px

Keyflow Stage1v3

Wesko is British Eventing's horse of the year - as Tim Price eyes Rio Olympics


Wesko and Tim Price at Pau (Photo by Libby Law - copyright Libby Law Photography)Wesko and Tim Price at Pau (Photo by Libby Law - copyright Libby Law Photography)Eventing horse Wesko - one of New Zealanders Jonelle and Tim Price's string of eventers based at Mere Farm, Mildenhall - has just been named Horse of the Year for the 2015 season by British Eventing.

A 12-year-old Dutch bred gelding, Wesko - also known as Dash - notched up 415 points over the 2015 season to beat Sir Mark Todd's Leonidas II - the long-time points leader.  Wesko is owned by Christina Knudsen and the Wesko Syndicate.

Last weekend Tim Price and Wesko capped their 2015 successes with third place at the CCI4* at Les Etoiles de Pau - the final four star competition of the season.  

It was an exciting finish:  Tim Price and Wesko added no faults to their dressage score.  But with German star Michael Jung in first and second place, he had to withdraw his leading horse before the show jumping.  Jung's second horse had one jump down leaving French contestant Astier Nicolas to win - an understandably popular result with the Pau crowds - with Price in third place.

In 2011 Wesko made a great start to his career winning from pre-novice to CIC** and keeping safely in the top three places through the season.  Tim Price forgave Dash for dumping him into the water at Badminton and they won the Luhmuhlen for star in 2014.  

The 2015 season started on a high when the pair came second at the prestigious Lexington four star in April.  The Prices are Key Riders and use exclusively Keyflow Feeds for their team of horses.

Wesko getting taste of Kentucky grassWesko getting taste of Kentucky grassNext target for Tim Price and Wesko will be the 2016 Rio Olympics.  With his Lexington performance Wesko has proved he does not mind air travel.

The highest placed British-bred horse in the British Eventing  rankings was Jonelle Price’s eventing partner Classic Moet owned by Trish Rickards.  Following many success including recent fifth place at Burghley, the mare ended the season on 318 points - taking fifth place in the overall rankings.

Notable in the riders' rankings was British eventer Oliver Townend's first place both overall and for British riders.  Townend won by a huge margin from New Zealanders Andrew Nicholson (who is still recovering from a fall earlier in the season) and Tim Price.

Nineteen-year-old Emily King from Devon was named leading under-21 rider.  She finished fourth at Pau on Brookleigh - her first ever four star competition.

 FOOTNOTE:  The former eventing world number one and British Olympic team member William Fox-Pitt remains in hospital after falling at the World Young Horse Championships in France.

The latest news from the hospital came on Monday (October 26): "William has made progress over the weekend; today he is conscious, breathing on his own and communicating with his family and doctors, however he is still very ill...Further progress is going to take time..."

His horse, Reinstated, was uninjured in the incident but Fox-Pitt (pictured left) was treated for over an hour at the scene before being heavily sedated in hospital.

[Our thanks to Libby Law for use of her photo of Tim Price and Wesko at Pau.]


Print Email

Eventer Laura Collett takes gold in world championship - but William Fox-Pitt is injured in fall


Laura Collett walking the course at Barbury (July 2015)Laura Collett walking the course at Barbury (July 2015)British eventer Laura Collett, who used to be based at Membury and is now at Lambourn, and the Holsteiner gelding Mr Bass have won the title for seven-year-old horses in the FEI World Breeding Federation Eventing Championships for Young Horses 2015 at Le Lion d’Angers in France.  But after a fall in the competition, William Fox-Pitt remains in hospital with head injuries.

The top German rider, Michael Jung on Fischerincantas - another Holsteiner - won the gold medal in the competition for six-year-old horses.
These Championships have been held annually since 1992, and this year 103 horses were entered representing a wide range of studbooks.

Collett was in seventh place after the dressage and had moved up to fourth by the end of the cross-country phase.  She clinched the title with a perfect show jumping round.

The cross-country course proved tricky for the seven-year-olds.  But 34 of the 67 starters went clear - adding no penalties to their dressage scores.  Two combinations retired on the course and 12 were eliminated.

William Fox-Pitt at Barbury (2015) William Fox-Pitt at Barbury (2015) Among the latter was Britain's most successful eventer, William Fox-Pitt who was thrown when his horse Reinstated hit the Owl Hole obstacle towards the end of the course.  

He was taken to Angers hospital with head injuries.   

Forty-six year old Fox-Pitt, who has four children and is married to Channel 4 racing presenter Alice Plunkett, was said to be in a stable condition.  

The Wednesday afternoon update (at 4.24 pm, October 21) on the eventer's official website said: "We have this afternoon received the update that William’s condition remains the same with no change overnight. He is still sedated and under constant observation."


Print Email

Neil King's Marlborough Downs yard is ready and waiting for the winter jumps season

Regulation Regulation The jump season 'proper' is about to begin, but already during the 'summer jump season' Neil King's Upper Herdswick Farm yard - by Barbury Castle - has sent out sixteen winners. In his latest newsletter, King admits that while it is 'a little early' to be looking at statistics 'it is pleasing to be in the top echelons of the trainers table.'

Sixteen winners - all over hurdles - eleven seconds and ten thirds makes for a tidy total of £88,000 in prize money for his owners.  And some of those winners have been startling successes.

Last month Lizzie Kelly rode the six year-old bay gelding Regulation to win by a length in a two mile novices hurdle at Warwick.  And twelve days later she brought him home in second place to the favoured Maputo at Huntingdon.

This is what they call an 'improving horse' - for on Friday (October 16) King's stable jockey Trevor Whelan rode Regulation to a scorching ten length win at Wincanton.  

The Racing Post summary of the race reads like a trainer's dream:  'Regulation rout:  there was a sound gallop in this competitive-looking handicap, but it was one-way traffic...Regulation absolutely routed his rivals...A winter break is probably on the cards and a flat two mile looks best for him, so targeting Aintree next April would appeal."

Regulation was entered for a two mile novice hurdle at Kempton on Sunday (October 18) - but was declared as a non-runner.  The spring will no doubt see him back to form after his winter rest.

Ballyvoneen at Neil King's Open Day in September 2015Ballyvoneen at Neil King's Open Day in September 2015Success in horseracing often lies close to tragedy.  Neil King's newsletter pays an emotional tribute to ten year old bay gelding Ballyvoneen who had to be put down after a fall in the conditional jockeys' handicap chase at Chepstow the previous weekend (October 10.)

"Trainers', King writes, "are not supposed to have favourites but Ballyvoneen was a horse that gave me so much pleasure and who I looked forward to riding out every morning."

King had spotted this Irish bred horse while buying horses in Ireland - he could not find an owner for him and had to wait for the horse's second sales appearance to buy him for 20,000 guineas.  He was not an easy horse and finding the right jockey for him took, says King, a while.

"Once Trevor [Whelan] had got the hang of him there was no better person for him, he knew how to kid him along and let Ballyvoneen do the jumping and then once he had persuaded him into contention he was then strong enough to get the best out of him."

Then, with 56 chase runs, nine wins, seven seconds, ten thirds and £40,000 in prize money to Ballyvoneen's credit, came the Chepstow October weekend meeting:

"Saturday turned into the most awful day for us all, after absolutely winging his way over the first three fences which would have given him and Lizzie such a buzz, so sadly he made a dreadful mistake putting down into the open ditch and paid the ultimate price."

"I made it down the track in time to him to see him and hold him whilst the vet dealt with him and tearfully thanked him for being such a fabulous horse to me and for all the pleasure he had given others.   Lizzie and [stable girl] Rosie were both terribly upset, but thankfully Lizzie was not hurt any more than badly bruised and battered."

He was racing in the colours of the stables Ridgeway Racing for Fun Partnership. Neil King has received many messages from fans of the horse.  And sums up: "I'm so glad that so many other people had the respect and got enjoyment from our mere 105 rated three mile chaser, like I did and I hope you did."

The full jumps season should, with some real prospects in the yard, hold many more successes for Neil King, his jockeys and staff.  And, one hopes, no more tragedies.

Print Email

Greatwood students and staff get the VIP treatment at Newmarket

Frankie Dettori with Greatwood fans Frankie Dettori with Greatwood fans Friday (October 9) was the first day of the Dubai Future Champions Festival at Newmarket - and it was certainly an occasion to remember for an excited party of  students and staff from Greatwood who had been invited to spend the day there.  

Greatwood is the charity just south of Marlborough at Clench Common, which looks after retired racehorses and uses them to help disadvantaged young people.

Thanks to the generosity of Al Basti Equiworld (a Greatwood sponsor), Newmarket Racecourse and the National Stud, the students and staff were given a tour of the National Stud, followed by lunch and an afternoon of superb racing.  

One of the highlights of the day was a meeting with jockey of the moment Frankie Dettori. 

Montendre and friends Montendre and friends The students were able to tell Frankie how Montendre was doing since he retired to Greatwood in 2000.  In 1989 Frankie rode Montendre to victory in the Dewhirst Rockingham Stakes at York.

Yes, that really is 1989 - he came second in his first race, then won at Brighton under Dettori and then, eleven days later, won that prestige, listed race at York winning just over £11,000 - good prize money in those days.

The bay gelding Montendre - known as Monty - is now 28 years-old.  During his career he ran 104 races under rules - and Frankie Dettori rode him eight times.  Monty notched up 11 wins and 32 places - and he is still being used daily at Greatwood by the young people who take part in Greatwood's educational programmes.  And he's a bit of racing history.


Close your eyes and imagine you've won the Derby: One of Greatwood’s younger students with Potentate (USA) (now 24 years old) - winner of the 1997, 1998 & 1999 Welsh Champion Hurdle.  Trained by Martin Pipe, ridden by A P McCoy and owned by the late Jim Weeden Close your eyes and imagine you've won the Derby: One of Greatwood’s younger students with Potentate (USA) (now 24 years old) - winner of the 1997, 1998 & 1999 Welsh Champion Hurdle. Trained by Martin Pipe, ridden by A P McCoy and owned by the late Jim Weeden


Print Email

The see-saw of eventing: at Boekelo New Zealand qualify for Rio but victory for Britain's Nicola Wilson

Nicola Wilson's victory circuitNicola Wilson's victory circuitWhat goes up must come down - that rule of the eventing world was confirmed at the Boekelo CIC3* event this weekend in Holland.  However, it's the even performance that wins the day as Britain's Nicola Wilson proved taking top honours.  

She was fifth after the dressage, fourth after the cross country, and missed a clear in the show jumping by one time fault to win the overall title.

New Zealand's place at the Rio Games depended on their performance - and their top two riders in this competition fared unevenly.

Mildenhall-based Jonelle Price on Cloud Dancer II was in first place after the dressage, but though she went clear in the cross country, she added 14.8 time penalties to drop to seventh place.  Three fences down and fourteen faults in the show jumping took her to 22nd place.

Marlborough-based Jesse Campbell and Kaapachino went clear in the cross country, adding just 0.4 time penalties to finish the day up from twelfth place to lie second.  But after 21  faults in the show jumping, he was back to 26th place.

But the New Zealand team of Jonelle Price, Jesse Campbell, Tim Price (34th) and Dan Jocelyn (45) did enough to clinch their place for Rio 2016 - and took third place behind Ireland and the USA in the Nations Cup.

Adding to New Zealanders' glee, Blyth Tait (two-time Boekelo winner and winner of an Olympic gold) who was competing as an individual on Xanthus III, was one of only eight combinations to come through the show jumping without a fault - and finished second just 2.1 points behind Nicola Wilson.

The only other team seeking a Rio place in the same Group as New Zealand was Japan.  Their hopes ended when one of their team was eliminated in the cross country.

Relief all round for New Zealand's eventers who are based in the Marlborough area.   As another of them, veteran New Zealand Olympic Sir Mark Todd tweeted: "Yeah!!! NZ have qualified for the Olympics. Well done Dan, Jesse, Tim and Jonelle.  Awesome job."

Print Email

Eventing: Jonelle Price leads after first dressage day at Boekelo as New Zealand chase Rio qualification

Day two: with the dreassage stage complete, Jonelle Price is still in the lead.  But Germany's Bettina Hoy is now in second place - 3.50 points behind Ms Price.  The end of day two sees other members of the New Zealnd team falling behind:  Jesse Campbell is in 12th place - Tim Price in 40th - and Daniel Jocelyn in 72nd place.

After day one (Thursday, October 8) of the dressage phase of the CIC3 eventing competition at Boekelo in the Netherlands, Mildenhall-based Jonelle Price is in the lead.  Forty-four of the 85 competitors have completed the dressage.

This is an important competition for the New Zealand eventing team as they go for the only team place at the Rio Olympics available to Group G nations - which takes in Oceania and South-East Asia.  

New Zealand takes on Japan and Australia for that single team place, although the latter have already qualified by virtue of their placing at last year's World Equestrian Games.

Jonelle is riding eight-year-old black gelding Cloud Dancer - known as Marley.  Her very low dressage score of 34.10 is 4.80 points above her nearest rival - Britain's Pippa Funnell on Billy the Biz.

Jonelle and Marley's latest victory came in the CIC3* for 8-9 year-olds at the Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials last month.  Ranked fifth in the world, Price finished second at the four-star Luhmuhlen in Germany and fifth at Burghley.

Also in the New Zealand team at Boekelo are Dan Jocelyn on Dassett Cool Touch (currently lying at 36), Tim Price on Xavier Faer and Jesse Campbell aboard Kaapachino.  Tim Price and Jesse Campbell 's dressage competition will be on Friday.

If the New Zealand team do not clinch the Rio place at Boekelo, they will have to wait for the international rankings to see if they go to Brazil.

Print Email

Another successful season for Marlborough trainer Richard Hannon - and a hope for Champions Day at Ascot


CoulstyCoulstyRichard Hannon Jnr's second season as trainer at the Herridge and Everleigh stables near Marlborough has been another resounding success.  So far in the season he has had 174 UK winners, with prize money of nearly £3.5 million - including the 2000 Guineas winner, a winner at Royal Ascot and seven Group 1 winners.

Coming up to the flst racing season's grand finale, the Qipco British Champions Day at Ascot (Saturday, October 17), the Hannon yard's hopes rest with the four year-old bay colt Coulsty.  He will run in the Qipco British Champions Sprint Stakes - now a Group 1 race with prize money of £600,000.

In August Coulsty was beaten by half a length at Newbury under Frankie Dettori on good-to-soft ground over seven furlongs.  So perhaps the recent deluges will be good for him.  On his September outing at Doncaster he came in fifth of fifteen runners - again over seven furlongs.

Coulsty will be running against a rare entry in a British race from a training yard in Singapore - Emperor Max.

Richard Hannon Snr retired at the end of 2013, but is still part of the Herridge team. His amazing career began in 1970 with nine horses and he went on to be champion trainer five times and bring home over 4,000 winners.  The family have been at Herridge for 20 years.

It has in one respect been a strange season for the Hannon family.  Their long-term stable jockey (and champion jockey) Richard Hughes (Richard Jnr's brother-in-law) retired and is now training for the flat just over the border in Hampshire.

At the start of the season the yards had about 270 horses.  By this stage of the year many have been sent to the sales or are already at the winter quarters.  When Marlborough News Online visted Herridge on the wettest of wet Tuesdays, Richard Hannon was at the Newmarket sales.

The yearling on the right was sired by Sir Prancealot - a sprint specialist trained at Herridige and retired to stud in November 2012 after three wins from his four races.The yearling on the right was sired by Sir Prancealot - a sprint specialist trained at Herridige and retired to stud in November 2012 after three wins from his four races.They have already taken in a new cardre of yearlings - and some of them were out exercising on the all-weather circuit. In all the stables expect about 100 yearlings to be broken-in and exercised over the winter.

Richard Hannon had two other horses entered for Champions Day:  Toormore and Burnt Sugar.  

Four year-old Toormore has been one of the stable's stars this season - winning the Qatar Lennox Stakes at Goodwood in July.  And travelling to Turkey's Veliefendi Racecourse last month to win the International Topkapi Trophy two-and-a-half lengths clear of Perfect Warrior.  

He ran in Longchamp's post-Arc Sunday card gaining 'an honourable bronze'. His lifetime earnings to date are just shy of £900,000.  He will now be rested until he goes to race in Hong Kong in December.

Three year-old colt Burnt Sugar was entered for Champions Day Balmoral Handicap.  And although BBC Radio 4's Today programme tipped him to win the £112,000 prize in last Saturday's  Totescoop6 Challenge Cup at Ascot - he had already been declared a non-runner due to a sore hind foot.

Illuminate - showing her speedIlluminate - showing her speedFinally, here is a Hannon-trained horse to watch next season: Illuminate.  This compact two year-old bay filly started the season with an unbeaten run of victories in May, June and July.  Then last month at Newmarket she was beaten by half a length in the Group 1 Chieveley Park Stakes - ironically by the horse named Lumiere. 

The Hannon website recorded that neither trainer or jockey, Frankie Dettori, 'felt she lost anything in defeat'.  Hannon said: "lluminate travelled well and she has run right up to her form - she beat Besharah a neck at Newmarket and now the superiority was a neck - but she just got leg-weary on the rising ground."

"That will be it for this season, but we still look at Illuminate as a 1000 Guineas filly, and she'll have her prep-race in the Fred Darling at Newbury in April."

Certainly a filly to keep a close eye on next season.


Print Email

Chelsea Pearce wins Chepstow charity race - on a camel


Sam Twiston-Davies (left) & Chelsea approaching the finishSam Twiston-Davies (left) & Chelsea approaching the finishCharity races have been in the news recently - Victoria Pendleton  (retired cycling champion) and Tony McCoy (retired jump jockey champion) have both made headlines riding for charity at some of England's premier racecourses.

They were both riding race horses.  Chelsea Pearce won her charity race at Chepstow Racecourse on a camel - what is more in the final she came home ahead of the highly rated jockey Sam Twiston-Davies who had been the runaway winner of the three heats.

Though still at school, Chelsea Pearce, who is based near Marlborough, is making her mark as an accomplished eventer.

The race was sponsored by William Hill and was to provide funds for the Bristol-based Paul's Place charity.  Paul's Place works to improve the lives of physically disabled adults across South Gloucestershire, Bath and North-East Somerset, North Somerset and Bristol.

Chelsea - in the orange and light blue silks - led all the way in the final race: "It was  for a great cause - and I had a wonderful day!"  It certainly does not look the easiest of rides.

You can still support Paul's Place at this Justgiving web-page.

They're off...They're off...


Print Email

More Articles ...