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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  He needed stitches and was withdrawn in the best interests of the horse.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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AP McCoy's last Saturday rides at Newbury Racecourse

Newbury Racecourse paid tribute to one of their key jockeys on Saturday (March 21.)  It was the last time Tony McCoy's would ride at one of his 'local' racecourse's popular Saturday meetings.  To mark the occasion, the Racecourse made a presentation to him after the first race.

Brian Stewart-Brown, a member of the racecourse's board of directors, presented AP McCoy with a photographic montage showing some of his greatest Newbury rides.

Among them was a photograph of his victory on Mr Mole in the Betfair Price Rush Steeple Chase on February 7.  It was while walking to the winner's stand after that race McCoy told Channel 4 Racing he was retiring at the end of the season.

Following the presentation on Saturday he told the parade ring announcer that he would be back to watch racing at Newbury: "It's just fifteen minutes down the road from home."

While he is always in demand for an autograph, McCoy did not have too good a day in the saddle on Saturday.  He rode in five of the seven races and took one third place.

He did tell Channel 4 Racing that he did not yet know which horse he would be riding in next month's Crabbie's Grand National - Shutthefrontdoor or Cause of Causes. But he did say that if he won the race, he would probably retire immediately.

Local trainer Neil King had no winners on the Newbury card - the second day of the racecourse's Spring Jumps Meeting - though Lil Rockerfeller came home fourth in the Doom Bar Juvenile Handicap Hurdle.  

However, King had sent eight year-old Milansbar and stable jockey Trevor Whelan the 680-mile trip from Barbury to Kelso.  And Milansbar won the £25,000 three miles and three furlong Thakeham handicap hurdle.  One to watch when he turns to fences next season.

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Champion jockey Richard Hughes eyes two of trainer Richard Hannon's hopes for the new flat season

Tiggy Wiggy - with Richard Hughes - wins the Cheveley Park Stakes (September 2014) (photograph by Steven Cargill)Tiggy Wiggy - with Richard Hughes - wins the Cheveley Park Stakes (September 2014) (photograph by Steven Cargill)Richard Hughes is looking forward eagerly to see how two of Richard Hannon's great successes of the 2014 flat season will shape up now they have graduated from two- year-old to three-year-old status:  Tiggy Wiggy and Ivawood.

The bay filly Tiggy Wiggy won five of her seven starts on turf - with Hughes riding her in four of those races.

Marlborough News Online asked Richard Hughes whether, now she's a three-year-old, she can have similar successes this season? "Don't know.  Only she knows that. Before she raced, she was a menace in the yard - used to take off a bit.  When she won her first outing by seven lengths we were amazed - she was never meant to be this good."

The day before her appearance at Ascot last June, she got loose and was out for about half-an-hour.  Hughes thinks she may have calmed down: "She's not as small a horse as some people think, and she got bigger over the winter."

She is set to make her first appearance in mid-April at Newbury's Dubai Duty Free Spring Trials meeting:  "She'll go for seven furlongs - and if she gets that, she'll go for a mile.  She's a bit of freak - we'll have to give her the benefit and try the distance - if not she'll go for sprints."

She is already entered for the 1000 Guineas at the beginning of May.

Richard Hughes believes the bay colt Ivawood is a different matter altogether: "He's the real deal.  We have huge belief in him - I've no doubt he'll stay."

Ivawood won three out of his four races as a two-year-old - all partnered with Richard Hughes.  For a two-year-old Ivawood was a very big horse.   After his Goodwood victory last year Richard Hannon was also optimistic about his future: “Physically he looks streets ahead of a lot of two-year-olds, and I don’t think he will become ‘just a two-year-old’."

Ivawood came second at Newmarket in October - and Hughes believes that at that time he was having some growing pains in his bones.  Over six furlongs he came home second to Charming Thought.

He is entered for Newbury's mid-April Greenham Stakes - seen as a trial for the 2,000 Guineas.  The Richard Hughes-Richard Hannon Senior combination last won this seven furlong race in 2013 with Olympic Glory.

And he is entered for May's Qipco 2,000 Guineas over a mile at Newmarket.

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Barbury trainer Alan King gives McCoy a farewell victory at the Cheltenham Festival

AP's winning salute (Photo from Channel 4 Racing)AP's winning salute (Photo from Channel 4 Racing)It might have been just another Grade One victory for AP McCoy - the nineteen times jump champion jockey who retires at the end of this season.  But his victory in the Ryanair Chase on the Alan King trained Uxizandre was all the sweeter as it put McCoy on the winners' board for his last ever Cheltenham Festival.

McCoy gave the 16-1 shot a perfect ride from the front and the pair had plenty left in the tank to fend off of the challenge of runner-up Ma Filleule on Cheltenham's famous home-run hill.  The seven year-old gelding won by five lengths.

With another huge crowd for the third day of the Cheltenham Festival, McCoy was cheered into the winner's enclosure and was quick to praise Alan King:   
"All credit to the trainer - he got him back spot on for the day that mattered. Uxizandre gave me such a thrilling ride. I'll miss days like this."

Uxizandre is owned by JP McManus who McCoy calls 'my boss':  "It's great for JP and Noreen MacManus - they are brilliant and it's been marvellous to work for them for ten years.  The thrill this horse gave me - I'll miss riding horses like this that run away with you all the way and jump like stags."

AP with his Ryanair Chase trophy - his wife Chanelle is on the right [Photo: Channel 4 Racing]AP with his Ryanair Chase trophy - his wife Chanelle is on the right [Photo: Channel 4 Racing]Alan King was full of smiles after this important win:  "That was grand...AP has given him a wonderful ride, the visor has probably helped as well.  It all felt right.  When he's on song, he can go a right gallop...he got into a great rhythm today."

And King paid tribute to McCoy:  "AP has been just phenomenal - we'll never see his like again.  The winners, the dedication, the commitment - he's quite remarkable.  I'm just please to be a very, very small part of it."

The prize money for the race was £300,000 of which the winning owner received £178,538.25.

Smad Place gets a pre-race gallop at Newbury (November 2014)Smad Place gets a pre-race gallop at Newbury (November 2014)Tomorrow (Friday, March 13) is Gold Cup day and Alan King's yard will be represented by the 7 year-old grey gelding Smad Place.

King says of him: "Smad Place has a good record at the Festival and this is his time of the year, besides which the better ground will also help. We gave him time to recover after the Hennessy [at Newbury on 29 November 2014] , and he showed plenty of enthusiasm on [Cheltenham] Trials day."  

French-bred Smad Place will be ridden by King's stable jockey Wayne Hutchinson.  And AP McCoy will be on Carlingford Lough - and again he will be wearing the McManus colours.

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